YOUR EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO
Special Guest of Honour
OTUMFUO OSEI TUT II, ASANTEHENE / Guest of Honour
HON. MINISTER FOR HEALTH
HON. ASHANTI REGIONAL MINISTER
My Board Chairman / Omanhene of Bompata Traditional Area
CLERGY: Most Rev. Prof. Daniel Sarfo Yinka, Archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana of the Anglican Church
Mulvi Hameed Tahir, Regional Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission
REPRESENTATIVES OF CONTRACTA CONSTRUCTION (U.K) COMPANY
MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
It is with boundless joy that I welcome all of you, very special dignitaries, to this historic ceremony which is marking the reactivation of works on the hospital’s Maternity and Children’s block project. For those familiar with the history and struggles of this hospital, I have no doubt that you will appreciate and indeed, share in the abundant pleasure that the Board, Management and staff are immersed in at the moment as we partake in or witness today’s important programme from far and near.
Your Excellency, we are delighted beyond measure because this is the day that we thought will never come, but for the last couple of months under your Presidency. For a project whose initial sod-cutting ceremony was done in 1976, I wish, on behalf of the KATH family, to give thanks to the Almighty God for making it possible for us to see this day. As a hospital, we have been dreaming about the completion and use of the Maternity and Children’s block project for an incredible 44 long years. In fact it was started about five years before I entered the medical school at the KNUST. Thanks to the bold and decisive leadership of Your Excellency President Akufo-Addo, one of the longest dreams in the country’s health sector is about to be fulfilled with the reactivation and real completion of works on this project under a contract awarded to Contracta Construction U.K. Limited.
Your Excellency, Your Majesty, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as alluded to earlier, way back in 1976, the then government realized that the hospital was in dire need of expansion. This was in recognition of the fast pace of the population growth in its catchment area and the consequent rise in the number of patients seeking its services as the only specialist referral facility in this part of the country. Approval was consequently given for the award of a contract for the construction of a Maternity and Children block to help ease the pressure on the existing structures which were constructed in 1954. Regrettably, work on the project came to a standstill not long after the commencement of work.
Your Excellency, in 1999, the project was resumed but the original structure which was started in 1976 was pulled down due to its weak structural integrity following an engineering assessment. Funding challenges again affected the progress of its execution soon after the new foundation works. Meanwhile, pregnant women continued to queue to deliver and for critical maternal surgeries whilst two and up to 6 babies continued to be kept together in one baby’s cot due to lack of space at the hospital. Indeed in situations when the hospital had received donations of baby’s cot from benevolent organizations and individuals on seeing the plight of the babies and the hospital, there was no space to install more cots for the ever increasing newborns requiring in-patient care. In 2004, under the government of President J.A. Kufuor, the project was redesigned and expanded after a piece of the adjoining military land was released following the intervention of Your Majesty Otumfuo, Osei Tutu II and President Kufuor. This facilitated the accommodation of the expanded design of a new six-storey, three-tower structure which we see standing uncompleted today.
Mr President, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, from 2004, the pace of work on the project proceeded at a commendable speed to the state we see today, until payment for work done stopped following a change in government in 2008. Due to the failure of the government of Ghana to release funds for the project from then, work on it could not proceed as expected. Fortunately, when Your Excellency assumed office, your attention was drawn to the abandoned state of the project following the impactful documentary made by Seth Kwame Boateng of the Multi Media group on the preventable deaths of pregnant women, newborns and children at this hospital due to lack of adequate facilities. Concerned about the situation and determined to make a difference, Your Excellency, you personally visited the hospital (on this very site) on Saturday, 1st April 2017, inspected this project and gave a firm assurance that your government will do whatever it takes to secure the funds needed for its completion. This was before I was appointed the Chief Executive but I accompanied you to the site and I remember vividly the disappointment you expressed on seeing the state of the structure.
Your Majesty, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am personally delighted because management and the Board has been well involved in most of the processes including the value for money assessments leading to this day. True to the words of The President, the government last year secured funding required to complete and equip this project through a loan approved by Parliament. In fact, for the records this is the first time full funding has been secured for the completion of the magnificent project. By virtue of this, the hospital will boast of one of the most modern Women and Children’s medical facilities in the world when completed. The 800-bed project, among others will have, Emergency reception for children and pregnant women, 10 theatres, Intensive Care Units, an In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) Unit, Breastfeeding center, Paediatric Surgery Unit, Pharmacy, dedicated medical oxygen plant, Lecture halls, Cafeteria, Gift Shop/Bank and other specialist facilities. Upon completion, this project is expected to revolutionalize the provision of maternal and paediatric care in this part of the country and make the hospital a formidable centre of excellence in the training of specialist health professionals in Ghana and Sub-Sahara Africa. The hospital has a significant trainee population from Africa, especially from our sub-region of West Africa.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as we have gathered here to witness the resumption of works for the largest single investment in the history of this hospital since its construction in 1954, I wish to enjoin the people of this region and indeed the millions of Ghanaians living in its catchment areas to thank His Excellency President Akufo-Addo for his historic intervention. We must also be grateful to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II for his enormous support for this hospital. Otumfuo has never hesitated to use his vast sphere of influence to intercede on behalf of this hospital over the years including this important project and we are where we are today because he has been our dependable pillar of support. Our Honourable Ministers for Health and the Ashanti Region cannot also be forgotten for their role in the reactivation processes.
Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me request your indulgence to pay special tribute to our dear mother of Ghana, the First Lady, Her Excellency, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo. On behalf of the Board and Management I wish to extend our deepest appreciation to her, for the initial and urgent intervention which helped to provide relief for our mothers, children and the staff with the construction of the Maternity and Mother Baby Unit, the Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem (NAKSA) Center, for the hospital through the Rebecca Foundation. The intervention has been great testimony to what such investment could do to turn around the quality in our health services for better outcomes. Indeed the intervention has led to a marked reduction in mortality of the newborns and children requiring critical and intensive care.
Mr President, I wish to express yet another appreciation on behalf of the Hospital Board. Following earlier submissions through the Ashanti Regional Minister, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Hon Akwasi Amoako-Atta was at KATH three weeks ago to launch a comprehensive rehabilitation of the road network and car parks in the hospital. We are most grateful.
Your Excellency, Your Majesty, this hospital is indeed specially honoured today as this is probably the first time or in many years, that we have been gifted to have you two great leaders here. Therefore, with the permission of my Board I have the onerous opportunity to make a humbly appeal. This is about our land. The hospital currently has about the least land size among the Teaching Hospitals in the country. As one could easily see around the compound almost every available space including green lawns have, regrettably and without approval, been turned into car parks. Until the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the hospital recorded on the average 1450 Out-patient attendants daily and we currently have a staff strength of 4430 and this translates into a heavy human and vehicular traffic on our limited land space. The hospital at the moment is losing a number of opportunities in some prestigious collaborations and partnerships due to lack of land for new projects. The hospital is in dire need of land for pending projects such as Cardiovascular Centre, Renal Transplant Centre, Psychiatry and Addiction Rehabilitation Centre, Infectious Diseases Centre, a Central Laboratory and Diagnostic Centre, Car Parks and Staff Village among others. For the specialist skills currently available and more being trained these are critical projects which could facilitate KATH to realize its full potential and for the benefit of the entire country. The Board and Management wishes to appeal further for support in getting the release of at least part of the adjoining military land to the hospital for its expansion projects. We are aware His Majesty is working on our special appeal and we trust that His Excellency, the Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces will also help facilitate the realization of this special appeal. With the use of our last piece of land for the Maternity and Children’s block project, the release/acquisition of the military land to the hospital for critical development has become more crucial. Even as we await this gesture KATH needs about GHS 3 million to raise another structure on top of the Psychiatry Unit which currently has 12 beds serving the region and the entire northern belt for acute and emergency mental conditions and for the training of specialist and other clinicians in mental health.
Your Excellency, at this stage I wish to convey to you the special commendation of the Board and Management for the great leadership exhibited in leading our dear country, Ghana, in our fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are indeed grateful for the major supplies received for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and also the special financial packages granted staff in the health sector to motivate us in the resilient management against the Pandemic. Mr President as part of the national efforts to help achieve same-day delivery of COVID-19 test results I am happy to announce that Management has facilitated the Laboratory Services Directorate here to complete the set up of a COVID-19 testing laboratory. This follows over three weeks of preparation with all the necessary physical infrastructure, equipment and consumables and very good test runs validated by the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research (KCCR). Full operations of the special lab will start on Monday. This will help relieve KCCR of some workload and also facilitate prompt delivery of results for all samples taken at KATH and those to be received from other facilities.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as I bring my address to a close, I would like to reiterate the heartfelt and eternal appreciation of this hospital to Your Excellency, President Akufo-Addo for your matchless intervention. As Exodus chapter 14 verse 13 put it and I quote “And Moses said to the people ‘fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see them again”. After years of ceaseless appeals and prayers, the Good Lord had heard our supplications and through you, President Akufo-Addo, we will see no more the current sorry state of this project as it undergoes a total transformation by the time it is completed in three years’ time.
On this note, it is my pleasure to once again welcome all of you to this joyful and special event. May the Good Lord bless you all, for your kind attention