President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo says the realisation of the Agenda 111 will lead to Ghana becoming a centre of medical excellence and a destination for medical tourism.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament , he said the construction of some of the Agenda 111 hospitals had commenced and would continue without interruptions.
President Akufo-Addo said the Agenda 111 would see the construction of 100-bed district hospitals in one hundred and one (101) districts with no hospitals.
He said Agenda 111, the largest ever investment in healthcare infrastructure in Ghana’s history, was part of a massive vision for Ghana’s healthcare sector.
The President said seven regional hospitals for the new regions, including one for the Western Region, the construction of two new psychiatric hospitals for the Middle Belt and Northern Belt and the rehabilitation of the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital in the Western Region, were all on course, under the project.
He said each of the 16 regional hospitals to be constructed under the project would be designated as a centre of excellence in the different specialties of medicine.
“For example, orthopedic surgery, burns, plastic and reconstructive surgery, breast care centre, fertility centre, neonatology and pediatric centre, neurosurgery and spine centre, stroke centre, heart and kidney centre and mental health centre to name a few.”
The President said the government would continuously upgrade the medical curriculum, and continue to train young doctors and health care professionals.
President Akufo-Addo said government would also incentivize the private sector to increase capacity to support demand in healthcare delivery.
He encouraged Ghanaian medical experts in the diaspora to collaborate with government to achieve Agenda 111.
He said the West African region was estimated to reach a population of half a billion people by 2030, by which time the Agenda 111 would have been realised.
President Akufo-Addo also said the Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project and the Water Supply Improvement Project of the Ghana-Spain Debt Swap Development Programme have been completed.
He said in September 2020, he joined the people of Amedzofe, Ziope, Akpokope/Batume Junction, Matse, Dzolo Gbogame, and surrounding communities to commission the five Piped Water Supply Systems under the Project.
President Akufo-Addo said the government’s quest to ensure an improved sanitation system across the country was bolstered last year by the beginning of the construction of 16 integrated recycling and solid waste processing facilities.
“It is expected that all 16 facilities will be completed before the end of the year.”
The President said concrete preparatory works had started on many water supply projects across the country, including the Wenchi Water Supply Project, Keta Water Supply Project, Five Districts Water Supply Scheme Phase 3, Tamale Water Supply Project, Damongo Water Supply Project, and Yendi Water Supply Project.
“Our efforts at ending open defecation received a boost with the construction of 103,149 toilet facilities for vulnerable households in towns and villages across the country, under the Household and Institutional Toilet Programme.”
He noted that the cumulative result of that was that some 822,000 persons had benefitted nationwide, while some 500 communities were declared open defecation free.
President Akufo-Addo also said government, through the Ministry of Local Government and the District Assembly Common Fund, has commenced the construction of 90 courts with accompanying accommodation for judges across the country.
He said the initiative was to help address the problem of inadequate court infrastructure and that the structures were at advanced stages of completion.
President Akufo-Addo said through the same medium, 20 townhouses and a guesthouse were being built to be used as permanent residences for Court of Appeal Judges based in Kumasi, who were mandated to handle cases in the northern part of the country.
He said with the coming into force of the Courts Regulation 2020, LI 2429, on December 16, 2020, the relevant sections of the Courts Act (Act 459) had been amended, and had led to an expansion of the jurisdiction of the lower courts.
“Indeed, prior to the amendment, the monetary values of cases that could be heard by the district and circuit courts were GH¢20,000 and GH¢50,000 respectively. Today, the district court’s jurisdiction over cases brought before it has been increased to GH¢500,000, whereas that of the circuit court has been increased to GH¢2 million.”
The President indicated that the increase in jurisdiction would ensure that more cases were heard in the District and Circuit Courts, thus easing the burden on the High Courts, saying: “All these measures will go a long way to enhance justice delivery in the country and help consolidate the rule of law.”
He noted that the judicial system had not been left out of the digitisation programme, and that the e-Justice and e-Case register initiatives, for example, were helping to ensure that the law kept pace with technology.
That would end the age-old “missing dockets phenomenon and endless litigations, which has plagued the efficient delivery of justice in the country for many, many years,” he said.