The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, says that no government in the democratic dispensation of the country has embarked on massive infrastructure projects in her region than the current New Patriotic Party government, led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
She noted that the government inherited a region challenged with poor road networks, chieftaincy and land disputes, poor sports development infrastructure, inadequate educational infrastructure, health infrastructure deficit, water supply and sanitation issues and nomadic herdsmen menace in 2017.
Highlighting the various infrastructural developments during the Ministers’ Press Briefing yesterday in Accra, the Minister disclosed that the reopening of the Sunyani Airport would also help stimulate economic growth in the region.
The airport, which was closed in 2015 due to safety concerns caused by the visible deterioration of its airside pavement and poor state of infrastructure, will on Monday be reopened to traffic.
This follows the commissioning of Phase I of the renovation and expansion works on the airport by President Akufo-Addo last month. The operationalisation of the airport is expected to reduce the difficulties passengers face traveling to and from the Middle Belt.
“While the reopening of the airport will open up the economic growth potential of the region, as well as ease traveling time from Sunyani to Accra…, we see this as an opportunity to promote eco and cultural tourism in the Bono Region and beyond; and for that, we are very grateful,” Madam Owusu-Banahene said.
She further disclosed that “discussions are far advanced to conclude Phase two of the project which will see a further extension of the runway as well as the building of a new terminal, among others.”
The Minister said that of the 4,700 kilometres total road network in the region, some 958.2 kilometres are currently under several levels of construction and rehabilitation as well as upgrading.
“Government has improved a total of 539.52km of feeder road network under various periodic maintenance interventions across all districts in the region. This has improved greatly the socio-economic status of towns located along the various corridors in the region,” she noted.
“There are about four district capitals that have not seen ‘coal tar’, but the government is on course. The contractor is on site and very soon work will begin. By the end of breaking the 8 and many other things, the government would have all the district capital roads asphalted,” she assured.
With regard to health, Madam Owusu-Banahene said in the past six years, the region had seen the construction and completion of 19 health facilities. They include a 60-bed hospital in the Tain District, the Benkasa Health Centre in the Berekum West District and 17 CHPS compounds with staff accommodation dotted all over the region.
She also noted that there had been significant improvement in the staffing levels with key medical professionals in the region, thus impacting positively on the health delivery in the region over the last six years.
“In 2016, the doctor-to-patient ratio in the region was 1:14,896 persons, but now the situation has changed a bit as the report now indicates one doctor to 10, 3895 persons. The population ratio for midwives also improved from 1:1502 persons in 2016 to 1:372 persons in 2021,” she said.
The Minister further disclosed that, currently, 66 doctors, 3337 nurses, 851 midwives, 14 pharmacists, 48 physician assistants, and 40 biochemical scientists have been recruited.
In the area of education, she disclosed that a total of 78 educational projects had been initiated and are under implementation in the region. They are being undertaken by the 12 municipal and district assemblies in the region.
These include dormitories, libraries, classrooms, dining halls, administration blocks, staff quarters, science and ICT centres.