The Office of the President has acknowledged receipt of a joint petitionpresented by Citi FM and Occupy Ghana demanding the operationalization of all newly built but abandoned healthcare facilities.

A letter signed by Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, said the necessary steps will be taken to address concerns raised in the petition.

The two petitioners are also pushing for a comprehensive Emergency Response System (ERS), contending that the matters at hand have “reached a crisis point.”

“The matters now require drastic measures, one of which is our request herein that the President takes urgent steps to operationalzse the facilities and institute the ERS throughout Ghana.”

They urged the President to “put in place and publish a clear road-map with timelines for addressing the matters.”

It is the conviction of the petitioners that the facilities, when operationalised, the facilities will “reduce pressure on the existing tertiary and regional referral facilities and add about a 4000-bed capacity to the existing nationwide figure of about 20,000 beds.”

The petition, which was forwarded to the presidency on July 25th, 2018, comes on the back of reportage on some health facilities including the University of Ghana Medical Centre that have been sitting idle for close to a year.

The University of Ghana Medical Centre, the first phase of which was recently opened, was among newly built healthcare facilities that was sitting idle over 18 months after it was commissioned, because of a spat between the government and the University of Ghana over who should manage the facility.

The 1,000-bed maternity & paediatric block at KATH that has been abandoned for over four decades, the Police Hospital in Accra and the KNUST Teaching Hospital are some of the projects noted in the petition, that have been abandoned.

The no-bed syndrome has left healthcare providers with no option but to treat emergency cases on the floor or chairs in some cases.

This is after the death of 70-year-old man who was turned away by seven hospitals over a lack of beds prompted the Ghana Health Service to direct that emergency cases be treated regardless of the medical logistics.

The petition also includes an 11 point plan for a comprehensive emergency service system that includes the provision of an adequate number of ambulances for the population, improved support to the National Health Insurance Scheme, the establishment of an ERS Command Centre and the provision of more community hospitals.

The petitioners maintain that “poor health care is a gross violation of the inherent right of the people to good healthcare.”

“We believe that the President has a sacred duty to ensure that the right thing is done. That is why we are calling for a direct action by the President to ensure that these matters are addressed by, first, ensuring that all identified facilities are operationalized forthwith, and second, instituting a workable plan for emergency healthcare in Ghana,”it added.