The Minister for Finance, Hon Kenneth Ofori–Atta, has stated that while the President of the Republic of Ghana and Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Nana Akufo-Addo led Government is committed to completing the Military Hospital in Kumasi, it is also planning to construct a third (3rd) Military Hospital in Tamale as well as solving some challenges faced by the hospital.
Hon Ken Ofori-Atta indicated that infrastructural expansions, issues of staffing, broken equipment, logistics constraints, maintenance and other challenges would be tackled by the government and would continue to make the 37 Military Hospital relevant and more significant to befit its status as a National Emergency and Disaster Hospital and a United Nations Level IV referral Hospital.
The Hon Minister and Reviewing Officer for the occasion made these remarks during the climax of the yearlong 75thAnniversary Celebration of the 37 Military Hospital on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at the Quarter Master Yard of the facility in Accra which begun last year July 4, 2016.
He emphasized that currently, the Hospital has been upgraded from a 400 to 500-bed facility, therefore, the need for maximum commitment in making our contributions to the facility towards its centenary mark in the next 25 years where it would be upgraded to a 2000-bed facility.
Hon Ken Ofori-Atta said theHospital was originally established and commissioned on 4thJuly 1941 by a British Military Officer, General George Giffard, the then General Officer Commanding (GOC) the West African Region as a Military Hospitalto provide treatment for troops injured in the Second World War.
Adding, he therefore instructed the then PWD to construct the Hospital and when completed, begun operation as the 37thGeneral Hospital within the British Empire. It gained the name 37 because it was the 37th Military Hospital to be built in the British Empire and was changed to 37 Military Hospital of the Gold Coast in 1956 with 29 wards with nine set aside for the Europeans.
‘’In 1957 following Ghana’s independence, the Military Hospital recruited its first indigenous doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff and commissioned them to run the Hospital with the first Ghanaian Director of Medical Services Col S A Obeng. By 1961, the medical reception stations had been built in the garrisons, and together with the 37-military hospital, they formed the nucleus of what is known today as the Ghana Armed Forces Medical Services, he noted.
The Finance Minister hinted that the hospital‘s primary objective was to provide health care services and treatment to service personnel and their families, civilian employees and their families, ex-service men and the general public which constitutes about 70% of patients visit the facility. He said the hospital is now the National Disaster Hospital with the provision of medical care to International Organizations and NGO’s, operating in Ghana and the West African region, UN Level IV referral Hospital for UN missions in Liberia and La Cote D’Ivoire
Adding, currently, the Hospital provides services for 17000 men and women in uniform and 7000 entitled civilians and their families with an additional 56000 non-entitled civilians and their families.
‘’As General Eisenhower said, ‘’Our real problem, then, is not our strength today, it is rather the vital necessity of action today to ensure our strength tomorrow’’, he reiterated the need for the military to seek a new paradigm for the management of the 37 military hospital in order to be an independent center of excellence come the next twenty five years.
On behalf of Nana Akufo-Addo, he acknowledged the fruits of collaborated efforts and sacrifices of all people who in numerous ways have contributed to making the 37 military hospital outstanding in its health care delivery to Ghanaians and West Africans in general and to what it is today.
He also congratulated the hospital for growing from a 400-bed to a 500-bed facility with ancillary institutions providing training for nurses, midwives and anesthetics and other specialist and all who are involved in making the ceremony a success.
Hon Ken Ofori-Atta together with the Chaplain of the unit Rev Father Lt Col Anthony Kemetse, Imam Mohammed Suraqa, a representative of the National Chief Imam Sheik Aremeyawo Shaibu, Director Medical Services of GAF Brig Gen Ralph Ametepi, Commander Military Hospital Kumasi Brig Gen Christopher Agbeka, Commander of the 37 Military Hospital Brig Gen Ernest Crosby Saka (Jr), Commanding Officer of the facility Col Micheal Yeboah-Agyapong, later unveiled a monument mounted at the main entrance of the Hospital with an inscription of a medical Doctor assisted by a nurse taking care of a patient.
The monument was sponsored by Alhaji Ibrahim Nyameasem of Alinco Oil Company Limited in Tema and designed and sculptured by Numus Portfolio.
On parade to do a demonstration were 130 men and women with four officers drawn from the Ghana Navy, Army and Air Force with its civilian counterparts, all personnel of the hospital.
To grace the occasion were the CDS Lt Gen Obed Akwa and service chiefs, Inspector General of Police Mr Apeatu, Deputy Minister for Defence Hon Oduro and some Ministers of state, retired and serving officers and personnel of the hospital.