Ghanaians have been commended by Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia for their sense of patriotism that led to the construction of the first Infectious Diseases Centre in the country, built through the efforts of some individuals with support from government.
Dr Bawumia gave the commendation on Friday when he commissioned the 100-bed hospital in Accra, which was built to cater for infectious diseases, following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.
Speaking during the commissioning and handing over ceremony, Dr Bawumia said despite the ravaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it also brought to bear the patriotic nature of Ghanaians, who responded to President Akufo-Addo’s rallying call for national cohesion to battle the pandemic.
“The pandemic also uncovered a patriotic response rare in recent memory,” said Dr Bawumia.
“The public health crisis mobilised a patriotic consensus on the collective need to contain and treat infectious diseases. The President’s rallying national cohesion ignited patriotism. And the private sector response is what today’s event represents, demonstrating once again that once we put our minds to it, we will soon discover that we are our own builders and beneficiaries of the Ghana we want,” he said.
The Vice-President, who described the commissioning as “a celebration of Ghanaian ingenuity and patriotism,” also paid glowing tribute to all those who contributed to making the construction of the facility possible in record time, especially the Ghana Armed Forces who built it.
“Today is a celebration of Ghanaian ingenuity and patriotism and a dedication to humanity by a team of men and women, 536 strong, working 24 hours a day to make the impossible a reality. We are here because of you and Ghana must know you.”
“It is rare to find a group of of civilian professionals work in close quarters and on strict timelines, working 24 hours, non-stop with members of the Ghana Armed Forces in their unbending discipline and demand for precision in a flat chain of command,” he added.
The Vice-President also commended “the dedicated men and women” of the Ghana Medical Association and COVID-19 Case Management Experts for their guidance in making sure the facility is fit for its specialised purpose. He also commended the effort of private donors, who were the “catalysts to this whole project.”
The donors include Bank of Ghana, Association of Bankers, GNPC, Fidelity Bank, Ecobank, Ghana National Gas Company, CH Group, Legend and Glass Aluminium Systems and Tropical Cable and Conductors.
“We came here today to celebrate the ingenuity of indigenous Ghanaians in their respinse to a national emergency. We are proud of the dreamers, the builders, the supervisors, and all those who provided funding so that we can save lives of Ghanaians,” Dr Bawumia added.
The Vice-President called for the management of the facility by qualified professionals to ensure that it is well maintained.
“Going forward, our challenge is in the management of the facility and how it fits in the big picture of Ghana’s CDC.”
“We have a world class facility and it deserves a world class management by professionals who understand the uses of the facility as advanced research, teaching and management of infectious diseases, unencumbered by excessive bureaucratic red tape in management,” he said.
In April 2020, the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund (GCPSF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, planned to undertake the construction of a 100-bed infectious disease, isolation and treatment centre at Ga East Municipal Hospital to support the government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Akufo-Addo cut sod for the commencement of the project on April 17, 2020, and it was initially scheduled to be completed in six weeks. However, due to a change in plans to add additional facilities to enhance the operation of the facility, its completion schedule was extended to 12 weeks.
The facility consists of a level 2.5 biomedical laboratory, a triage unit, waiting areas, nurses station, VIP and general wards, a 21 bed intensive care units with various categories within, a pharmacy, a recovery court yard, a dispensary, access and exit ramps, access corridors, and ambulatory entrance and exit canopy, a medical gas house, an 800KVA generator house, among others.
The 100-bed hospital was delivered at a cost of about USD 5.5 million, plus in-kind cost of about USD 2 million, making it a total of USD 7.5 million.
The 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces constructed the facility, with major financing from government agencies such as the Bank of Ghana, GNPC, Ghana Gas, as well as support from private institutions, including Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, Tropical Cables and Conductors, etc.