University of Ghana, Health Ministry lock horns over ownership of hospital

University of Ghana, Legon, is fighting the government over attempts to prevent it from managing its newly constructed University of Ghana Teaching Hospital.

Cabinet recently directed the Ministry of Health to take over health facility on grounds that it was in the interest of the public.

An official of the Health Ministry is reported to have said:  “The Ministry is taking over, just like it is mandated to ensure the health of the populace for national development. All health-related facilities in Ghana, both public and private all fall under the purview of the Ministry of Health, so it was strange for anybody to say that a particular hospital shouldn’t have the ministry of health coming close. It is the Ministry of Health that trains all the various health professionals and posts them to the various facilities. This is the wisdom by which cabinet has decided that it should be managed or come under the Ministry of Health.

Kwaku Agyemang Manu@ Vetting 2017

Kwaku Agyemang Manu, Health Minister

Hence over the weekend, national security operatives stormed the campus to take over the newly built facility but they were forced to retreat following opposition by the Vice Chancellor and other members of the University’s management.

Acting CEO of the UG Medical Centre Professor Aaron Lawson said the university will not cede management of the newly built hospital.

There has been a turf war between the University and the Health Ministry over the management of the facility since it was commissioned a year ago.

Background

The first phase of the University of Ghana Medical Centre which was completed in November 2016, is yet to be operational following disagreements over the legitimate manager of the facility.

In 2012, the government signed a contract with Messrs. Engineering and Development Consultant (EDC) of Israel to build the first phase of the facility and hand it over to the university.

The university designated 400 acres of land for the entire project.Sources closely involved with the project had revealed to Citi News that, after this contract was agreed, another deal was signed between the Ministry of Health and the University of Ghana in 2015, which gave ownership of the $217 million facilities to the university.

Following this agreement, the university established a company, the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC) Limited to serve as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will oversee the operations of the facility.

The institution also went ahead to obtain approval from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Commission to recruit staff for the running of the facility.

The Ministry of Health in recent times is, however, laying claims to the facility, leading to uncertainties over who has the responsibility to manage the centre.

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