Thieves have turned their attention to the Upper East Regional Hospital, targeting motorcycles belonging to staff, patients and visitors on a daily basis.
A multiple-source report, supported by some worried-looking staff at the hospital, indicates that five motorbikes were taken away at the hospital by thieves in the second week of this July alone after their owners had parked them and walked in.
Residents who own motorbikes in the alarmed regional capital, Bolgatanga, are resorting to public transport to visit the hospital- a difficult alternative they look prepared to endure until the targeted yard is safe. On the cold night of Monday, this week, a woman became the latest victim when she came out from the maternity block, where she had paid a visit to a relative in labour, only to find herself in another kind of labour. Some unidentified persons had managed to unlock her motorcycle and made away with it before she came out.
“Just yesterday, they [stole] a woman’s motorbike here; the woman [almost] collapsed. We were eating at the top of our grader when the woman was moving up and down, talking and shouting with her hands on her head, wailing. Then, my friend said it had happened again- they have stolen another motorbike,” narrated one of the manual workers (name withheld for security reasons) contracted for an expansion project at the hospital.
Security men are protecting staff only- public fumes
The hospital has a parking lot which some dissatisfied residents say its security officers have, on the orders of the management, strictly reserved for the hospital’s staff only.
“When you want to park your bike in the parking space, the security men tell you it’s for the staff. And they tell you those who bring motorbikes are parking them on the premises at their own risk. They said that’s what management told them. There was a day they stole three motorbikes here. Just one day alone, three motorbikes,” a teacher, whose child is on admission at the hospital, complained.
The hospital’s Medical Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Atobrah, rebutted the claims, saying the administration never issued the alleged directive to the security officers.
“Because of the ongoing construction, the place has become virtually unstable. So, we are all in motion. For now, the motorbikes are supposed to be parked with the security towards the mortuary near the maternity. That’s more secure. In fact, for the community, somebody had been given the authority to started taking care of the security of the patients’ and visitors’ motorbikes. But because of the construction, he had to abandon it.
“Until they finish [the hospital expansion project], it would be difficult to secure motorbikes. For now, since there is no private security arrangement, the security men can still take care of the motorbikes brought by patients and visitors,” Dr. Atobrah stated with a plea on the Ghana Police Service to intervene.
Residents maintain Claims after Starr News’s Checks
An undercover interaction Starr News had with two of the hospital’s security officers, Thomas Atii at the entrance to the Out-Patient Department (OPD) and one who mentioned his name only as Patrick at the staff-only parking lot near the Maternity Block, revealed the security guards at the facility may have been overwhelmed by an unstructured way of parking at the facility.
Contrary to the claims some residents have made, the two men, stationed at different spots on Tuesday night and probably unaware they were being monitored, took an interest in safeguarding the motorcycles some visitors had brought under their watch.
“The motorbikes can be too many. How can I know who is for which motorbike? That’s is the problem. The thieves come and move everywhere as if they are visitors who have brought motorbikes here. Then, they secretly break the steers. And I believe they also use master keys,” Mr. Atii told Starr News during the undercover interaction Tuesday.
But some people have insisted that the security men keep an eye only on the automobiles that belong to the staff. “They don’t welcome any motorbike if you are not a staff. They only allow you to park it anywhere else on the premises and you can be sure you are doing so at your own risk. Maybe the security men on duty at the time you went there were just the good ones,” a woman maintained after Starr News had visited the hospital.
Police suggest CCTV camera installations at hospital
Meanwhile, police have advised the management of the hospital to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to help deal with the every-day robbery incidents at the facility.
“This morning, I was there (the hospital) with my team of investigators. We called on the administrator. As we speak, we are all coming out with modalities to at least reduce that crime at that place. We even suggested to the administration that if they can get some gadgets, some CCTV cameras, around. That would also serve as a deterrent to the criminals and to serve as a clue to us if any crime is committed at the hospital. We discussed a lot. We are going to put a lot in place to reduce crime there.
“As I speak, we have policemen there to always go there to make sure that they protect life and property. My advice is that those who park motorbikes should always be security-conscious. I’m even told by the administrator that there is a private company that is coming on board to assist them have that thing done. They will be having a yard. Whoever comes to the hospital would go and park the motorbike there and they will take care of it. For fee, I can’t tell. But the idea is so laudable. The hospital is one of the hotspots we have identified,” disclosed a senior police officer who did not want his name mentioned.
Published on 26 July 2017 | 12:00 pm at Source