TRUE to their words not to associate themselves with anything the Member for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Lydia Seyram Alhassan would do in Parliament, the Minority caucus yesterday refrained from commenting on a statement she made on the floor of the House.
The statement to commemorate this year’s World Health Day was Madam Alhassan’s, maiden contribution in Parliament since she was sworn-in in February, following her victory in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Bi-election.
On the theme “Universal Health Care (UHC)”, the World Health Day was first held in 1948, to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year.
The Minority had vowed not to recognise Madam Alhassan as the legitimate winner of the polls which was held following the demise of Emmanuel Kyeremanteng Agyarko, arguing that, she benefited from the exercise which was marred by violence.
Per the practice in the House, when a statement from either side is made, comments come from both the Majority and Minority caucuses but this was not the case yesterday though it did not breach any procedure.
In her two-page statement, the MP drew attention to the need to site healthcare facilities within citizens’ acceptable distance.
In her view, Ghanaians must not have to travel long distances to access basic healthcare services, highlighting the importance of Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) in deepening accessibility.
Introduced in the 1990’s because hospitals were sited based on population size, Ghana now has at least 6,000 CHPS with some treating about 5,000 patients a year.
Describing the CHPS concept as the most decentralised form of healthcare delivery, Madam Alhassan said, CHPS compounds had come to address the health needs of rural folks.
Government, she revealed, was working with the World Bank, the Ghana Health Service, the National Health Insurance Authority and other relevant stakeholders to remove cost barriers for those who could not afford the services at CHPS compounds.
Staffing the CHPS compounds, the MP noted, remained a challenge government was determined to overcome.
This, she said, was evident in the ongoing recruitment of more than 53,000 nurses and other health professionals to fill vacancies at the county’s health facilities and to enhance the nurse-to-patient ratio.
“Right Honourable Speaker, access to quality and affordable healthcare is a right and not a privilege. Access is a means of creating a strong productive workforce, fit in the body and creative in the mind, well positioned to deliver a vibrant, resilient and progressive society. Mr Speaker, UHC is not just an issue of the health of citizens, it is in fact a matter of the strength of the country, captured in the health of its people anchored in the quality of their thinking”, she stated.
They looked uninterested in the statement while it was being made as they chit-chatted among themselves and when the Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, called for contributions from the Minority, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, the Minority Chief Whip turned down the invitation.
“Mr Speaker, you may pass on”, he responded to the Speaker’s invitation.
The Minority was berated by the public when they displayed placards with the inscription “Bloody Widow” at the swearing-in of Lydia Seyram Alhassan which they boycotted.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI