At least since John Agyekum Kufuor became president in 2001 up until now, there have been several healthcare interventions and the establishment of many healthcare facilities in the country, with a good attempt at ensuring an even distribution of same.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which is today, one of the biggest interventions of any government since the start of this Millennium, was engineered under the Kufuor Administration.
Under John Evans Atta Mills, and just like other presidents would do, he continued and initiated quite a number of projects in the health sector, and then it was taken over by his vice president, John Dramani Mahama.
The former president, Mahama, is credited for the renovation and the upgrading of such health facilities as the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (Ridge Hospital), the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC), the Shai Osudoku Hospital, among other regional hospitals.
Ghana’s current president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has declared a bold plan to build 111 hospitals across districts of the country.
The Agenda 111 project, although hasn’t seen much activity besides the many promises of the government, remains the biggest step this administration has taken to make better the healthcare sector of the country.
With all of these interventions, however, there seems to be some irony, especially because historically, hardly does any of our leaders – the very same people who established these healthcare facilities, use these facilities when the need arises.
In this GhanaWeb listicle, we bring you the names of the ‘big men’ and ‘big women’ who have recently been out of the country on medical grounds, on the ticket of the taxpayer.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia
In 2018, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia left the shores of Ghana to the United Kingdom on medical leave.
A statement signed by the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare said that Dr. Bawumia had to take the trip on advice of his doctors and was accompanied by Second Lady, Samira Bawumia.
The Presidency had promised to be forthcoming with medical information after it broke the news about Bawumia’s medical status.
Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin
In the most recent case, the Speaker of Parliament left the country for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for a routine medical check-up.
The Daily Guide reported that, on that trip, Alban Bagbin will spend a whopping $600,000 but soon thereafter, pulled down the story.
On behalf of the Speaker and based on the several commentaries that have been made about his healthcare, the counsel for Alban Bagbin, Magnus Kofi Amoatey, called for people to stop dragging politics into the matter.
In a statement, he explained that the circumstances under which Alban Bagbin recently travelled to seek medical care in Dubai were only part of the privileges of the Office.
“The office will advise that the health issues of the Speaker and that of other office bearers are not politicized as anybody could be taken ill at any time. It is an undeniable fact that the Membership of the House is one whole group, with a common agenda and destiny,” the statement said.
Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta
On February 14, this year, the Ministry of Finance announced that the sector minister was travelling to France for a “special medical review.”
After recovering from Covid-19 last December, Mr. Ofori-Atta has had medical complications which doctors advise, require further interventions not currently available in Ghana.
The statement said that he was expected to be away for two weeks.
Ken Ofori-Atta was, at the time, scheduled to appear before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Tuesday, 16th February 2021.
The leadership of Parliament was duly notified for a new date to be fixed upon his return
Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong
Although there was no official statement to this effect, rumours were rife that the outspoken MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, had taken ill and had left the country to seek medical care.
The Assin Central Member of Parliament had been reported to have been struck by an ailment that has rendered him indisposed as he reportedly underwent treatment in the United States of America.
Kennedy Agyapong’s absence on media platforms and continued stay in the United States birthed reports of ill-health with some going as far as alleging that he was down with stroke.
His failure to show up in Parliament after the house resumed has added to the speculations over his prolonged stay in the United States.
However, before long, pictures and a video of Kennedy Agyapong engaging with some Ghanaians in the United States popped up on social media.
A source close to the business mogul told GhanaWeb that the materials were recent pictures and videos of the MP but the source denied reports that he was down with a stroke.
According to the source, Kennedy Agyapong went for a routine medical check in the US and had been engaged in other important assignments.