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$40m Diabetes project ends in catastrophic failure

Source: myjoyonline

A $40million dollar project meant for a major intervention in the treatment and management of Diabetes in Ghana has ended up in a scandal with nothing to show for after 6 years.

The World Diabetes Foundation was shocked to find in 2012 that the funds it has been releasing in tranches since 2009 were not used for the intended purpose of building some health centers.

Head of the National Diabetes Management and Research Center Professor Albert Amoah at a 2012 conference in Arusha, showed pictures of LEKMA hospital as report of progress and won acclaim as an ultra-modern showcase unseen anywhere else in Africa.

Until the President of the National Diabetes Association in Ghana (NDA), Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, drew the attention of the participants to the fact that the pictures displayed are not Diabetes clinics but pre-existing health facilities.

The revelation turned the conference on its head.

It forced the World Diabetes Foundation to commission investigation in Ghana. An emissary sent to Ghana has completed the work and returned.

Findings remain confidential.

Background

According to the National Diabetes Association, Professor Amoah, submitted to World Diabetes Foundation, a project proposal for funding for a major intervention in the treatment and management of Diabetes. After it was accepted, undisclosed tranches were disbursed beginning 2009 and was expected to end in September 2013.

As part of the project, 101 diabetes treatment centers were to be built. Some 6,000 Ghanaians were to be screened to determine their risk factor and some one million diabetes patients were to receive expensive treatments free of charge.

About 450 nurses were to be trained in Ghana to specialize in treating Diabetes patients and about 44 nurses in eye care were to be flown outside the country for specialized training.

According to the National Diabetes Association which represents the World Diabetes Association, there is little evidence that any of these has taken place.

The President of NDA, Mrs Esi Adenyo rubbished reports that some nurses from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Koforidua government hospital, Cape Coast hospital and Ridge hospital were paid to come for training in Accra but never showed up.

In her Association’s own experience of conducting training, participants are never paid before they arrive for the training. If any payment is made it is often transportation and even that, it is given only when they leaving the training.

“Why must monies be sent to nurses to come for training? It is not done.”

According to Elizabeth Denyoh, who is also a Diabetes patient, she still pays for treatment even when she attended a clinic managed by Professor Albert Amoah himself.

She was given a receipt of the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS) suggesting that the facility is owned by the school.

But she suspects the facility belongs to Professor Amoah because the UGMS also runs its own diabetes center in the same Korle-Bu premises where Prof Amoah manages another center.

President Jerry Rawlings and President Kufuor who are said to be patrons of the project have both dissociated themselves from the project explaining that for over six years they have had nothing to do with the project being managed by Professor Amoah.

Adom FM and Peace FM have also denied receiving $1million in advertising as part of Professor Amoah’s project.

Elizabeth Esi Denyoh says it is not tenable the claim that advertising formed $5million of the project.

Professor Amoah has claimed that he returned some of the funds because some crooks were trying to get their hands on the cash.

The Ministry of Health has had three ministers since the supposed Diabetes project began in 2009. The Bureau of National Investigations is said to be looking into the matter.

The World Diabetes Foundation suspended funding.

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