Those who are questioning the ability and capacity of the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to roll out the 88 district health facilities which he promised in gloomy times during the COVID-19 pandemic may go to bed without worries.
This is because, as the Health Minister-designate, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, assured, that pledge is still sacred and on the President’s heart. Indeed, beyond the Agenda 88, the truth is that government is committed to ensuring that all six newly-created regions a regional hospital each, “among other planned hospital projects such as the expansion of the Afia-Kwesimintsim Hospital”.
That the New Patriotic Party has a niche for engineering development and initiatives has been evidenced in its administrations promising little but delivering maximally.
John Agyekum Kufuor’s administration, we may recall, never promised the construction of stadia or the National Health Insurance Scheme which has today become a novelty on the continent. Again, his successor Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, also never delivered below what he promised. Indeed, like JAK, he not only redeemed Ghana from the clutches of the IMF Programme foisted recklessly on Ghana by the previous administration.
The President, the records would reveal, has also rescued the National Health Insurance Scheme from the huge debt that had engulfed it under the previous administration and redesigned its structures not only to deliver efficiently but also reduce graft in claims and smoothen processes for accessing health on the part of the ordinary citizen.
That is aside of more vulnerable groups being considered for coverage under the Scheme.
He did more than that including the scope of the much-heralded Free SHS Programme and that just coming from the IMFProgramme.
Additionally, the government has raised the largest budget for health ever witnessed in Ghana is an indication that the Nana Akufo-Addo administration’s intentions and vision for transformational development are huge. And that should assure the larger citizenry that Agenda 88 is no political fluke as the days ahead may witness.
However, as the Minister-designate explained, there is a genuine case of acquisition of land from 13 districts to facilitate commencement and delivery of the pledge that will culminate in the generation of jobs in construction, catering, housing, utility services, hawking, petty trading, tourism etc,
We cannot, however, divorce the construction CHIPS Compounds by the government in facilitating health delivery at the grassroots level in the light of the huge numbers living in the hinterlands, most of who do not have enough access to health delivery facilities.
That is why we must still look at the population segments and tailor development proportionately, while we roll out the Agenda 88 initiative.
While we support the Minority for calling for a situation report on the government’s ability or preparedness to continue with the ambitious programme, we also commend the Minister-designate for the explanations and beyond that the assurance that the initiative will not be abandoned.
This is because trust and credibility are hallmarks of quality leadership and good governance. It is also important that the government keeps faith with the people because politics is about service for the well-being of the citizenry.