Five vehicles belonging to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Upper East region have been declared missing.
Authorities at the regional health directorate say they discovered the upsetting development whilst taking annual stock of assets of the service.
“As we took stock of 2015, somewhere along the line we realised that five vehicles were on our inventory but the transport manager could not account for them physically. The vehicles were not around where we normally park them. We followed administrative procedure by writing to the Director General that this is the situation.
“We wrote to him and we’ve written to the Regional Minister to advise us. They are not bicycles. They are not motorbikes. These are vehicles – one car, one Mitsubishi Pajero, one V8 and two pickups,” the Upper East Regional Director of Health, Dr. Kofi Issah, announced Wednesday at the 2016 Half-Year Performance Review of the region’s health service delivery.
Missing vehicles cripple service delivery
The directorate received a lot of vehicular support from foreign development partners wooed by celebrated former Regional Director of Health, Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams.
Two of the makeshift motor-tricycle ambulances donated in 2013 by UNICEF through the directorate to hard-to-reach communities for emergency referrals were stolen in 2013 in the Bongo District. The latest disappearance of the five vehicles at the directorate, authorities say, has a dire impact on health service delivery particularly in the rural districts.
“We could have also been very prudent by releasing them to Builsa South and Builsa North Districts if they were there so that at least they would have strong vehicles. Sometimes we (the regional directorate) have to hire our vehicles out to the districts to use. But it is ideal that the farther districts would have stronger vehicles,” Dr. Issah said.
Measures deployed to secure other vehicles
The directorate is yet to report the development to the police, saying it is awaiting directives from the Director General as to what line of action to pursue.
In the meantime, measures have been deployed to safeguard the rest of the fleet found on the directorate’s premises.
“Once we don’t have any indication that we are getting new vehicles, it means that whatever fleet that we have would have to be maintained and maintained in such a way that we are able to make sure everybody has access to what is available so that service delivery doesn’t suffer.
“It’s not only vehicles, but motorbikes and computers. The primary rider and the district director are signing an undertaking so that if it gets missing or you decide to take it as a retirement benefit I know who to hold responsible,” the Regional Director said.
Minister worried over armed robbery at health facilities
The Paramount Chief of Talensi, Nab Kubilsong Nalebgtang, who chaired the review programme expressed utter shock at the disappearance of the vehicles and called for thorough search to ensure that they were retrieved.
Whilst UNICEF’s Head of Health and Nutrition Section at the Tamale Office, Dr. Imram Ravi, showered the Upper East with praise for being adjudged the best-performing region in the country for the last four months, the Upper East Regional Minister, Albert Abongo, lamented the spate of litigation in the region from landowners over lands meant for public health facilities.
“There are increasing numbers of land litigations from landowners after the lands were acquired by the state for health infrastructure development. There is the need for sensitisation of communities to appreciate their own contributions to development especially in the areas of health service delivery and to cooperate with authorities to resolve any genuine grievances they may have with regard to land ownership and acquisition.
“Another worrying phenomenon that hampers health delivery in the region is the increasing spate of armed robbery at health facilities. A number of armed robberies, some taking place in health facilities, in recent times have seen some health staff injured in addition to loss of personal and public property. I call on the security agencies and traditional authorities to work together to stem this worrying trend,” the Regional Minister moaned.
Source: Ghana/starrfmonline.com/103.5FM/Edward Adeti