I am happy and sad about all the new amazing, and magnificent Hospitals and structures government is constructing; from the new Dodowa hospital to the ultramodern University Ghana Medical Center at Legon and the new Ridge hospital.
I am happy for the ease, relief and new dimensions of care it will bring to a deserving long suffering people and sad because in 10 years we might have run it down and we will seeking to build new ones we can destroy.
Our maintenance culture in this country is so poor that from the beautiful regional hospitals in Sunyani, Ho to the imposing Accident and Emergency Center in KATH the rapid deterioration is evident in less than a decade of their existence.
While this goes on, new structures are being built without seeking solutions to the existing canker. Hence the cycle of build, destroy, build another and move in continues leading to a wastage of money without holding anyone accountable.
To stop this or at least slow the deterioration of these great structures, right from the offset even before the place is commissioned for use there must be a clearly defined maintenance plan and budget with specific people put in charge and clear sanctions if they default. These sanctions should not be on the books like many of our laws which have been reduced to mere ink tracings on paper but must be enforced if government is serious about maintaining a good return on these investments .
The staff, ALL staff;from the orderlies, to doctors, especially from the old hospital need a re-orientation not only in the use of the new equipment but also how to maintain the new facility clean and in good shape at all times . Regular fault reporting systems with prompt response should be the new norm not like the current status quo where “3y3 aban di3 enti enfa meho”(to wit ” it’s for government so it doesn’t concern me ) prevails.
Not the old system where detergents are fetched and taken home and the remainder diluted, not the old system where faults reported take weeks to see let alone repair,where leaks are left to cause rotting of ceilings and insulation,where toilets are left uncleaned for days and tiles are left to turn brown.
The stakeholders in the catchment area; chiefs, assembly men and women, religious bodies, professional associations as well as the media must also take ownership of these facilities then educate the user’s on their behavior such as Spitting indiscriminately, touching the walls, littering etc that starts the destructive processes .
They must make a deliberate conscious and continuously active effort to ensure the place is maintained well to serve them well.
The country at large also need to care what goes on in these facilities ,not just the talk. They may seem far from where you live but it may be your relative who may need to seek care there or even you while on the road .
It is my hope that these facilities will be well maintained to last just a little bit longer than the current ones to serve the many envisaged for a little while longer.
Not only government nor the management of the facility alone can ensure this but we all have a role to ensure it