Sunyani Regional Hospital upgraded to teaching facility
The government has upgraded the Sunyani Regional Hospital to the Sunyani Teaching Hospital (STH) to provide tertiary healthcare delivery and train medical doctors and other health professionals.
This step was taken after Cabinet, at its 45th meeting, approved the memorandum for the conversion of the hospital into a teaching hospital in February 2023.
The 315-bed capacity facility was established in the 1990s and has operated as a regional hospital since 2003.
In a speech read for him at the launch of the STH in Sunyani, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the government was also set to establish a medical school at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR).
He said UENR, the Catholic University, the Sunyani Technical University (STU), and a network of nearby quality hospitals, would all support the new STH to achieve its mandate and potentially become a hub for medical tourism.
He said groundwork had been laid for an influx of medical specialists and other healthcare professionals into the region to improve health outcomes of the establishment of STH.
“We have also laid the groundwork for the further upgrading of infrastructure and the provision of more state-of-the-art medical equipment to serve the region and beyond,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo expressed the hope that the inauguration of the STH would mark the commencement of a journey by the hospital to become a centre of excellence in Ghana and the West Africa sub-region, with high prospects for medical tourism.
“A centre where we can aspire to have services such as kidney transplantation, as has been commenced in the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to help ameliorate the complications of kidney patients,” he said.
He said the conversion would also offer expanded undergraduate and postgraduate training opportunities for doctors and other health professionals in the region and the country at large.
President Akufo-Addo said recognising the need for more tertiary healthcare facilities, the government converted the Ho Regional Hospital and now the Sunyani Regional Hospital into teaching hospitals, to augment the services of other teaching hospitals.
Front view of the Sunyani Teaching Hospital
He charged the Minister of Health to initiate steps toward providing the needed support to the hospital, to empower it to carve out a special niche among teaching hospitals in the country and the West African sub-region.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated his administration’s determination to take audacious steps that would culminate in the improvement of the living conditions of the Ghanaians.
He said his administration had since 2017 steadfastly held the conviction that a nation’s prosperity was intimately tied to the health of its citizenry.
He said that had inspired him to work towards dismantling obstacles to secure quality healthcare, making it universally accessible and affordable in harmony with the objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Three, which is dedicated to ensuring the health and well-being of people of all ages.
“In pursuit of our health agenda, my Administration has worked assiduously to enhance healthcare delivery at the primary and secondary levels, where significant infrastructure and human resources have been deployed, as evidenced by our ambitious Agenda 111 Hospital projects,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said all the hospital projects across the country were at the various stages of completion, especially the ones at Berekum, Jinijini and Dormaa Amasu, all in the region.
He said the progress of work by some contractors was commendable and boosted the chance of having a number of the hospitals completed by the end of this year.
He said the government was also working assiduously to develop a 60-bed capacity infectious disease centre at the STH to bolster the public health capacity to deal with infectious disease outbreaks efficiently and ensure the country was better prepared to respond to future epidemics.
In addition, President Akufo-Addo said the government had completed 19 health facilities in the region and mentioned the 60-bed Tain District Hospital, Benkasa Health Centre and 17 Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPs) compound with staff accommodation.
He said the government had ensured that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) remained viable, explaining that at the end of December 2022, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) had an active membership of 17.2 million, and 17.5 million by the end of the third quarter of 2023.
For his part, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said the ministry had lobbied to secure two renal dialysis for the hospital.
He said the Ghana Health Service (GHS) was set to roll out ‘Networks of Practice’, a transformative model to unify healthcare facilities, optimise their operations and strengthen the primary healthcare system.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the ministry, through the Health Facilities Regulatory Authority (HeFRA), had introduced a new system for categorising health facilities, thereby streamlining operations and enhancing service clarity.
The Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said the GHS would ensure that the facility was equipped with the needed tools and equipment to provide quality healthcare delivery.
“We will not only upgrade it but ensure new services such as newborn care and oxygen plant, among others, are brought here to provide the best of care,” he said.
The Medical Director of the facility, Dr Cardinal Newton, called for the construction of a teaching and learning centre, modern polyclinic and diagnostic centre, expansion of the medical and surgical emergency unit, dialysis and endoscopy centres, staff and students’ accommodation and administration block.
He said the STH would require significant financial and human resources to address its challenges, develop innovative teaching programmes and strengthen research infrastructure.