President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reaffirmed government’s commitment to the implementation of ‘Agenda 88’, which is the building within a year, a fully-equipped, functional district hospital for 88 districts without such facilities.

Government, he added, will also build a fully-equipped, functional regional hospital for each of the new regions.

President Akufo-Addo, who announced this last Sunday, explained that the Agenda 88 included the construction of a new regional hospital for the Western Region, and the rehabilitation of Effia Nkwanta Hospital in Sekondi.

On April 26, 2020, the President in his national address to update citizens on COVID-19, first announced the Agenda to construct a 100-bed health facility in each of the districts without hospitals, to help in the management of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

The project, set to begin this year, would also include accommodation for staff.

In his Sunday, May 31 national broadcast to update the nation on the enhanced response to COVID-19, the President said, “We have learnt many lessons from this pandemic. The most obvious is that we have to fortify urgently our public health system.

“We have to empower and increase the number of our healthcare professionals across board.

“Universal Health Coverage must become reality for all Ghanaians, not a slogan, for every Ghanaian deserves good health and good healthcare.” 

Speaking on the cases of comorbidity or underlying health conditions in the Covid-19 related deaths, President Akufo-Addo said in the Ghanaian context, it had been established that diabetes and hypertension were related to almost all of them.

The risk factors for these diseases, he said, were being overweight, eating refined foods, too much salt and sugar in meals, inadequate physical exercise, excessive alcohol intake, and smoking.

“It is, thus, crucial that we improve our fitness levels, and adopt healthy eating practices that incorporate our local food stuffs, which boost our immune systems. Persons with these diseases must take extra precautions, and take their treatment seriously,” he advised.

President Akufo-Addo, after having announcing the easing of some of the COVID-19 management restrictions, including the ban on communal religious services, encouraged all members of the public to strictly adhere to the enhanced personal hygiene and social distancing protocols – wash their hands with soap under running water, refrain from shaking hands, and wear face masks whenever leaving home.

He also entreated all religious, traditional, community and opinion leaders to continue to partner with the government in engaging, mobilising and enforcing adherence to social distancing and personal hygiene practices in their respective communities.

The media, the Ministry of Information and National Commission on Civic Education were also to strengthen their education programmes to promote compliance.

The total Covid-19 case count is now 8,070, with 36 deaths.

In his update on the disease, the President elaborated, saying, “Fellow Ghanaians, as at today, Sunday, 31st May, under these measures, we have conducted two hundred and eighteen thousand, four hundred and twenty-five (218,425) tests; the number of positive cases stands at eight thousand and seventy (8,070); two thousand, nine hundred and forty-seven (2,947) persons have recovered; thirty-six (36) have sadly died; thirteen (13) persons are severely ill, with three (3) critically-ill for which (1) is on a ventilator; and five thousand and eighty-seven are responding to treatment at home, isolation centres and hospitals”.