Sanctions await illegal health facilities in Ghana

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The Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HFRA) under the Ministry of Health has disclosed that dozens of health facilities, particularly laboratory and diagnostic centres will be sanctioned for operating illegally.

The said facilities do not meet the basic minimum requirements in terms of equipment and personnel needed to provide quality services to the public. Although the recorded number of health facilities currently operating in the country stands at 26,000, dozens more are not registered, regulated and monitored.

“There are facilities calling themselves hospitals but when we go in according to our minimum expectations, they don’t qualify to be hospitals so they have to be downgraded to clinics. There are also many new facilities, especially laboratory and diagnostic centres, that are not registered and are also not being regulated by anybody so the services are poor,” Mr Mathew Yaw Keremeh, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the HFRA, told Goldstreet Business.

The illegal facilities are now facing closure and their owners would be sanctioned with 10 years of imprisonment or pay a GHS5, 000 penalty or both. But Keremeh has asked the culprits to regularise voluntarily their operations to avoid the sanctions. He said “We are asking them to come and register voluntarily. So we are going to inform them about the law and the sanctions. But if they ignore our efforts and continue to operate illegally, then we have the power to close them down for a period of time until they regularise the situation or close them down permanently if we are not happy with the kind of services they are providing to the public.”

The agency has, however, began a massive registration exercise to improve the trend. “If they are not operating under our licence, then they are operating illegally. Some of them are not even aware of the registration process. We currently have service personnel in all the regions trying to ascertain the exact number of facilities we have,” Kyeremeh noted.

The HFRA, which is mandated to register, inspect, license and monitor public and private health facilities in the country, has served notice to all unregistered health facilities, including clinics, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

Source: Nana Oye Ankrah || golstreetbusiness

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