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28.05.2004 Regional News

Minister asks district assemblies to coordinate development planning

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Tamale, May 28, GNA - Mr Ernest Debrah, Northern Regional Minister, has bemoaned the lack of effective coordination among District Assemblies, the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and their partners in the development planning of the region.

He said the lack of coordination had often led to duplication in the execution of development projects in some communities, a situation he described as "a waste of effort and resources".

Mr Debrah was addressing the opening session of a two-day regional review workshop on development planning, organised by the RCC in collaboration with its development partners in Tamale on Thursday. Representatives of the District assemblies in the region and their partners, including ActionAid Ghana, United Nations Children's Fund, Oxfam, United States Agency for International Development and European Union are attending the workshop.

Mr Debrah was particularly not happy about the tendency of some District Assemblies and government departments to carry out projects and programmes in their districts without the knowledge of the RCC.

Mr Debrah said as a result of the lack of coordination, most of the interventions by the development partners did not feature in the medium-term development plans of the Assemblies.

He proposed the setting up of a common development plan for all the districts and their partners to ensure that programmes and projects that were not embodied in the plan would not be executed outside it. He said such a plan would enable the districts to develop mutually acceptable development parameters, harmonise their activities and also ensure transparency and accountability.

Dr Elias Sory, Regional Director of Health Service, called for effective collaboration between the Assemblies and development partners to combat the spread of guinea worm infestation in the region. He said reported cases of the disease in the region rose from 2,929 in 2001 to 5,999 cases in 2003 and attributed this to the lack of potable drinking water in the rural areas.

He said eight districts in the region were among the top 15 reported cases of guinea worm infestation in the country for 2003. The districts are West Gonja, East Gonja, Nanumba, Tamale, Yendi Gushiegu/Karaga, Zabzugu/Tatale, Savelugu/Nanton and Tolon/Kumbungu. Dr Sory said 580 people tested HIV positive in 2001, 507 in 2002 and 432 in 2003.

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