President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cut the sod for the second phase of construction works on the main University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) Campus in Ho.
The 68-million-dollar China Aid Phase-Two project will provide fully equipped state-of-the-art Administration Block, School of Nursing and Midwifery, classrooms, offices, libraries, and laboratories to mitigate the infrastructure challenges of the University, since its establishment in 2012.
President Akufo-Addo, who was on a working visit to the Region, said the University had persisted and continued to prove its worth with countless achievements, and assured of government’s readiness to help it expand.
“Even though it is a young University, already, its receiving lots of laurels and accolades and rankings…therefore, there is the need for the Government to ensure the infrastructure is at the measure of the University,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said China continued to hold firm her friendship with Ghana, which would continue to grow into progressive partnerships.
“It gives me the opportunity to express once again, the strong appreciation of the Government and the people of Ghana to the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The solidarity the Chinese Government and people continue to exhibit towards us is something that, Mr Ambassador, we appreciate very much indeed,” he said.
“The various things that make up Ghana’s Foreign Policy to China are well known. We are not deviating and we will not deviate from the One China Policy. It continues to be an important cornerstone of the Foreign Policy of our country.”
The President recognised the University’s role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it was a testing centre for the region and surrounding areas.
Mr Lu Kun, the Chinese Ambassador, said the development would aid the school’s advancement to provide more professionals to sustain the government's bold health delivery initiative; Agenda 111.
“China and Africa will embark on a long journey of collaborations based on the One China principle,” he said.
Mr Lu said the collaboration had long flourished in education and would be expanded to other areas, adding: “China will always remain Ghana’s ultimate friend and partner.”
As a partner in the fight against the coronavirus, China would work with Ghana to secure the much-needed vaccines, he said.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Education Minister, said the project showed government's commitment to expanding tertiary education intake to help meet the country’s educational needs.
He said the coronavirus pandemic made it more crucial to prioritise educational demands, and expressed the hope that the project would be timeously delivered.
Chinese Nantong Si Jian Construction Company is executing the project within a 22-month period, and the Government of Ghana will provide road infrastructure and other inputs as part of a counterpart-funding component.
Professor John Owusu Gyapong, the Vice Chancellor of the University, said upon completion, the University would add close to 30,000 square meters of floor space, and the student population would grow from the current 6,000 to 10,000.
He acknowledged government’s dedication to the development of the prime Health University to make it a centre of excellence.
“It is always humbling to see that you take great interest in the development of UHAS. UHAS is determined to be a star in tertiary education, and your constant interest in us gives us all the zeal and commitment to push this agenda to provide quality health manpower to solve our country’s health needs,” he said to President Akufo-Addo.
“Indeed, it is a necessary and crucial aspect of the overall goal of this University, which will facilitate our mandate as a university dedicated solely to the training of health professionals for national development.”
“Your efforts at expanding infrastructure are, therefore, laudable and highly commendable and a testament to the Government's commitment to the health sector and the wellbeing of its citizens.”
The Vice Chancellor said the school would require high volume buses and good roads as it developed and appealed to the President to help achieve that.
President Akufo-Addo stopped to inspect work on the Fodome Campus of the University on his way to the sod-cutting ceremony, and told the traditional leaders in Hohoe that the Government was seeking some 160 million dollars to develop it into a “separate independent” institution in the enclave.