More than a decade after government begun the construction of a 30-bed capacity health post at Sefwi Asawinso in the Western Region, the project is yet to be completed.
The construction, which started in 2007, has been left to rot since 2009 after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government handed over power to the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The structure was almost complete: it has been roofed but windows and doors are yet to be fixed.
It has not been plastered nor painted and no equipment has been fixed. A visit by Joy News to the site showed bushes have now grown all around the structure.
Nana Ama Kyinie III, Queenmother of Sefwi Asawinso, expressed concern about the delay in completing the project.
“During the reign of our father [President] Kufuor that was when our MP who was minister, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie started the project. When NDC came, they didn’t continue and so the building has been left in the bushes,” she noted.
Former Sefwi Wiawso MCE Ackaah Santana is quoted in a 2014 interview to have said the project was abandoned because the NDC government could not trace documents on it.
The health post now operates from a private residence and the congestion there is huge.
Patients have to wait long hours outside in long queues at the mercy of the weather to be treated.
Photo: Sefwi Asawinso: A private home houses the only health post in the community.
Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo who visited the facility reported children lie outside to receive treatment whilst others are treated on the corridors. Some are treated on chairs and benches.
A makeshift children’s ward has at least two children sharing one bed.
“My son was sick and I took him there. The three beds in the ward were full. I saw a school child and a woman of more than 75 years taking drip on a bench,” the Queenmother told Joy News.
The labour ward is also just a two-bed facility. The roof leaks when it rains. Nurses at the facility tell Joseph infections spread fast because of the congestion.
“Infection prevention is not being practised at the facility. As a nurse here, I won’t even allow my wife to come and give birth here because I know the place is very bad,” a male nurse told Joseph.
A resident, David Addae, brought his daughter to the facility after she had an asthmatic attack. But she was removed from her bed before full recovery because a more severe case was brought in.
“Some other case came that was critical so they had to ask us to go home. It’s not just about my daughter. Some other students were brought in who had collapsed but there was no bed for them to lie on,” he claimed.
The dire health care situation is made even worse as the owner of the private house which currently houses the health post is threatening to eject them for late payment of rent.
An agreement was reached in May 2018 to extend the rent by one year when Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu visited the town year.
“The contract has expired, even the one-year extension, the owner initially didn’t want to agree,” the queen mother explained.
The Health Minister assured residents work will resume on the facility by July 2018 to bring some relief to residents.
The residents say they are waiting eagerly for the work to begin.
“Government should come and help us…They should complete the work on the stalled health post so they can move in there,” a resident Diana Adade told Joy news.
Below is a link to a video version of the story.