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27.07.2005 General News

25bn cedis for SSNIT flats completion


Accra, July 27, GNA - The Government has released 25 billion cedis to the Ministry of Health (MOH) to complete work on the 14 blocks of the uncompleted Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) flats near the INDAFA Park in Accra.

President John Agyekum Kufuor, who announced this in Accra on Wednesday, said if completed the blocks could house 200 health workers and their families.

In addition, the Ministry was working out a scheme to help the staff provide themselves with affordable houses, President Kufuor said while unveiling plaques to inaugurate three projects estimated at about 15.3 billion cedis at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.

The first is a 60-room Administration Block funded from the Hospital's internally generated funds at a cost of about 8.8 billion cedis on which work began in September 2003 and was completed this year. The second is the rehabilitation and equipping of the Gynaecology Theatre, which began in 2003 and was completed this year at a cost of about 5.1 billion cedis with assistance from the Government.

The third project is the Hearing Assessment Centre built from the Hospital's internally generated funds at a cost of 1.4 billion cedis with support from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that provided equipment and training at a cost of 100,000 dollars.

President Kufuor, with the assistance of Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Chief Executive of the Hospital, laid a block for work to commence on the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Centre, the first of its kind in West Africa, which the Government is financing at a cost of 27.5 billion cedis from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) funds. He commended the Board of Directors and the Management of the Hospital for the acquisition of more than 1,000 plots of land for all categories of staff to build their own houses and the dramatic improvement in both the physical and administrative changes in the Hospital in the past three years.

"Every improvement made in the Hospital is in line with the Government's commitment to provide quality health care at all levels within the society. We cannot thank Korle Bu's Management enough for complementing the Government's determination to erase the tag of 'graveyard', which the nation's flagship Hospital was reduced into through utter neglect by previous regimes."

President Kufuor said improving the infrastructure in the country's hospitals was one way of ensuring job satisfaction for health workers. He said the provision of the projects at Korle Bu "must be seen as a symbol of rejuvenation of the nation's premier Hospital, a development that should embody modernisation of our health care delivery system and an effort to keep abreast with best practices worldwide."

On the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), President Kufuor said: "As diseases do not wear party colours, it is the Government's hope that the entire nation will reduce partisanship and fully support the implementation of the Scheme."

Professor Frimpong-Boateng said improvement in the infrastructure and the equipment base of a hospital alone were not an indication of the success of a hospital.

A better index is patient satisfaction and the Hospital had chalked significant success.

These are reduction in waiting time at the various out-patient departments through efficient procedures, decrease in infection rates in the various surgical areas, decrease in maternal and infant mortality, elimination of shortages of medical consumables and availability of drugs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and at very competitive prices.