2 Ministers-designate Vetted

Mr Alexander P. Segbefia answering questions from the committee (7)Parliament yesterday vetted the former Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr. Alex Segbefia, who has been nominated for the position of the Minister of Health by President John Mahama.

When approved by the House, Mr. Segbefia will be the third person to fill the position since 2012, and the seventh in the past six years.

The position has, over the six year period, been handled by senior politicians such as Mr. Alban Bagbin, Majority Leader in Parliament, Dr. Benjamin Kunbour, Minister of Defence, and Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Member of Parliament for Wa West, among others.

The former ministers have grappled with issues such as labour unrests, the threat of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), cholera outbreaks, and challenges in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Mr. Segbefia, who is also a former Deputy Chief of Staff, was quizzed by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on a wide range of issues bordering on his academic background, life experiences, as well as his plans to resolve the numerous challenges confronting the health sector.

He told the committee, chaired by the First Deputy Speaker, Barton Oduro, that when given the nod, he would engage all stakeholders responsible for the management of the health insurance scheme to find lasting solutions to the challenges in the scheme.

“When given the nod, I will engage all the stakeholders to ensure that we take a holistic look at where we are, to be able to know the challenges and find solutions to them,” he said.

According to him, a major challenge confronting the scheme was revenue and stressed the need for the ministry to take a critical look at the revenue stream of the scheme.

Mr. Segbefia said when given the nod, he would, with the help of the managers of the scheme, look for funds to support it to make it more efficient.

On the cholera outbreak, he said he would work with other ministries such as the Local Government and Rural Development, and Education to prevent cholera outbreaks.

“We will work as a team with other ministries. Sanitation is the responsibility of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The Ministry of Education will also need to help in educating people, especially students on the need to keep our environment clean,” he said.

He said during the Ebola outbreak in the West African sub region, people were educated and precautionary measures were taken, and underscored the need to educate people on the need to keep their environments clean.

The minister-designate indicated that under his supervision, hospitals and health centres would be constructed throughout the country, while resourcing existing ones, to ensure easy access to quality healthcare.

He said efforts would be made towards constructing community health centres and district hospitals, and upgrade regional hospitals into teaching hospitals to improve healthcare delivery in the country.

He expressed the government’s commitment to the decentralisation in the health sector, as part of the efforts to bring efficiency and effectiveness in the healthcare delivery in the country.

Mr. Segbefia gave the assurance that state properties would be protected under his watch, and indicated that the incident at the Central Medical Stores would not occur again when given the nod.

He touched on medical negligence in public hospitals and how he would address it, and outlined his plans to resource existing hospitals such as the Tema General Hospital.

The Minister-designate for the Ashanti Region, Peter Anarfi-Mensah, who also appeared before the committee, expressed the commitment to be a father for all in the region when given the opportunity.

He said although the region is known to be a stronghold of the main opposition party, he would collaborate with all the various stakeholders to develop the region.

Mr. Anarfi-Mensah said one of his missions, when given the nod, would be to ensure that chief executives of the various municipal and district assemblies worked together in harmony to ensure a comprehensive development in the region, especially the rural areas.

The minister-designate expressed his commitment to improve education in the Ashanti Region, through the monitoring and evaluation of teachers and other workers in the education sector.

That, he said, would enable him to track the development of education and address problems as they occur.

By Yaw Kyei        

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