Completed Tolon District Hospital remains under lock and key

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Tolon District Hospital, a newly-completed facility in the Northern Region, is still under lock and key more than six months after it was opened to begin rendering health care services to residents of the area.

The non-operationalisation of the Tolon District Hospital, though it was inaugurated with a grand ceremony, had become a source of worry to some residents of the area.

The Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the hospital, which is along the main Nyankpala – Tolon Road, and observed that the various departments of the 60-bed hospital capacity including an Out-Patients Department, the emergency unit with a waiting ambulance, a laboratory, a rehabilitation centre, an obstetric and neonatal unit, a surgical ward, general bed ward, and a mortuary have all been fully furnished and ready to use.

It also has an administration block, staff changing facility, kitchen and laundry unit, and a waste management unit, while the outer and inner perimeters are fitted with fire hydrants, backup power generators and some solar systems as well as fenced.

It is being guarded by private security personnel.
The GNA spoke to a sub-contractor at the site, who wished to remain unidentified, and who confirmed that the contractor(Vamed Engineering Group) had finished its work and handed over the facility to the Ministry of Health.

The government, in November 2020 opened the Tolon District Hospital to the delight of the people, who heaved a sigh of relief that their days of travelling to Tamale for health care were over.

However, their joy was short-lived when they began to visit the facility for health care services and only to get turned away because the facility had not commenced admitting patients.

Tolon District is a large area in the region with a high population. It has only CHPS Compounds, Health Centres and Clinics that cannot provide specialists services, hence, the construction of the Tolon District Hospital to save residents from travelling to Tamale for such services.

Some residents, who spoke to the GNA were not happy about the situation and appealed to the government to open the hospital to provide health care for them.

Mr Suweidu Suhuyini, a resident of Tolon said “Actually the lockdown of the hospital is a worry to us. Going to Tamale for health care is not easy for us. It is always difficult trying to get a vehicle from here to Tamale.

A week ago, we lost a father because we could not get to Tamale Teaching Hospital on time to save his life. Assuming the Tolon District Hospital was working, we would not have to carry him to Tamale with all the delays.”

Mr Mumuni Fuseini, also a resident of Tolon said “We were happy when the government opened the hospital in November 2020. However, since then, we have not derived any benefit from it and it is a worry to us. When you take a patient to that hospital, you are redirected to Tamale.”

Miss Asana Iddrisu, a resident of Waribogu said; “Some people do not even have motorbikes and it is always difficult for them to transport their patients to Tamale. When you get to the junction, you have to stand for hours before you can get a tricycle or a motorbike or some means of transport to get to Tamale.”

Attempts to speak to the Northern Regional Health Directorate and the Tolon District Health Directorate had not been successful but the GNA had gathered that the Ghana Health Service had posted about 50 nurses, two medical doctors, laboratory technicians, pharmacists among other health staff to the facility.

However, they have been reassigned to CHPS Compounds, and Health Centres in the district to work there until the district hospital is open for patients.

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