The decision by the Akufo-Addo Jubilee House to take over coordination and supervision of the “Agenda 111” proposal to build 101 hospitals around the country has raised eyebrows.
This is because, the decision to employ a team of project coordinators at the Presidency under the supervision of the Chief of Staff to implement the project sidesteps the statutorily mandated agency, the Ministry of Health.
Yet, it is at the Ministry of Health that the government has all the technical experts with the requisite know-how and experience to implement the project.
The Minority in Parliament has said it smells corruption in the detail of the arrangement.
“We believe it is not proper for the Chief of Staff, operating under the Office of the President, to be handpicking contractors for a major government project such as Agenda 111 while the Ministry of Health is pushed aside. This creation of a team of coordinators at the Presidency highly paid and chauffeured in luxurious multipurpose 4 x 4 vehicles at the expense of taxpayer smacks of an agenda to create ‘jobs for the boys’ or worse corruption. We therefore strongly urge government to disband the team of coordinators and hand over the implementation of Agenda 111 projects to the Ministry of Health without delay,” the Minority said in a statement Wednesday.
Yesterday, President Akufo-Addo broke ground at Trede in the Atwima Kwanwoma District of the Ashanti Region to commence Agenda 111.
The Project Implementation Committee chaired by Chief of Staff, Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has secured sites and land titles for 88 out of the 111 district hospitals and each unit would cost US$17 million, covering 15 acres.
But the Minority has demanded that the Committee be disbanded because it sidesteps the statutory Ministry, the Ministry of Health under which the project falls. “Handover the coordination and implementation of Agenda 111 to the Ministry of Health,” the Minority demanded in a statement.
Meanwhile, the entire project is expected to be completed within 18 months.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who announced this at the Minister’s briefing in Accra on Sunday, said since the President announced the Project in April last year, the Committee had undertaken some activities, including securing project consultants and contractors.
The Agenda 111 project includes 101 district hospitals, six regional hospitals in the newly created regions, two specialised hospitals in the middle and northern belts, as well as a regional hospital in the Western Region and renovation of the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital.
The objective of the Project, Mr Oppong Nkrumah explained, was to significantly deepen delivery of quality healthcare at the district level, boost access to healthcare services for all citizens towards ensuring the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Three.
In selecting contractors, the Minister said, local contractors were given a priority to create jobs for the local communities, adding that it would also create employment for health workers and ancillary staff.
More also, all the hospitals would have staff accommodation for medical doctors, nurses and other health workers.