Those who had been questioning the ability and capacity of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to roll out the 88 district health facilities project, 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 the Akufo-Addo government is committed to ensuring that all six newly-created regions get a regional hospital each.
That the New Patriotic Party government 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 African continent. Again, his successor President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has also not delivered below what he promised. Indeed, like JAK, he did not only redeem Ghana from the clutches of the IMF programme foisted recklessly on Ghana by the previous administration, but his records would reveal he has also rescued the National Health Insurance Scheme from the huge debt that had engulfed it under the previous administration. He at the same time 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.
Additionally, that 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 is huge. And that should assure the larger citizenry that the ‘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, among others.
We cannot, however, divorce the construction of CHIPS Compounds by the government in facilitating health delivery at grassroots level in the light of the huge numbers living in the hinterlands, most of whom 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 the government rolls 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.