For almost five decades, the people of Bekwai in the Ashanti Region have had to complain about the delay in the completion of work on the municipal hospital.
Although the project has been captured in annual budgets of successive governments, little had been done to continue work on it, bringing difficulties on the people in accessing quality health care.
Bekwai Hospital nears completion five decades after sod-cutting
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as the 120-bed capacity hospital is on the verge of completion.
The facility which started in the early 1970s now has two contractors — Consar Ghana Ltd and Ellipse Company — winding up their works for the planned inauguration in November this year.
A visit to the facility last Saturday by the Daily Graphic saw the contractors eagerly fixing equipment and completing remaining civil works to meet the November deadline for handing over to the government and subsequently to the Bekwai health authorities for use.
The completion of the multi-million-dollar project was given a boost when Parliament, in August 2019, approved a €2 million facility towards its completion.
A completion and inauguration of the municipal hospital would be a dream come true for the chiefs and people of the Bekwai Municipality and its surrounding communities who have waited for decades to see the completion of the project.
When finished, the hospital would decongest the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). This is due to its size, departments and strategic location in the Ashanti Region, which makes it easy to reach from the Eastern and Central regions.
Some of the key facilities that the hospital would have are an Accident and Emergency unit, Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) unit, Surgical theatres and wards, X-Ray unit, general consulting rooms, mother and baby unit, laboratory, antenatal unit and staff accommodation.
One unique feature of the hospital is a guest lodge where relations who need to be close to patients on admission at the facility would be housed while waiting for their relatives to recover.
This is the first of its kind in any government hospital in the country.
The guest lodge will remove the challenges of transportation and accommodation faced by relatives of patients on admission at the hospital.
Apart from ensuring that the guests are able to attend to the social needs of their relatives while on admission at the right time, it will also save the relations the drudgery of hovering around health facilities as they wait for their relations to recover from their ailments at the hospital.
The new hospital, which is disability friendly, has a linkage of walkways from various locations of the facility.
The Bekwai Municipality has a total of 18 health facilities comprising six hospitals (Government, Christian Health Association of Ghana, and private), four Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds, three health centres and five clinics (CHAG and private).
All the facilities dotted in various locations in the municipality have been very instrumental in the delivery of quality health care to the people.
In 2018, a total of 226,859 out patients department (OPD) cases were recorded in all health facilities in the municipality out of which 54,779 representing 24 per cent were recorded at the old Bekwai Government Hospital alone.
The story was however different in 2019 where the cases stood at 221,450 for the entire municipality out of which 55,204, representing 25 per cent of the total OPD cases came from the Bekwai Hospital alone.
The old Bekwai Government Hospital which the Municipal Director of Health, Mr Clement Nti-Boateng, described as “A glorified health centre” does not have enough space for clients and staff. It also lacks key departments and staff.
Apart from the inadequacies that the old hospital has, it is not able to provide the needed standard health care.
These and many other reasons necessitated the construction of a new district hospital that would bring with it the needed space, equipment, staff and all others so it would be able to serve all its patients with the standard of health care needed.
The Municipal Director of Health told the Daily Graphic that he had started moves to get adequate staff to manage the new departments which have been brought on board in the new hospital.
This, he said, was being done through a collaboration with the Ashanti Regional Directorate of Health to ensure that by the time of handing over, the right personnel would have been posted to the new facility to begin its operation.
MCE, MP impressed
The Municipal Chief Executive for Bekwai, Mr Kwaku Kyei-Baffour, said the completion and the subsequent usage of the new district hospital would be a dream come true since it would bring the much needed health care for the people — some of whom have to travel far distances to seek health care due to the lack of certain services at the old hospital.
Again, he appealed to the people in the municipality to continue toexercise patience as everything possible was being done to ensure that the project was completed on schedule for use.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bekwai, Mr Joseph Osei Owusu, at a recent tour of the facility with the media, appealed to the contractors to ensure that they maintained the quality standard of the work by following due process in all their activities.
He commended the contractors for the swift way they were working on the project many other governments had failed to complete for use.
The Project Manager for Ellipse Company, the construction entity, Mr Maxwell Opoku Amoah, said the project would be completed before the handing over date of November 2020.
He said about 85 per cent of works was completed with the remaining works being the installation of equipment, completion of few civil works and tarring of the roads.