The Minister-designate for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, as indicated his plans to set up a committee to look into issues of land encroachment that is becoming nascent in the health sector.
Addressing the Appointments committee during his vetting on February 10, 2021, the Mr Agyeman-Manu said the problem of land encroachment is one that is a “serious albatross” for him.
He said, for instance, the frontage of Pantang Hospital was someone’s land which had a legal backing, rendering it impossible for the Ministry to claim ownership of it.
“My investigation indicated that the frontage of the health facility [Pantang Hospital] was like somebody’s land. Then I said it can never be true. Kwame Nkrumah, will not establish this place and leave a road in front of the hospital as somebody’s land.”
“So, let us go to the roads ministry and find out the original site plan of Pantang Hospital to see if this part is not a road. Then the court will grant judgement to people and give them title to the land.” He narrated the challenge to the Appointments Committee.
According to him, they are engaging the Ministry of Finance for funds to enable them to do compulsory pitches and pull down properties without legal backing.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu also noted the health sector is not only dealing with issues of land encroachment but the availability of land for expansion of projects.
He said “there are some facilities that when you want to expand, there is no land to do so. we are looking for land to build a facility in Suame, we can not easily get; the facility at Kansawuodo that never saw completion, because of land; Medina, the Ga-East hospital should have been in Medina but we could not get land.”
Considering the situation and its seriousness, he told the Appointment Committee that he intended to set up a committee in the ministry that will look at the issue not only relating to Pantang Hospital but others including Tema, Cape Coast Teaching Hospital and Ankaful Mental Hospital in Cape Coast.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu believes that the responsibility is not to be borne by the Minister alone, but all Ghanaians including Members of Parliament in protecting the lands.
The issue was raised at the back of happenings in the La Nkwantanang District where some members of the district including health care providers issued a two-week ultimatum to the government to stop encroachers from taking their lands.