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Rojo rebuffs alleged misappropriation of hospital loan for election research

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A Former Deputy Minister of Health Rojo Mettle-Nunoo has denied claims that the National Democratic Congress, (NDC) under John Dramani Mahama led-government, has used part of the $175 million loan meant to build hospitals to conduct an election-related research.

An Accra based Radio, “Joy News investigation” has revealed that the Ministry of Health under the previous Mahama-led NDC administration diverted part of a government loan facility into researching the then governing party’s chances of winning the 2016 general elections.

The research was a sub-contract under a 175 million dollar project awarded to British infrastructure company NMS for the construction of seven district hospitals and an integrated IT system.

The research was conducted by UK-based SCL Social, the mother company of Cambridge Analytica.

SCL Social was paid $6 million to undertake a nationwide survey to provide data for the proper planning of the healthcare needs of Ghana.

According to the contract signed by the government of Ghana and NMS, Rojo Mettle-Nunoo was the head of the Project Steering Committee.

Mr. Mettle-Nunoo, who was an administrator of the Mahama campaign team admitted knowing SCL Social and confirmed crucial campaign intelligence was gathered through a research.

Rojo Mettle-Nunoo was also the Deputy Health Minister, in a statement, however, said ” in avoidance of doubt that the suggestion in the Joy FM broadcast that funds diverted from a government loan facility on research into the chances of the then governing NDC is completely untrue.”

Read below full statement:
STATEMENT BY MR ROJO METTLE-NUNOO ON ALLEGATION OF DIVERSION OF PROJECT FUNDS
My attention has been drawn to a broadcast by Joy FM in Accra on the above subject matter.
I wish to state for the avoidance of doubt that the suggestion in the Joy FM broadcast that funds diverted from a government loan facility on research into the chances of the then governing NDC is completely untrue.
Sometime in 2010, a decision was made to develop seven new district model hospitals at various locations in Ghana to improve access to quality and specialised healthcare.
The scope of the project included scientific operational health research to inform the choice of location, hospital design and
the needed specialised care each facility would provide.
As part of the overall execution of the contract, the main contractor, NMS, had responsibility for selecting a firm to conduct the operational health research.
The selection and justification of the locations of these hospitals required that they were based on scientific medical data, access and prevalence of certain diseases.
The proper procedures were followed through Cabinet and Parliament for the approval of the seven district hospital project to be undertaken by NMS.
The aim of the project was to achieve access for all Ghanaians to healthcare at district level.
To succeed in this broader goal, it was vital to carry out a detailed survey. This had to cover a wide range of searching questions, not just a review of ailments, populations and geography.
It had to obtain a detailed understanding of factors affecting people’s access and attitudes to modern medicine.
The survey was therefore a comprehensive assessment covering sociology, demography, geography, culture, employment, wealth, belief systems, traditional influences, confidence in authority, electricity supplies and media, attitudes to previous outreach programmes and aid and much more.
This was one the largest medical surveys carried out ever in Africa.
Thirty thousand households were interviewed all over the country and the results gave solid data, upon which to structure the correct healthcare into most needy areas.
This information was expected to drive the best use of Ministry of Health resources by building the right establishments, of the right size, in the right place and giving the right capabilities.
The survey drove project architecture of not just the buildings but also content and all the supporting systems.
Part of delivering capability was the need to provide not just a fully equipped hospital but also to support the infrastructure during its nascent years.
Therefore the claim and or suggestion by Joy FM, that the operational health research in question was for political and electioneering purposes and that it was used to assess the chances of President Mahama in the 2016 elections, is baseless and misleading.
ROJO METTLE-NUNOO
Former Deputy Minister of Health.
[15/10/2018]

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