Editorial: Does the State not care about Pantang Hospital?

The Daily Graphic reported yesterday that there seemed to be no end in sight for illegalities, unruliness and general insecurity on the premises of the Pantang Hospital in the Greater Accra Region.

The health facility, which accommodates nursing and midwifery training institutions, basic schools and other state facilities, according to the report being referenced, has now become a safe haven for criminals and social misfits such as thieves, India hemp smokers and squatters.

On a daily basis, the paper continued, they tramp the 344-acre hospital land in their numbers to unleash mayhem on staff, patients, students and other patrons of the health facility.

“These criminal activities, which sometimes take place under the nose of the law enforcers, include thievery and burglary at gunpoint, destruction of hospital property and prostitution, mainly orchestrated by some squatters who are illegally occupying parts of the hospital land,” the state-owned newspaper reported.

According to the paper, information it had gathered indicated that the hospital management was working closely with the La Nkwantanang-Madina Municipal Assembly (LaNMMA) to clear all illegal structures and criminals from the premises of the facility to bring sanity and order within the hospital community.

It is instructive to note that this is not the first time a newspaper or a media outlet is reporting about the illegal activities on the Pantang Hospital lands. There have been several reports where some families were even claiming portions of the land.

The nurses and the entire staff, at a point in time, claimed their lives were in danger, due to persistent raids by landguards.

Interestingly, this is a hospital that was established as far back as 1975 to provide specialist care for people with mental disorders. With the Psychiatric Hospital in the central business district of Accra virtually hemmed in, as a result of development, the state cannot rely on it for future expansion.

The Pantang Hospital is, therefore, the only alternative available to the state, but as to why the authorities have sat down unconcerned whilst all these developments were going on in the hospital baffles us.

It is like nobody cares about the existence of the facility, but if it is a private property belonging to those who are supposed to be in charge of the state facility, they would have taken the necessary steps to bring the chaotic situation under control by now.

Can we imagine the implications if all the mentally unstable patients we have in the country are allowed to roam our streets without any treatment?

In The Chronicle’s opinion, the state has got all the powers to stop those encroaching on the Pantang Hospital lands, and also sack the miscreants who are tormenting the lives of the staff and patients.

It is, therefore, high time they took such a decision to bring lasting peace to the doctors, nurses and patients who are under constant harassment by the intruders.

The La Nkwantanang-Madina Municipal Assembly is already promising to sack all those who have invaded the land, and we hope they would execute the plan to ensure that all the boundaries of the hospital have been secured.

In the meantime, we suggest that the Ministry of Health, which appears to have reneged on its responsibilities, liaise with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to ensure constant protection for all the workers, visitors and patients patronising the facilities at the hospital.

Col Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, under a military dictatorship, even had the foresight to establish the hospital, but now that we have a democratic government in place, we are neglecting the facility as if it does not provide any essential service – this is too bad!


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