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19.02.2009 Health

Malaria elimination is dear to my heart -Sipa Yankey

By Stephen Odoi-Larbi - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Minister designate for Health, Dr. George Sipa Yankey has indicated that one of his priorities when given the nod to become a Minister would be the elimination of malaria in the country, which is weighing heavily on the economy.

“Mr. Chairman, malaria elimination is very dear to my heart since it constitutes a heavy burden on the economy”, he noted.

Mr. Yankey made this remark when he appeared before the Appointments Committee for public hearing in Accra, yesterday.

To this realisation, the Minister designate intends to develop a nationwide malaria elimination programme with the assistance from all stakeholders in the health sector to help address the issue.

He said after achieving his dream of eliminating malaria in the country, he would liaise with our neighbouring countries to eradicate the menace from the sub-region.

The issue of malaria has of late become a very topical since most parts of the country have been engulfed with filth, a situation many have craved for the re-introduction of sanitary health guards to help deal with the situation.

To that effect, Mr. Yankey solidly threw his weight behind the idea and called for all hands on deck in ensuring the good sanitary practice in our various localities.

He also promised a holistic approach to guinea worm eradication to enable the country be a better place to live. He commended the previous government for its achievements made in reducing the level of guinea worm in the country.

Touching on rural/urban health facilities in the country, Mr. Yankey promised to extend quality medical care to all deprived areas that lack the facility to ensure that every Ghanaian enjoy good health.

He promised Ghanaians about improving on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) by ensuring that the portability of the Scheme is proactive and also to ensure a universal premium for the payment of the Scheme.

This, he said would ensure that all card bearing members enjoy quality medical health care wherever one finds himself or herself.

Mr. Sepa Yankey also promised to build on the past government's achievements in the health sector by extending medical health facilities to the newly created districts in the country.

He also promised to take inventory of all medical facilities in the country to acquaint himself with the situation on the ground, and where necessary renovate all decrepit facilities and structures to improve on health delivery.

The Minister designate, however, promised Ghanaians that he would look into the conditions of service of medical practitioners and avert the brain drain syndrome that the health sector was battling with.

“We are going to take a holistic approach covering salaries, accommodation and other benefits to make the environment very conducive to help them stay”, he added.

Touching on the issue of herbal/modern medicine in the country, Mr. Yankey promised to integrate the two, saying “herbal medicine is very good except that we need to introduce scientific approach into it, in order to benefit the people”.

When asked about his view on causing financial loss to the state, whether it should stay or not, Mr. Sepa Yankey declined to comment on it.