The 37 Military Hospital has cut the sod for the construction of an 80-bed cardiothoracic centre expected to be completed in a year.
The centre is being sponsored solely by the Member of Parliament for Assin Central and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior, Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong.
The estimated cost of the project has not been made public, but the sponsor presented a seed fund of GH¢1.2 million to the Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, at the sod-cutting ceremony in Accra yesterday to facilitate the start of the project.
Upon completion, the facility will become the second after the National Cardiothoracic Centre (NCC) at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, the only cardio centre serving the country and other African countries.
It will offer specialised diagnostics and treatment for people with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and offer specialised training and research opportunities to medical practitioners.
The centre will, among others, be equipped with a state-of-the-art operating theatre, and radiography and cardiac catheter laboratories.
Mr Agyapong said the support for such a facility was inspired by the fact that only a few African countries had the capacity to deliver specialised heart health services despite the high demand, adding that it was due to the lack of requisite human resource and infrastructure.
He said although Ghana already had that kind of facility, it still needed an upgraded facility to complement the NCC to deliver improved services.
“Research has revealed that relatively little can be done to reduce the incidence of congenital heart defects. A high number of people will, therefore, continue to require such prompt and reliable surgical intervention. We must, therefore, be prepared to concentrate our efforts towards enhancing the country’s capacity in that aspect of health care,” he said.
Mr Agyapong said the 37 Military Hospital was a strategic host of the facility because of the hospital’s dedication to duty as the first port of call during disasters.
He said by strengthening the capacity of the hospital, the entire country and the region stood to benefit from its professionalism.
“Inasmuch as we always expect more from our health facilities, it is only fair to make sure they have all they require to deliver,” he said.
He charged the contractor to adhere to the highest professional standards by delivering to the required specifications.
Vice Admiral Amoama said the facility would be of great significance to healthcare delivery in the country.
He expressed gratitude to Mr Agyapong, describing the gesture as a full demonstration of the benefactor’s love for the people of Ghana and the Ghana Armed Forces.
“It is our fervent desire and belief that this exemplary initiative will be emulated by other well-meaning Ghanaians to augment our total efforts to ensure better healthcare delivery.
“I wish to assure you that the Ghana Armed Forces will put in place the necessary measures to ensure the successful completion and maximum utilisation of the centre,” he said.
Vice Admiral Amoama said the necessary discussions and actions had begun with Mr Agyapong on the prospects of training the human resource base to man the facility so that it would not become a white elephant.