Don’t dig across roads to fix pipelines- MCE cautions residents

Accra, May 31, GNA – The Municipal Chief Executive of Okaikwei North Municipal Assembly (ONMA) had asked the residents to desist from digging across roads to connect pipelines to their homes. He said anyone who wants to extend water to their homes would need to tap across the roads must consult the Assembly. Mr Laryea said the assembly would not hesitate to arrest anyone who digging across any of the roads under construction to connect any pipeline. The MCE said this during a public engagement at the Gethsemane Presbyterian Church at Achimota, Accra. The public engagement brought together Chiefs, Assembly members, opinion leaders and residents and areas to benefit from the road construction include Achimota, Abofu, Akweteyman and Lapaz New Market. During a tour at Achimota, the GNA saw pipelines in some gutters. In some instances, the pipelines were constructed over drainage. Addressing the gathering, Mr Laryea said the Assembly would be benefitting from a 20-kilometre road construction this year and the two contractors were expected to move to site for work to commence hence the need to engage the public to facilitate the smooth kick start of the project. Mr Laryea explained that before construction begins, the assembly would have to sensitize residents on the need to remove structures that impede work and appealed to the residents to desist from stealing construction materials such as sand, and clippings among others. The MCE was elated that the government agenda of Year of roads had been extended to the assembly adding ‘no Member of Parliament was constructing any road in the various areas.’ The MCE after the community engagement toured some of the areas, where the construction was expected to take place. In a related development Ms Mawufemor Nyonator, an Administrator of National Disaster Management Organsation (NADMO) of the assembly appealed to residents to desist from dumping refuse in gutters. She said the bad practice could result in floods. Ms Nyonator advised residents against practices which could result in fire outbreaks.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Calls for the establishment of PHEF, how accountable can it be?

Accra, May 30, Since the re-emergence of infectious diseases like cholera, polio, and meningitis in the 1970s, Ghana has suffered several outbreaks which have become annual. In recent times, the emergence of communicable diseases of public health concern like Ebola, Murburg Virus, Monkeypox, Lassa fever and COVID-19 has awakened the world to the need to prepare and respond to public health emergencies adequately. The World Health Organisation (WHO) for instance, has entreated African countries to include activities of health emergency preparedness in their national budget and health system financing plans. In Ghana, stakeholders in the health sector and sections of Ghanaians are calling for the establishment of a Public Health Emergency Fund (PHEF) to ensure timely response to outbreaks and other public health emergencies. Public Health experts say, most often, districts and communities in Ghana experience public health emergencies without a warning. The longer it takes to respond to the emergency, the greater the toll on lives, the economy, and the nation. While the health authorities agree to the need to set up a PHEF, issues of accountability and accessibility of the fund have been of concern. The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) says the proposed PHEF must be separated from the Consolidated Fund, controlled by the government to ensure accountability and its availability. To them, the fund must be established in a well-structured manner to ensure transparency and accessibility, stating that the proposed PHEF must be managed by an authority with an oversight responsibility from the government. ‘We have observed clearly that when there is a fund added to the consolidated fund, its uses become much of a problem. If it is in the consolidated fund, it is like free money for the country and becomes difficult to access for its main purpose. Dr Abu Abudu Rahamani, President of GAMLS says the establishment of a Public Health Emergency Fund in Ghana is long overdue, and its urgently needed to ensure that health institutions are well prepared in their response to health emergencies. ‘We need a permanent PHEF because we are all not immune to diseases and this fund must be set up with specific and clearly defined roles to protect us all,’ he said. The President of GAMLS said the proposed PHEF is not expected to be used for routine public health concerns, like malaria cases, typhoid, and HIV, he said as an emergency fund, its usage must be classified under what constitutes a health emergency. He said the WHO is calling for the establishment of a Public Health Emergency Fund in African countries and setting it up in Ghana only means that the nation is doing what is right. Dr Rahamani said when the PHEF is established and well structured, the international community will be willing to invest in or contribute to it. Emergency preparedness according to him means there are logistics, skilled manpower, and health structures that are well-placed. ‘Before an emergency sets in, it is important to prepare before the action,’ he said. Dr Anthony Adofo Ofosu, Deputy Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), who is also a Public Health Physician says the accountability of the PHEF, should not undermine the need to establish the fund, because well-structured funds have processes on access and auditing. He said there are systems of accountability with established funds, and the problem of mismanagement sets in when the funds are ad hoc. The GHS, Deputy Director General said the absence of a dedicated fund for public health emergencies poses threats, especially at the district health directorates which are not well-resourced and struggle to respond to health emergencies. ‘Having a PHEF is not something new, we have done it before, in the era of donor funding, we had it, we called it Donor Pull Fund (DPF) where the donors provided funds basically for public health activities like training, capacity building of health works, supervision and monitoring of disease surveillance and emergencies at the district level,’ he said. Dr Ofosu said funding public health incidents has been a challenge because Ghana always relies on partners for funding when the need arises. He said a dedicated fund for public health emergencies was necessary as the government’s support for public health emergencies had an implication on the overall health sector budget while other services suffer. ‘Now the challenge we have is that the Government of Ghana (GOG) funding for health has gone up and public health activities have been deprived, when surveillance suffers, possibilities of disease outbreaks are high,’ Dr Ofosu said. He called for improved financing of health emergencies at the district level to ensure safer communities for all during outbreaks, stressing that the districts must also have some funding for public health emergencies. Imagine a small community with one Hospital in the Eastern Region is hit by a cholera outbreak, the Hospital overruns with patients, there are not enough medications to administer to patients and the disease begins to spread to all parts of the country with no adequate resources to curb the situation, what will befall the nation? Public health conditions cause a lot of harm to the population and health professionals also risk their lives amidst lots of challenges to help the situation. Ghana may not know when it will be hit by a health emergency and it is in the nation’s best interest to prepare, by establishing a PHEF, making logistics available and improving the capacity of health workers to man all public health emergencies when the need arises.

