A Ghanaian medical practitioner, who is worried about the tussle over Legon medical hospital, between the Ministry of Health and University of Ghana, has explained why the country needs independent teaching hospitals to promote quality healthcare.
In a short write-up to The Herald over the news that, the hospital has not be allowed to work since its inauguration 10 months ago, the doctor suggested that, Ghana was lagging behind in the training and development of health professionals.
The medical officer who for obvious reasons wouldn’t want his name mentioned wrote:
“You see, the whole idea of constructing the UGMC was to attain proper autonomy for the Teaching Hospital of the university’s Medical School.
This is the practice in the advanced world. Currently all our teaching Hospitals belong to the MOH, an arrangement that does not promote effective use of the facilities for academic research.
If the UGMC stays as a Ministry of Education facility with the University as the supervising authority, all the staff will be university staff and therefore no one can pretend to be a MOE worker who only comes to teach and not work while the MOH workers also refuse to take part in academic work.
The UGMC model is the way to go for all our medical schools if we want to achieve academic excellence in health research and healthcare.
There are a lot of international academic collaborators that come to Ghana and get frustrated because the MOH guys who don’t see any direct benefit to themselves just ignore them.
If people’s progress depends on these academic researches in health, they will be interested in working hard to get data for their research, but if they can hide under MOH and use longevity for progress, there will be no development in the health sector. If we want to make progress in the health sector, the health ministry should stay off the UGMC before it gets run down.
In addition all the other medical schools should be encouraged to construct their own teaching Hospitals and run them efficiently”.
Meanwhile, a Deputy Health Minister, under the Mills administration, Rojo Mettle-Nunoo has said that the University of Ghana was always envisioned to manage the newly built University of Ghana Medical Centre.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, amid the apparent impasse between the Ministry of Health and the University of Ghana, the former Deputy Minister indicated that, a number of requests were made with regards to the management of the facility.
But “there was no doubt as to who was going to be the beneficiary of the project. The project was a relocation of the College of Health Sciences from the Korle Bu campus to the University of Ghana.”
He added that the then-president John Atta Mills was very clear “Legon needed a five-star teaching hospital that had all the necessary facilities and capacity to provide for medical professional training at the highest level.”
Sources closely involved with the project had already revealed to Citi News that an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Health and the University of Ghana in 2015, which gave ownership of the $217 million facility to the university.
Mr. Mettle-Nunoo explained further that “the Ghana health service runs government hospitals, but teaching hospitals do not come under the Ghanaian Health Service. They are run by independent boards.”
In 2012, the government signed a contract with Messrs Engineering and Development Consultant (EDC) of Israel to build the first phase of the facility which was commissioned in January 2017.
Mr. Mettle-Nunoo said he was “very clear at the time that this was a project that would be managed by the University of Ghana and that is how Professor John Evans Atta Mills also understood it.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education, Professor Mohammed Salifu, who also spoke on Eyewitness News, said: “the hospital is supposed to be managed by a special purpose vehicle that is incorporated by the University of Ghana.”
As far as the delays are concerned, he said issues having to do with financial clearance had to be finalized, as its management was in the process of recruiting staff.
“The first tranche was for some 400 core staff to be employed that elapses this December. We have just gotten another one for 389 that will be effected from first January . So the staff has to be in place before the facility is used.”
Some 800 personnel are said to be needed to get the facility fully operational.