Social Commentator, Allotey Jacobs, has admonished the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to stop censuring President Nana Akufo-Addo over his decision to construct 88 district hospitals in the country.
Addressing the nation in his 8th update on COVID-19, President Nana Akufo-Addo disclosed some deficiencies that needed attention in the health sector.
He disclosed that the threat of COVID-19 has however aided the government to identify certain health needs that must be put in place to ensure the nation beefs up the health sector.
“Just as the virus has disrupted our daily lives, it has also exposed the deficiencies of our healthcare system, because of years of under-investment and neglect. Whilst maternal, new-born, adolescent health and nutrition remain our top priorities, we must pay increased attention to chronic, noncommunicable diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and asthma, which have proved to be the common risk factors for the eleven (11) deaths we have recorded from the virus”.
In view of this, the President indicated his “government has decided to undertake a major investment in our healthcare infrastructure, the largest in our history. We will, this year, begin constructing eighty-eight (88) hospitals in the districts without hospitals. It will mean ten (10) in Ashanti, nine (9) in Volta, nine (9) in Central, eight (8) in Eastern, seven (7) in Greater Accra, seven (7) in Upper East, five (5) in Northern, five (5) in Oti, five (5) in Upper West, five (5) in Bono, four (4) in Western North, four (4) in Western, three (3) in Ahafo, three (3) in Savannah, two (2) in Bono East, and two (2) in North East Regions. Each of them will be a quality, standard-design, one hundred bed hospital, with accommodation for doctors, nurses and other health workers, and the intention is to complete them within a year. We have also put in place plans for the construction of six (6) new regional hospitals in the six (6) new regions, and the rehabilitation of the EffiaNkwanta Hospital, in Sekondi, which is the regional hospital of the Western Region”.
Following the President’s pledge to Ghanaians, the leadership and members of the NDC have questioned the possibility of such ambition becoming a reality within a year and also slammed the President saying he is taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to rehash his campaign promises.
NDC Member of Parliament for Juaboso constituency and Ranking Member on Health, Hon. Kwabena Mintah Akandoh in an interview on Okay FM’s ‘Ade Akye Abia’ Morning Show asked the President to ”know his status as a President when addressing the nation on the state of the COVID-19.
We are obliged to listen to the President and help him fight the COVID-19, but the moment he switches into political promises then there will be issues because when it comes to political campaign promises, the President has a certain pedigree…So, if the President comes to paint a picture as if he has now seen the need to build district hospitals due to the COVID-19, then it is not true, the President was not truthful to us because there was no COVID-19 in 2016.
He should prove me wrong if he didn’t promise this to Ghanaians in the party’s manifesto”.
Allotey Jacobs thinks it’s too early to criticize the President
Speaking on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ program Wednesday, Allotey Jacobs was of a strong view that the NDC should watch the government to find out if they are true to their word and will begin construction before registering their criticisms and seeking to address loopholes in the President’s promise.
According to Allotey Jacobs, it is ‘premature’ for the NDC to cast doubts over the feasibility of the President’s promise in improving the health sector.
He noted that so far as the year 2020 is an electioneering year, it is right for the opposition party to see it as a campaign strategy by the President, but advised the NDC to note that the construction of the hospitals is in the interest of the nation.
He urged the NDC and other political parties to join forces with the incumbent government to advance something of national importance though stressing it is not out of place to say the President is on a campaign mission.
“If he says he will construct them, we have to exercise patience and watch him. Where is he going to get the funds? How is he going to start? If he begin one or two, bear in mind that the districts that he will construct them in; the people will appreciate it. So, for me, it is premature for him to be criticized now because you’re even urging him more to even find resources to start the projects . . . If he can do it or not, what is important is that 88 districts in this country needs district hospitals.
”When it’s getting close to elections and he hasn’t begun, then you can call out his bluff, but it’s too early to call that he can’t get funds or resources to complete it,” the former Central Regional Chairman of the NDC called on the leadership of the opposition party.
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