The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Thursday called on the Government urgently release funds to state organisations concerned with health, to stem the tide of the recent outbreak of cholera.
“Mr President, it is said that “a stitch in time saves nine.” In the context, releasing allocated funds would have prevented the cholera outbreak.... As a country, we should learn to do what is right at the right time to avoid calamities.”
The NPP made the call a press conference on the current outbreak of cholera and the Ebola scare, at the Parliament House in Accra.
Mr Collins Augustine Ntim, Deputy Minority Spokesperson on Health, adressed the conference.
He said a multi-faceted, multi sectoral approach, involving a mass educational programmes on preventive measure, the provision of relevant logistics were needed to deal with persons and settlements affected with the disease.
“Above all, Central Government should release the Common Fund to the Assemblies in order for them to be able to perform their traditional functions including in particular, sanitation and sanitation related functions, “Mr Ntim said.
Flanked by the Minority Leader Mr Osei Kyei Mensa Bonsu and some NPP Members of Parliament Mr Ntim observed that health shocks impact negatively on individuals and households, and the cholera outbreak should therefore be concern for all.
“Hence the sudden upsurge of cholera with its sporadic distribution pattern in the mainly poor areas of our communities should agitate all well-meaning Ghanaians.
“... What is even more worrying is the apparent slowness in the national response which has led to an extensive and escalated level of infections of the disease virtually on daily basis,” Mr said.
With reference to data from the Ministry of Health, Mr Ntim recalled that the first outbreak of cholera was in 1971 and since then a focal outbreak had been between four to six years.
He noted however that in recent years the outbreak had become more frequent and protracted due to poor management of the environment and the economy, coupled with poor sanitation as well as poor water supply systems and poor management of waste for which he held the ruling National Democratic Congress ( NDC) responsible.
The Minority blamed current outbreak of cholera in seven out the ten regions of Ghana on lack of commitment on the part of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to enforce strict sanitation measures.
“It is sad to state that solid waste has piled up at all refuse disposal points in all the cities and urbanities because the NDC government has been defaulting in the release of Common Fund to the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
The Minority observed that funds for the first and second quarters have been in arrears.
As a matter of urgency, the Minority asserts, government must release the funds “to enable [MMDAs] to deal with their normal operations which include refuse collection and disposal”.
Mr Ntim re-echoed campaign promises of the NDC in 2008 and 2012 to rid the country of filth, which has been a major source of the pandemic.
“It is important to remind President John Dramani Mahama’s NDC government that in their 2008 manifesto they boldly declared that within their first one hundred days in office, they would ‘take bold and comprehensive measures to deal with appalling filth in our communities, and the related health problems of our people caused by inadequate, inappropriate and ineffective waste management systems and practices.’”
The current outbreak of cholera since July has led to the loss of over 100 lives in over 12,000 recorded cases.
Greater Accra Region has been the hardest hit with President Mahama last week joining the people in the Odododiodio Constituency on a clean-up exercise.
The Minority claims that inasmuch as the problem calls for national solution, government should provide the “necessary logistics” for traditional actors in the industry.
“It should be a strategic imperative of government to combat the cholera menace in order to liberate the people to contribute their quota to national development.”
On the Ebola threat, the NPP expressed worry that the health system in the “country is not adequately prepared in terms of logistics in the unfortunate event that it affects any Ghanaian.”
“It is for this reason that we fervently appeal for a far higher pitched national response to the Ebola on the agenda of Government and the Ministry responsible for Health which should engender, a properly co-ordinated and synchronised public education.
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