The NPP as a political tradition has proven over the years that it considers human development as a critical resource for nation-building. Not only does the party boast of the enviable record for implementing policies to create a workforce that is better educated, it also focuses on improving health outcomes of its citizens. The Kuffour administration instituted the Capitation Grant and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to get more children to attend school and improve the healthcare of Ghanaians.
It is in the same spirit that Akufo-Addo is not resting on his laurels for implementing the Free SHS policy but has indicated his intention of delivering on the largest healthcare infrastructure investment by any government in the last fifty years with the Agenda 111 programme. Driven by his desire to make Ghana the true Black Star of Africa and the world he always proves the naysayers wrong by implementing all his major campaign promises in the round-up to the 2016 general elections.
Agenda 111 project among other things includes the following:
- Constructing 101 standard 100-bed hospitals with accommodation for doctors and nurses in the Districts without hospitals;
- Constructing 6 new regional hospitals in the 6 new regions;
- Constructing a Ghana Centre for Disease Control;
- Constructing 1 regional hospital for the Western Region;
- Rehabilitating the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital in the Western region into a virtually a new facility;
- Constructing 2 new psychiatric hospitals and rehabilitation of existing ones; and
- Constructing infectious disease centres for each of the three ecological zone: coastal, northern and middle belt zones in the country.
This project is expected to have a huge impact on job creation in the country. Akufo-Addo has made a commitment of awarding the construction to only Ghanaian companies. This ensures that numerous direct and indirect job opportunities are created during the construction phases. Once the construction of these facilities are done, numerous job opportunities will also be created for several health professional including doctors, nurses, midwifes, pharmacists, laboratory technicians among others.
Many Ghanaians are expected to have a markedly improved healthcare because good health facilities are going to be close to them. All Districts without hospitals are going to get one. Adding accommodation facilities for health workers will also ensure that health professional do not have any difficulties accepting postings to such districts. All these would mean that fatalities and complications that arise from not getting appropriate treatment would be reduced because of proximity to the new district hospitals.
The citing of health facilities in communities will also create new opportunities for local economies. Laboratory services, pharmacies, restaurants, convenient shops and other services would be set up by individuals on account of the new district hospitals being located in their districts. There are other indirect benefits that the districts will experience on the account of establishing the district hospitals. This is expected to improve socio-economic life of the inhabitants of such districts.
Psychiatric health care is one area that has not received sufficient attention for years. To date there are only three public psychiatric hospitals in the country, all located in the Greater Accra and Central regions of Ghana. This has made it difficult for many Ghanaians to have access to appropriate psychiatric care. It is refreshing that Agenda 111 includes the construction of 2 new psychiatric hospitals. With Agenda 111 psychiatric care is going to receive the boost it badly needed as they will be constructed in other regions.
The Covid-19 pandemic showed that the nation is not equipped to deal with such outbreaks. Thankfully because of the decisiveness of Akufo-Addo in implementing measures to deal with it the nation has coped admirably with the outbreak. A responsible thing to do is for measures to be put in place so that the nation can be better prepared in the event of other future pandemics. The response of Akufo-Addo is to outline the construction of Ghana Centre for Disease Control and infectious disease centres for each of the three ecological zone; coastal, northern and middle belt zones in the country. This will help make the nation better prepared to protect human life and minimise the potential negative impact of future infectious disease outbreaks.
Akufo-Addo has demonstrated in his first term of office that he is particular about his promises and committed to delivering on them all. It is therefore imperative that he is given the nod to continue to consolidate the gains he has made in his first term and deliver on Agenda 111 which will have numerous benefits for years to come. For this reason, Akufo-Addo needs 4 more to do more!