Deserted Closure of Hopelessness: The LA General Hospital

Deserted Closure of Hopelessness: The LA General Hospital

 By Clifford Okyere

From the 14th of March 2020 to maybe the 17th of March 2020, there was a media splurge about Contractors returning to site after almost two years to the demolition of the La General hospital for a newer and better one. In fact. The people of the La enclave and its surroundings could have been counted among the happiest people on earth at that time when they thought all hopes had evaporated. Their most and only source of health care will finally see the light of day after the president came to sweet talk them on Tuesday, August 10, 2020.

However, as of January 20, 2023, the land has been left bare to the cruel nature of the Accra coastal area weather, resulting in the development of weeds of various species on the designated land for the future €68 million ultramodern hospital, which hopes to serve the people of Osu, La, Labadi, Teshie, and its surrounding areas. Heaps of brown gravel-like sand, fewer building materials such as wood and iron rods, and makeshift structures were what took a better part of the already deserted land which has been close to the entry.

Reasons for the demolition of the then five-Storey structure were revealed after an assessment led by CSENG Consult, a reputable Civil and Structural Engineering firm in Accra, revealed that the facility was a ticking time bomb because it had developed gaping cracks which made it unsafe to be in it. This was after the hospital’s administration had reported severe structural problems in 2015.

The never-to-be-built structure was supposed to be converted into a 160-bed facility with an outpatient department, inpatient wards, maternity and neonatal services, a surgical unit with four theatres, an accident and emergency department, a public health department, a pharmacy unit, a laboratory, an administration area, an imaging area with a CT scanner, an X-ray room, an ultrasound room, fluoroscopy units, and mammography units, physiotherapy unit maybe there will be a magical intervention on the 30th month.

On site, three security guards who indicated they worked for Poly Changda, the company contracted with the facility’s redevelopment, restricted my entry to the already enclosed high-rise walled land. They stated that the order was from above to restrict any persons entry, especially the media. They refused to get interactive to even provide information on their said master who lords over them to protect the place. Their scornful look at me when I asked if they were paid to guard an empty area all day drove me to silence in order to end my questions at the foot.

Residents and passers-by who had witnessed the fall and never-risen-end of their most reliable source of health care expressed their sentiment; both anger and hopelessness, through facial expression and speech when probed with any questions about the neglect of their once useful hospital. The average response from residents accused the government of deliberately neglecting the project, putting their health at risk, and this was followed by an outburst of cuss words, mostly in the local dialect, directed at the government.

Indeed, their outbursts are of reasonable grounds. A facility which started at its lowest as a Polyclinic in the early 1960s and rose to the status of a General Hospital, with its equivalence to Ridge Hospital which might have probably severed and saved the lives of a close relative or friend, reduced to mere pebbles and sand.

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Some residents also recounted that the recent road construction work, which is still in its skeleton state, has taken a tough toll on their health, especially their respiratory system, as they had to travel a longer distance for consultation which they might even return home with paracetamol and cough syrup as the only prescribed drugs. They noted that all those senseless costs would have been nonexistent if the hospital was in operation.

In a clearer light, one could easily conclude that the current administration is at the helm of broken promises and unfinished projects, most notably healthcare facilities. At the just ended 2022, the fourth estate published an article in April on health facilities that have been abandoned, at various levels of completion, to the mercies of wild weeds and unfair weather conditions. This was after the president’s assurance of completion whilst he presented 2019’s State of the Nation Address before the floor of parliament.

It is without a doubt that this administration is notable for the unfulfilled of promises. It becomes a huge concern when such an unfulfilled promise was visioned towards the attainment of the sustainable development goals for which the president was commended by the UNDP in 2021. The goals, which seek to achieve an utmost bridge of equal opportunity for all persons in the world to have access to the basic necessities of life, seem to have left the people of La and its enclave out of goal three and all other goals associated with it. Well, the silence around the site spoke volumes that one could only imagine the people were lacking something valuable.

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