Student arrested for holding ‘Open UGMC now’ placard at event

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The Korle Bu Police arrested and detained a pharmacy student of the University of Ghana for protesting at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of a pediatric intensive care unit by the First lady’s foundation.

The student, Reginalds Sekyi-Brown who has for sometime now been leading a campaign for the immediate opening of the centre was arrested after he held a placard with the inscription “Open UGMC now” at the event.

The Accra Regional Police Command PRO, Efia Tenge confirmed Reginalds’ arrest on Eyewitness News, saying “the Police interrogated him to find out who he was, what he was holding and whether he had any ulterior motives.”

“We don’t need to see a person physically with a weapon before we whisk them away,” she added.

Efia Tenge

Reginalds had earlier narrated circumstances leading to his arrest, saying “When I was brought here [Korle Bu Police station], I was told to write a statement and what they intimated when I was being brought here was that I disrupted the programme.

“There was a tall lanky woman who said the bag I was holding might contain certain dangerous equipment and that they should bring it to the station to verify what I might have in the bag. When she made that statement, I stated that if she is accusing me of carrying such dangerous materials, the burden of proof lies on her and my bag is right before them, they can search it.I have my laptop, I have my ipad, I have iphone and my charger , those were the items in my bag and if that is what we call harmful in Ghana then that is unfortunate,” he added.

Ghanaians start ‘Open UGMC’ campaign

A few weeks ago, some Ghanaians signed an online petition as part of a social media campaign to push the government to operationalize the 597-bed capacity University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC).

The campaign was led by Reginalds who argued that the hospital cannot continue to be ‘worshipped’ when the country’s health system is saddled among other challenges with only 55- functioning ambulances.

511 days after the first phase of the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC) was commissioned by former President John Mahama, the government is yet to open the facility to the public, citing technical reasons.

Citi News gathered that the facility which was scheduled to be opened in November 2017, was kept locked to the public due to a tussle between the Minister of Health and the University of Ghana over who manages the $217 million facility.

After stating various reasons why the facility cannot be opened now and having all deadlines set to operationalize the facility expired, the facility is yet to be opened.

The last public comment about the state of the hospital was by the Minister of Health, Kweku Agyemang Manu in April.

While addressing stakeholders and practitioners in health during the 2018 Health Summit in Accra, he said the UGMC could not be opened due to uncertainties over the source of power supply.

“You cannot run MRI and imaging equipment on the national grid, the back-up generator is not there yet, so should we should operationalize and spoil the equipment?” he said. “You cannot run MRI and imaging equipment on the national grid, the back-up generator is not there yet, so should we should operationalize and spoil the equipment?” he said.

It is unclear if the Minister was referring to a dedicated sub-station in that address as there are already two giant standby generators installed at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister in insisting that the ultra-modern medical facility is not completed said, “And those who claim the place is completed, I am the Minister and I want to tell the Ghanaian population that the place is not completed.”

But the campaigners for the facility argued that the government could get the facility running if it prioritized it.

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