Collins Ntim

THE NEW Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Offinso North, Collins Ntim has likened President Mahama?s directive to cut 10 percent of salaries of all government appointees to build more Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) centres to playing marbles with the health of the rural people.

?Mr Speaker, I see this so-called intervention of the president as a total lack of

appreciation of the issues of primary and maternal healthcare,? he said.

The NPP MP, who was contributing to the debate on this year?s budget on Thursday, said per his calculations, the total amount that will be realised from such voluntary deductions was GH?960,000, stressing that the amount will definitely have little or no impact on the health of the people in the rural areas where the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has massive support.

According to the MP, when former President Kufuor was confronted with similar problem or challenge, he introduced free maternal and child health programme in

the country under which pregnant women attended hospitals free of charge and children under the age of five also had free medical care which brought significant improvement to maternal health care.

?Mr Speaker in the 2013 budget statement, we were told by the NDC government

that 450 CHPS zones were going to be developed and made functional but in this

year?s budget we have been told that 19 of those promised in 2013 were completed and 25 which had been commenced. This clearly shows the lack of commitment towards the health needs of the vulnerable and the poor in the society,? he indicated.

He said between 2001 and 2008, the previous NPP government introduced a number of interventions to improve access and quality of healthcare delivery to all Ghanaians which include the establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the National Ambulance Service and the promotion of private sector participation in the training of doctors, pharmacist, herbal medical practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and midwives and laboratory personnel.

Hon Ntim said instead of using ad hoc means to solve the health needs of the rural people, the president and his appointees should enjoy their full salaries because the voluntary reduction in salaries will never solve the enormous problems in the health sector.

?Mr speaker, the president must rather take a cue from Lee Kuan Yuw, a former

president of Singapore who paid their ministers very well and bonded them to work hard and deliver on his promises for the people of Singapore, which eventually paid off by creating wealth and the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in Singapore,? the Offinso North MP noted.

BY Thomas Fosu Jnr

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