$1m Digital Health Centre Abandoned

A $860,000 solar-powered specialised health centre with adequate equipment for primary and secondary health care delivery located at Volo in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region, has been abandoned.

The fully equipped facility which is located in a special ‘digital village,’ was constructed in 2014 By Samsung Electronics Africa and handed over to the then Mahama-led NDC government in May 2015.

Should the facility be operational, it would have been serving over 5000 people in Volo and over 50 other communities within the North Tongu District and some parts of the Central Tongu District.

The ‘digital village,’ as it is fondly called, comprises a cluster of health, education and administrative facilities with drugs and other essential commodities. The entire facility is connected to run exclusively on solar energy.

It was to complement health care delivery services rendered by the Health Centers and Community-based Health Planning and Services, CHPS zones in the area, to provide quality health care for the residents of the area and the nearby communities.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was to provide technical assistance in running the project.

However, two years after it was handed over, the facility has become a white elephant while the Health Center which was supposed to complement it is suffocating from lack of space and logistics for the health workers to discharge their duties effectively.

DAILY GUIDE’s interaction with some community members and health workers revealed that the facility is virtually buried in a forest as the whole surroundings of the facility had become bushy with rodents having a field day in and around it; virtually using it as their abode.

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The facility which was built to handle special cases such as ear, eye and tooth infections had also become a source of worry to residents who are at a loss as to why it has still not started operations.

One major concern raised by the residents was that some of the consumables in the facility had been left to expire while others have barely a few weeks or months to last.

Others were of the view that the money wasted in putting up the facility could have been invested in expanding the health center, which to them, would have been a prudent use of resources.

Lack of Expertise
Togbe Kwaku Abliza IV, Paramount Chief of Volo Traditional Area in an interview, expressed worry about the lack of personnel which he said was the main reason the facility was abandoned.

According to him, the facility was closed down and abandoned 24 hours after it was commissioned. “You know when they commissioned it on a Friday, and the next day which was a Saturday, many people trooped in to access health care, but were asked to return later after the right personnel take their post. However, till date it has not operated.”

He said he was told, upon an inquiry from the Volta Regional Health Directorate, particularly the Director as to why the facility was lying dormant months after it was handed over to government, that there was no specialist to man the facility.

Togbe said “I then suggested to him (Regional Health Director) that since there is the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) in Ho, they could allow some of the lecturers who have background in some of the special services to come there on rotational basis. He agreed on the suggestion and told me he will try and see what he can do, but up till now I have not heard anything from him again.”

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Plea and Assurances
The District Chief Executive, Richard Collins Arku who acknowledged the situation at the facility, assured that, he is working on getting a full report on the project and develop some strategy to get it running.

Picture Credit, Koby Blay (Ghana Health Next)

Fred Duodu, Ho ( [email protected] )

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