Minister for Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu

Government has said only Ghanaian construction companies will be awarded contracts to build 88 hospitals in districts across the country.

Delivering the Mid-year Budget Review in Parliament House Thursday, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, said the decision is to show the government’s commitment to building local businesses.

He noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the country’s weak health delivery system, therefore, the urgency to coordinate and deliver a sustainable, long-term response to the health needs of citizens.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, in his eighth address to the nation on Sunday, April 22, announced plans to construct 94 new hospitals across 88 districts and the six newly created regions.

These new health facilities, according to him, are to complement the existing ones and fortify the delivery of health services to individuals with various health challenges.

“There are 88 districts in our country without district hospitals and we have six regions without regional hospitals. We do not have infectious disease control centres dotted across the country and we do not have enough disease testing and isolation centres for diseases like Covid-19,” he said.

The Finance Minister then added that the decision will serve as the foundation for the launch of a nation-wide housing programme, the Akufo-Addo administration will implement in his second term.

Touching on the impact of Covid-19, Mr Ofori-Atta admitted that the disease has affected the country’s economy but was hopeful that his government will bring the nation back to its feet.

“We must not and will not be daunted by this extraordinary crisis. Government will continue to do what it has to do – to protect lives and support livelihoods through compassionate, competent and courageous leadership.

“We have accepted that this pandemic and its effects are unparalleled in the annals of our country, and indeed globally. We have accepted that until a vaccine is found, we have no choice but to re-arrange our lifestyle in order to protect lives and promote livelihoods.

“It requires the marshalling of unprecedented resources to contend with the pandemic and its effects on Ghanaians,” he said.