The Northern Regional Health Directorate (NRHD) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in Tamale has been without electricity for the past two weeks, bringing administrative work and other activities to a halt on the premises.
The situation has arisen from the directorate’s inability to purchase prepaid power after it was moved from the postpaid metering system and has to now struggle to raise funds to purchase power for its offices.
The switch from postpaid to prepaid is also part of an ongoing exercise by the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) of the Volta River Authority (VRA), to replace most of the postpaid meters with prepaid ones.
Also, the Daily Graphic gathered that the NRHD has an unpaid electricity bill of GH¢717, 000, so the prepaid meter was installed to prevent the debt from further piling up.
Some members of staff of the NRHD who spoke to the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity, said their offices had been without electricity since October 19, 2019 after it was disconnected by officials of NEDCo who were responsible for electricity supply in the northern sector of the country.
The workers indicated that efforts by management to restore power to the premises had been unsuccessful as NEDCo said the decision to replace the postpaid meters with prepaid ones was a directive from the Ministry of Energy to install prepaid meters in all government buildings.
The unavailability of power is affecting the day-to-day operations of the directorate, particularly with the safe storage of vaccines.
Vaccines for immunisation against yellow fever, which are administered to people who want to travel abroad at the regional health directorate, are being kept in a poor condition due to the absence of electricity and also making it impossible for the vaccination unit to serve the public.
Also, the situation has stalled the processing of clearance letters for employment for nurses who completed their training two years ago as they are due to expire next month, if they are not processed for the beneficiaries.
Again, workers at the directorate who have decided to report for work despite the unbearable warm conditions in their offices, face further inconvenience of not being able to use the toilets in the block because there is no power to pump water into an overhead water tank that serves the washrooms.