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NEDCo cuts power to St Anne’s Hospital over GHC4 million debt

NEDCo/Power cut/Debt recovery

The Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) has disconnected parts of the St Anne’s Hospital – formerly West Gonja Municipal Hospital – from the national grid non-payment of debt owed the electricity distributor.

The out-patient department (OPD), administration block and the laboratory have been disconnected. This has affected the effective delivery of medical care to patients.

NEDCo disconnected the entire hospital’s power supply on 4 May. The company restored power to the hospital later after stakeholders in Damongo intervened.

The power distributor urged the hospital to settle its debt by 9 May or face another disconnection.

On Wednesday 17 May, NEDCo cut power supply to part of the health facility for its inability to settle over GHC four million debt.

In an interview with Asaase News in Damongo, the hospital’s nurse manager, Francis Salia, expressed worry about the situation.

He bemoaned that work at the hospital is likely to come to a halt if power is not restored. He stated that without electricity, the affected units cannot function properly.

Salia said, “Now, we only attend to the emergency cases. If the situation continues, our operations may come to a halt.

“Although we have a standby power plant, we cannot use it because of the way NEDCo cut our wires.”

The nurse manager said the hospital’s management has appealed to the power distributor to reconnect it to the national grid. This follows the directive from the Ministry of Health that no health facility should be affected by the mass disconnection exercise.

The Damongo NEDCo is alleged to have said the directive applies to the Electricity Company of Ghana and not to NEDCo.

The hospital is a member of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG). Salia said the government is responsible for the health facility’s electricity ills.

He stated that for some time now, government has not paid the bills leading to the accumulated debt. He is hopeful that the government and NEDCo will have fruitful negotiations to resolve the issue.

The OPD, which used to record not less than 80 patients daily, has seen a decline following the power cut. There was no patient at there at the time of the reporter’s visit to the hospital.

Efforts to get NEDCo’s comments on the situation proved futile.

Reporting by Tahiru Abdul-Washiru in the Savannah Region

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