The Member of Parliament (MP) for La Dadekotopon Constituency in the Greater Accra region, Madam Rita Odoley Sowah, says the current state of the La General Hospital project epitomizes the lack of planning and excessive politicking attached to infrastructure development in the country.
According to her, the sorry state of the hospital project after three years is fuelling distrust and cynicism about the government’s promises to the people of the area.
The La Dadekotopon lawmaker made these sentiments today November 7, 2023, on the floor of Parliament when she read a statement.
“Mr. Speaker, I say this as a Member of Parliament of a constituency that saw this major government hospital, the La General Hospital, razed down with what has now become a never-to-be-fulfilled promise to reconstruct a hospital to meet international standards.
Because the announcement to demolish the La General Hospital was made at the onset of COVID-19 – a pandemic that took the lives of 1,462 compatriots and whose economic impact is now the general excuse for the government’s failure and economic ruin – raises even more questions as to the planning that underpinned the project in its entirety.” She opined
Before its demolition, the La General Hospital a five-story building established in the early 1960s had a five-bedroom emergency unit, an Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) department, a surgical department, male and female wards, a general Out-patient department, a waste management facility and an incinerator and a newer building for Family Planning, Imaging (scan) and HIV services built with the support of the US government after President Obama’s 2009 visit to the maternal ward of the hospital.
Although the hospital had few facilities as enumerated, it served communities around La, Osu, and Teshie as a major referral center and a primary point of call for a varied number of medical complications and emergencies.
However, the hospital infrastructure after 6 decades of constant operation had developed structural deficiencies with patients and medical staff constantly calling on the government to either renovate or replace the building to reduce or eliminate the danger it poses to them.
Rita Odoley Sowah, MP for La-Dadekotopon.
In March of the 2020 election year and with a pandemic in view, the government announced an expedited demolition of the old building to make way for an ultra-modern hospital meeting international standards within 24 months. Sequel to which the hospital was closed down on the 1st of March with hospital staff being transferred to other facilities for the project to commence in earnest.
In August 2020, an elaborate sod-cutting ceremony was held, accompanied by grand assurances of having secured a €68 million credit facility, complete with a €3.9 million insurance coverage, to construct a cutting-edge hospital.
But for three years after the demolition, nothing much is happening as the site is overgrown with weeds. It’s on this note that the MP for La Dadekotopon passionately implores the House to assertively call upon the government to expedite the allocation of the necessary resources and get the contractor to the site without delay to commence construction of the hospital project.
According to her the project’s blueprint was nothing short of ambitious, featuring an outpatient department, well-equipped inpatient wards, comprehensive maternity and neonatal services, a surgical unit complete with four modern operating theatres, a state-of-the-art accident and emergency department, a dedicated public health department, a well-stocked pharmacy unit, a sophisticated laboratory, a modern administration section, and an imaging area that boasted a CT Scan, X-ray room, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, mammography units, a physiotherapy unit, and even a mortuary.
However, Mad. Odoley Sowah believes the launch of the project bore an unsettling resemblance to a political rally rather than the solemn inauguration of a much-needed government program with the President espousing the government’s policy of achieving Universal Health Coverage for all and intentions to provide a 21st-century hospital for the people of La Dadekotopon.
“As a representative of this constituency, I cannot help but recall the lofty promises made on that day and the unmistakable sense of skepticism that has since loomed over our constituents, many of whom adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude toward government’s intentions and plans.
Today, as we find ourselves in the 44th month since the government first committed to deliver a 21st-century hospital for La or the 39th month since President Akufo Addo ceremoniously broke ground for the construction work to commence, the project remains caught in a quagmire.
There’s still no contractor on site, and the long-awaited 21st-century hospital is but a dream, with empty promises as our only harvest as timelines are constantly updated.” The La Dadekotopon lawmaker reiterated,