The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has started the process to set up a one-stop shop for cancer treatment in Accra.
Consequently, the association has purchased the Ghana-Sweden Medical Centre, which it wants to transform into the best oncology treatment centre in Africa.
GNAT currently funds cancer procedures for over 11,000 of its members and their dependents.
The President of GNAT, Ms Philippa Larsen, who disclosed this at the Jubilee House yesterday, said the association realised that many teachers had cancer and the association decided to make monthly deductions as a pool of resources to cater for them at the Ghana-Sweden Medical Centre.
However, GNAT had to buy the facility when the Swiss pulled out their investments and gave the first right of purchase to the association, since a large number of its members used the services of the centre.
President Akufo-Addo with executives of GNAT after a meeting at the Jubilee House. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
Ms Larsen led executive members of GNAT to the seat of government to invite the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to its 90th anniversary celebration as the guest of honour and asked for government support in the execution of some of their projects.
Should the President make it to the anniversary climax in Kumasi, he will also commission the GNAT Institute for Research and Industrial Relations Studies at Abankro in Ejisu, near Kumasi.
Centre of excellence
She said the association would be procuring equipment, machinery and other devices for the Ghana-Sweden Medical Centre, its medical facility in Accra which it wants to upgrade into a centre of excellence for the treatment of cancers.
Ms Larsen explained that aside from importing the medical equipment, GNAT was also building other facilities, including a four-storey building, part of which would serve as accommodation for patients, to make the centre a one-stop shop for cancer treatment, hence the need for tax waivers for the imported equipment.
She, therefore, appealed to the President to facilitate tax waivers for the imported equipment.
There are about 900,000 members of the association and their dependents across the country.
For his part, President Akufo-Addo described teachers as one of the most important partners of the government in the socio-economic development of the nation.
He said the bedrock of any progressive nation was a good educational system which had teachers as the main stakeholders playing a pivotal role in shaping and guiding the future leaders of the country.
The President said without reliable teachers the children could not be better instructed and reformed, “Ghana is grateful to them for the sacrifice”.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that the government had made huge investments in education from kindergarten to the tertiary levels and that all the initiatives and reforms would not attain the desired results without the cooperation of teachers.
He commended GNAT for their support and cooperation in the last four and a half years of his administration.
“I say this with a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction that teachers as class, as group as a community and as individuals have been very supportive of the work this government had done in the last four and a half years, trying to get ourselves an educational system that is fit for the 21st century,” the President added.
President Akufo-Addo said it was a source great pride for him to have had the cooperation he was enjoying from the teachers in the country.
He said just as with any best of partners there would be disputes, but noted that as a general rule he had been very satisfied about the active support GNAT had given to the programmes of his government.
Touching on the education reform, the President noted that overhauling system and bringing in new ideas was not easy because human beings were always attached to what they had been used to and so changing was not easy.
He indicated that the government had over the last four years exhibited seriousness of purpose in trying to build a robust educational system for the country because they were the prerequisite for building socio-economic transformation that the country yearned for and required the support of teachers in attaining that.
President Akufo-Addo described the purchase of the Sweden-Ghana Medical Centre by GNAT as a courageous and excellent initiative and added that with that kind of undertaking, any well-meaning government should support it.
The President, however, said tax waivers involved the government and Parliament and urged the leadership of GNAT to liaise with the Ministry of Education to engage the Ministry of Finance for the process to commence.