We are addressing the country’s problems- NPP Youth Wing

Accra, May 31, GNA – The National Youth Wing of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has urged Ghanaians to retain the Party in power come 2024 to complete the numerous ongoing development projects across the country. According to the youth wing, the Party was on course to solving the country’s development challenges and attaining growth. Addressing a news conference in Accra, on Wednesday, dubbed, ‘Truth and Facts Series,’ Mr Salam Mustapha, National Youth Organiser of the NPP, said replacing the Party with a different one in 2024 would stall the growth witnessed by the country under this government in the last seven years. He said the Government, since assuming office in 2017, had undertaken more development projects, including infrastructure than any government under the fourth republic. For instance, the construction of a One District One Factory to produce ethanol, development of major roads all in the Volta Region, were a testament to this fact. In Greater Accra, he indicated that, there had been massive work done on the Ofankor to Nsawam stretch of the dualisation of the Accra-Kumasi Road. The flyover at Spintex to join East Legon to ease traffic on that stretch, construction of various roads at Abomaso, Kpasinkpe, and other districts across the country indicated the work the Government was doing, the Youth Organiser noted. He added that, the Government had, by far, digitalised all sectors of the country than any government, saying several other projects, including the Agenda 111 Hospital project were being built across several districts of the country. ‘The NPP is not claiming to have solved all the problems in this country. But we are on course to do so. Indeed, this government is not made up of saints and angels but human beings who have flaws. ‘But on the balance of any scale, we have performed better. Which do we prefer in this country? A government that is trying to solve our problems, i.e., employment, infrastructure, education, etc. or an opposition party that beats about the bush with no clear policy for this country?’ He quizzed. The periodic forum intends to provide honest and candid information to young Ghanaians about the work of the Government. Mr Mustapha said the Government recognised the economic difficulties facing the country, adding that it was committed to addressing them. Current world economy was in turmoil, while every country was experiencing significant inflation, leading to an increase in the cost of living and its attendant difficulties. ‘We have seen serious economic crises in Europe and even America for the first time in many years. ‘In Africa, the story is similar to 29 African countries, currently before the IMF, negotiating for one programme or the other,’ he added. The National Youth Organiser also entreated the youth to join the NPP, noting that, it was the only Party which had the welfare of the youth at heart. He said the NPP government, since its first government under President Kufuor, remained the only one to continuously introduce pro-youth policies like the YEA of today, Ghana Cares Obaatanpa programme, YouStart and the Presidential Pitch Programme under NEIP. He added that, unlike the National Democratic Congress, the NPP Government had a clear youth policy that would be continued by any successive NPP Government come 2025. ‘So far, I can confidently say no government in the history of this country can match the record of this government led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo which has created over 2 million jobs and counting in just 7 years. ‘Mr Mustapha said. ‘These employment figures and key policies prove the point that the NPP as a party and in Government is heavily pro-youth. ‘It is the party that has a track record of working for the youth,’ he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency