In responding to a piece by Sammy Osei Tashman, the NDC Parliamentary candidate for Abuakwa South, Mr. Daniel Danquah Damptey stated that “corpes were getting rotten at the Kyebi Hospital morgue on regular basis” during the time of the NDC government. As the last Minister of Health during this period and as an indigene of the area, it is apropos that I respond to the charge and set the record straight.
I do not know where Mr. Damptey got his information from because his assertions are not only completely false but they are also seriously disingenuous! Everybody from the Kyebi area knows very well the efforts that were expended into transforming the Kyebi District Hospital into one of the most modern District Hospitals in the country. If Mr. Damptey had the initial motive of scoring political points with his fabricated assertions, he failed miserably.
For Mr. Damptey's information, the NDC, during my tenure as Minister, sourced African Development funds to the tune of $7 million to renovate and expand Kyebi Hospital. This program covered additional wards supplied with television sets, well equipped operating theatres, modern kitchens and laundry facilities, modern and expanded lighting systems supported by state of the art stand –by power generators, a large capacity water reservoir and a telephone network capable of covering the entire constituency.
Additionally, a highly efficient and ultra modern mortuary was constructed while the refrigeration equipment from the old mortuary was retained as a “stand-by” in a wooden structure next to the new one. Contrary to the falsehood peddled by Mr. Damptey, the Kyebi Hospital mortuary was so efficient then and is so efficient now, that it attracts corpes from across the country.
In my capacity as Minister, I personally supervised the renovations. Periodically I invited,the DCE at that time, Mr. D.O. Asiamah, the Okyenhene and his elders to tour the facility with me and to identify other needs that the technicians might have overlooked. From such tours, we identified the urgent need for a Physiotherapy Unit to serve the numerous accident victims in the area plus a Dental Clinic. I succeeded in setting up the latter and made funds available to renovate a private home to house a Dentist I recruited but this was aborted after I left office. However the Physiotherapy Center was eventually constructed.
What is more, to solve the hospital's transport problems, it was given a double cabin pick-up truck and later when funds became available, a modern well-equipped high-tech ambulance was also purchased.
I envisaged the hospital as a facility to provide healthcare for the Kyebi and its environs and therefore brought in two Cuban doctors in addition to Drs. Osabutey and Rahman to undertake outreach programmes to neighbouring villages extending as far away as Abomosu, Asunafo, Enyiresi and Sekyere etc. To house these Cuban doctors, I sourced funds to renovate and furnish an abandoned government bungalow not too far from the DCE's residence. As a means of providing employment for the youth in the area, these pieces of work were undertaken by the local youth led by Ohenenana Yaw Darkwa.
In order to arrest the high maternal and infant mortality rates in the area, we purchased the premises of the old post office next to the hospital and converted it into a Maternal and Child Health Clinic. We even had a strategic plan to eventually acquire the buildings of the police station!
As a hospital, it needed to have a serene and clean compound. It had to be attractive and appeal to the patients. It had to provide the right environment for healing and recuperation. To provide this, we employed a full-time landscaper in the person of Mr. Ayim Dakwa who kept the weeds and plants well trimmed. To keep our patients safe and secure, I asked for the creation of a security network under the direction of Bob of Mithla Camp fame.
Our next plan was to construct bungalows for the staff. For this, we secured plots of land off the Adadientam road but unfortunately, this did not materialize prior to the end of my tenure. However, we commenced construction of the offices for the District Health Management Team.
In addition to these, I personally took interest in the health needs of the people to the extent of providing free medical consumables and equipment to students of Secondary Schools in the area and other citizens. For instance, I arranged for Kwame Danso (Fu Man Chu) who you claim to have been neglected by the NDC to have his children treated free of charge at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. During the recent voter registration exercise, I ran into Kwame Danso who was serving as an NPP agent at the exercise at Kyebi and I asked him how his children were, I was touched to learn that their treatment ceased after I left office. Your assertion that Kwame Danso left the NDC because of neglect is therefore false!
During my tenure, those who traveled with me would attest to the fact that I always carried wheelchairs and other medical consumables with me for distribution to the needy. The people of Kyebi were the major beneficiaries. I personally delivered these pieces of equipment to individual homes irrespective of political affiliation without being asked. This, to me, is how we ought to serve---after all, we are all Ghanaians. Some are lucky others are not! Some of us have been fortunate to occupy positions of responsibility and we must use them to cater for the less fortunate. We have to care for each other. Mr. Damptey, remember that we extended our commitment to Fanteakwa and other districts throughout Okyeman.
So Mr. Damptey, this, in a nutshell was the state of Kyebi Hospital during the time of the NDC. It tells you that there was never a time the hospital was neglected to the extent of “corpses getting rotten at the morgue on a regular basis”! Never! Never! If you do not know, ask anybody from the area. Ask Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, ask the Okyenhene and you would be told how untruthful your statement is! If you want Ghana to move forward, do so with truth and honesty. Otherwise join the “change” bandwagon!
Prof. Kwaku Danso-Boafo
Deputy Director, Coordinator, International Health Track
Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta GA.
(Minister for Health, 2000-2001)
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