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16.03.2006 Health

Health facility being run by churches because of charitable deeds

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Accra, March 16, GNA - Mr Samuel Owusu-Agyei, Deputy Minister of Health, on Thursday told Parliament that because of the support of two religious bodies, the management of the Binaba Health Centre in the Bawku West District was given to the Anglican Diocese of Tamale. He said a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Ministry of Health and the Anglican Diocese of Tamale-Bolgatanga to hand over the health centre to the church after extensive discussions with the church based on the fact that the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches had been "very supportive towards the operations of the health centre."

Mr Owusu-Agyei was responding to a question from Mr John Ndebugre, PNC-Zebilla, who had asked when and how the management of the health centre passed from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to the Anglican Church. The Deputy Minister said the health centre was under the management of GHS until November 12, 2001 when the Anglican Bishop of the Tamale-Bolgatanga Diocese requested for the centre to be officially handed over to the Church. He said the Anglican Church often supported the health centre with drugs and non-drugs consumables, equipment and a generating plant, rehabilitated physical infrastructure and gave support for the overseas training of the staff. He said the Presby Church on the other hand, paid salaries and other allowances of staff even before the Government absorbed the salaries of some of the workers.

"It was based on such benevolent activities that the health centre was handed over to the churches." The Deputy Minister, however, said under the agreement, the Church might decide to relinquish the responsibility of managing and providing health services in the District at anytime but this should be done after consultations to ensure a smooth take-over. Responding to another question, Mr Owusu-Agyei said the Ministry had initiated action for the construction of a "purpose-built district hospital in Bekwai in the Amansie East District of Ashanti." Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuraggu, NPP-Bosome Freho, had asked about the fate of the Bekwai District Hospital.

According to the Deputy Minister, the Ministry was in the process of selecting consultants for the construction to begin and an advertisement to this effect was made in the Daily Graphic in March 2006. Mr Rashid Pelpuo, NDc-Wa Central, also asked the Deputy Minister when the Upper West Regional Hospital would be constructed to relieve the Wa Municipal Hospital of the incessant pressure on its facilities. Mr Owusu-Agyei, said the project could not be implemented from the regular yearly budget of the Ministry and added that the Ministry was yet to identify an interested financier for the project.