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16.11.2004 Health

Parties discuss health programmes with media

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Accra, Nov. 16, GNA - The Convention Peoples Party (CPP) on Tuesday said when elected to power, it would engage the services of non-medical individuals to treat common ailments within the communities in order to take pressure off health professionals at the public health facilities. According to Dr Asuah-Kwasi, CPP Spokesperson on Health, as a first step towards tackling the long winding queues in hospitals, his party would train individuals such as teachers to administer drugs to treat common malaria, an endemic condition in the communities, as a short term measure.

He said in the long-term, the CPP would deal with the problem of mass exodus of health professionals.

Dr Asuah-Kwasi was answering questions at a weekly media and political parties dialogue programme, organised by the Ghana Journalists Association in Accra.

The programme, organised with support from the US Embassy, is under the broad theme: "the case for manifestoes", serves as a platform for political parties to interact with the media and dialogue on various areas covered in their manifestoes.

The CPP said it would also focus on providing a comprehensive health care programme for the disabled and improve upon traditional medical practice.

Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health, who represented the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the government is concerned with accident and emergency health care and that within the next couple of months 60 vehicles would be made available to support the national ambulance service.

He said the NPP would review its drugs programmes and grant tax exemption for some drugs for the treatment of diseases of public health significance such as hypertension and diabetes.

The Minister said although "cash and carry" was still in place, government would soon come out with a statement on the national health insurance scheme and the question of paying upfront at the point of service delivery.

He said government had improved upon the budgetary allocation to the health sector, adding that the sector now receives 12.8 per cent of the total national budget, very close to the 15 per cent intended by the African Union.

The Minister mentioned human resource development and accessibility of health facilities as some of the areas the government would be looking at in the future.

Mr Haruna Idrisu, NDC Youth Organiser, mentioned the strengthening of primary health care, human resource development and the development of health infrastructure as major areas of activity for the attention of his Party.

He said some health facilities, including the Effia Nkwanta Hospital would be upgraded into a teaching hospital.

Mr Idrisu said the NDC believed that health personnel should be taken off the universal salary scale and given a comprehensive financial package to help solve the brain drain. 16 Nov 04

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