At first glance the arrangement that brought the Binde Rural Hospital into being sounds like a textbook example of cooperation, so it is very sad that things have gone so badly wrong that the hospital has been closed for a good three months.
Under an admirable tripartite arrangement, the Bolgatanga-Navrongo Diocese of the Catholic Church reportedly built the structure, which is in the Bunkprugu-Yunyoo District, and a non-governmental organisation, Rural MediCare, supplied the drugs while the Ghana Health Service was responsible for the salaries of the hospital staff.
However, it is reported that there was a misunderstanding over the revenue-sharing. The NGO allegedly wanted a share of the revenue generated by the hospital which the church allegedly objected to, their view being that it should rather go to the government.
The NGO reportedly sought redress in court, and the northern regional directorate of the GHS closed the hospital down three months ago.
Obviously it is the grass that is suffering in this battle of three elephants.
Surely, the objective of building the hospital was to provide health services to the people in its catchment area. If the three parties were able to reach agreement on this important initiative, it is a great pity that the same spirit of compromise could not prevent the quarrel.
In any case, what was the understanding reached during the planning stages? Knowing that it would be a revenue-generating initiative, surely the sharing or otherwise should also have been factored into the discussions, when the roles were being assigned.
It is unfortunate that the differences have been allowed to overshadow the humanitarianism that led to the birth of the hospital.
It is commendable that the Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Idris has appealed to the Ghana Health Service to reopen the hospital to save lives but we think this appeal is long overdue. Who knows what losses and problems people have suffered during the three months of closure?
However, the District Assembly and others who know about the problems also cannot escape blame. What have the Assembly and opinion leaders in the catchment area done about the impasse?
We add our voice to the plea of the Minister that the GHS should reopen the hospital, and as soon as possible.
And we hope that he will not leave it at that. Steps should be taken to establish a mediation body in the shortest possible time to settle the differences between the three parties so that the hospital can not only reopen, but do so with the parties having a clear understanding of each other’s role.