By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has joined hands with a number of Private Sector organizations, to construct a 100-Bed infectious disease, isolation and treatment facility, that would cost about Three Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars (USD 3.5 Million) and would be completely furnished in six weeks.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Friday, 17th April, 2020, at the Ga East Hospital – a national Covid-19 Isolation Center – where the maiden facility is to be built by the Covid-19 Private Sector Fund, which is the sodality that forms the Public-Private Sector Initiative for the venture.
Personnel from GAF’s 48 Engineer Regiment (who are part of the project management and facilitation), were among eighteen professionals from the Ghana Institute of Surveyors, Ghana Institute of Architects, the Ghana Institute of Planners and the Ghana Institution of Engineers, together with architects of the Ministry of Health, who all volunteered their time and skill pro bono, for the designs.
The project, which would be the first of its kind in Ghana, will include a Medical Staff block, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Case Management Centre, laboratory, be earthquake-resistant and disability-friendly, would not be used only for victims of Covid-19, but for all infectious diseases, such as Meningitis, SARS, influenza, common cold, tuberculosis, Hepatitis A and B, etc.
The USD 3.5 Million project, which is allowed a worse case variation of not more than $500,000, has co-chairs being Dr Anthony Oteng-Gyasi and Mr Edward Effah of Fidelity Bank, with One Million Dollars (USD 1M) being raised already by the Trustees.
The genesis of the endeavour can be traced to an idea started by 10 private sector individuals, who started to help the government of Ghana, to fight the Novel Coronavirus (officially known as Covid-19), by feeding over 140,000 needy persons in Accra and Kumasi, during the lockdown period in Ghana.
The group started by feeding about 14,000 and 3,500 souls in Accra and Kumasi, respectively, daily, with anonymous donors offering GHS 1,240,000, to support the feeding project, however, that was halted on the 12th day of the lockdown, after the President of Ghana – His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s announcement that the government had initiated plans to feed larger numbers of the populace.
The initiative, which enjoys Presidential blessing, envisages to move to replicate the idea in Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale, after completing the prototype at Ga East, Accra.
According to information gleaned, the decision for the project was firmed up on the 9th of April, and by the 12th of April, all the designs had been completed (designers are local but with international pedigree), by the 15th April, a contractor had been selected and has moved to begin work on site, without the usual constraints encumbered with Public Policy bureaucracy.
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), has donated USD 1Million towards the initiative, Fidelity Bank – One Million Cedis (GHS 1 Million), ECOBANK GH – GHS 500,000, DEVTRACO PLUS – GHS 100,000, GLICO – GHS 50,000, VITTOL GH has pledged to fully equip the laboratory, and Diamond Cement has donated the cement needed for the sub-structure.
Kweku Bediako – a Trustee reputable in buildings, said the structure will entail brick and mortar, as well as prefabricated materials, which are as durable as brick and mortar, but would still be able to complete the structure in 6 weeks, as engineers of worldwide repute, who have designed modern hospitals the world over, have been consulted, to make the project a success.
Presently, none of the health facilities of the Ghana Health Service, is primarily designed for infectious disease isolation and treatment, but have adjusted existing facilities, to be able to contain contagions such as the global pandemic of the coronavirus.