The Ministry of Health (MoH) has justified the purported demolition of the 45-year-old Maternity and Children’s Block project of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi.
A Director of Infrastructure of the Ministry, Mr. Benjamin Ampomah Nkansah, said at a media briefing last Thursday on the current state of the project, that it had failed the Structure Integrity Test and that reconstruction is the way to go.
He said the reconstruction would meet the needs of KATH and value for money.
According to him, the decision followed independent engineering advice after a series of stakeholders meetings.
Mr. Ampomah Nkansah emphasised that reinforcement of the project would not make any economic sense, let alone, give value for money. He explained further that the Structural Integrity Testing had added to the project cost, hence, the reduction in the capacity of the new proposed hospital from 750 beds capacity to 500 using the same funding which has already been secured and available.
Mr. Richard Vanderpuye, Head of Architecture and Engineering, Infrastructure Director of MoH, stated that findings of investigations revealed that after sitting at the mercy of the weather for all these years, there were two options to consider – to either reinforce at a huge cost or demolish the building for value for money.
He said following recommendations by Messrs Crown Agent UK, which performed the Value for Money Audit of the project, the contractor and employees would be exposed to major risks.
According to him, repairing would lead the government to run into greater risk, as intensive investigations revealed a number of structural defects, and that the building could fall on its weight if left alone from weak foundations and corrosion of metal rods.
He said the reports also indicated that the project was not strong enough to hold its own weight and additional weights, and, therefore, far from standards and its lifespan could not be guaranteed in the next 15 years.
Meanwhile, the contractor, CONTRACTA-UK, has come up with a new design for the construction of a 500-bed capacity hospital to replace the obsolete project at the same cost over the next three years.
The reconstruction of the project has since begun along with the gradual demolition process to be done in line with acceptable protocols.
The Chief Executive Officer of KATH, Dr. Oheneba Owusu-Danso, has said as a result of the independently verifiable engineering facts, coupled with evidence, assurances and guarantees the management has endorsed the new direction for the projects and supports its execution for the benefit of the long suffering people of the region.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, admitted that the reconstruction option was prudent, because the projects were to benefit the people and not to kill them.
He suggested that ongoing reconstruction of health facilities should consider vertical growth development to maximise space.