21.04.2005 Regional News

Shocking revelations at Ejura People’s Assembly

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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No money for maternity care ... Despite government directive Ejura-Ash -- A PEOPLE'S Assembly held last Thursday has brought to the fore a number of problems facingthe constituents in the Ejura-Sekyedumase district.

While the local secondary school, established in 1993, has no reliable means of transport, the local hospital has no mortuary, and the implementation of maternity care for pregnant women, following agovernment directive, has unduly delayed.

The Fire Station of 10 years also has no fire tender, even though fire outbreak is rampant in the area.

The Ejura District Hospital, like any other hospital in the country, cannot implement government's directive to offer free maternity care to expectant mothers.

Funds have not been released for that purpose even though the Ministry of Finance (MOF) had informed management of various hospitals of the allocation of certain amounts of money for the commencement of the service.

Since January, this year, the MoF had informed the hospital that an initial sum of ¢108 million had been released to the Ejura hospital. Four months on, the said ¢108 million is yet to reach the hospital.

Mr. Owusu Ansah, the district pharmacist, explaining a point to Mr. Anthony Owusu Ansah, a pensioner, who raised the issue of maternity care on behalf his wife, said the hospital could not operate the free maternity care system because he was yet to receive the money and the hospital was still awaiting directives on the implementation of the service.

The facility was available in four regions on pilot basis until this year when the government reportedly extended it to all regions.

Consequently, about ¢108 million was allocated to the Ejura hospital, but the MoF has not released the funds to that effect.

In response to some of the problems raised at the forum, the Ejura Sekyedumase District Assembly intends to support a proposed District National Service Transit quarters.

Dr. Joshua Ayarkwa, Presiding Member of the assembly, disclosed that the assembly would provide for the project in this year's budgetary allocations.

According to him, about 50 national service personnel posted to the district were facing acute accommodation problem.

The presiding member was reacting to a concern raised by Mr. Godwin Atsutsebi, a national service person, regarding the insensitivity of authorities to the plight of service personnel in the area.

The complainant had expressed his doubts, saying if the government benefited from them, why (government) did it not do anything to improve upon the welfare at the local level, let alone dissolve the service if they were of very little significance to the system?

Upon the complaint by Mr. Solomon Djan, assistant secretary to the Ejura Traditional Council (ETC), that the Ejura District hospital had no mortuary, to the disadvantage of the people, Mr. Owusu Ansah said his outfit was conscious of the lack of the facility and was therefore negotiating with the ETC and the District Assembly to establish one there soon.

He said proposals had been submitted to the assembly, for which drawings were being prepared. The pharmacist suggested that the project be jointly funded by the assembly and the Ministry of Health (MoH) on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis to generate enough funds for the hospital's operation.

Osofo Adu Appiah, a representative of the Local Council of Churches, called for the support of the assembly for the construction of a children's ward at the District Hospital, for which project the churches have already raised ¢4 million.

Nana Oti Boakye II complained of the absence of a fire tender at the local fire station established 10 years ago, while Mr. Edward Awiaga, a teacher of the Ejuraman Secondary School, drew the attention of the government to that fact that though the school had been upgraded to a model school, it was not benefiting from facilities befitting its status.

According to Teacher Awiaga, the consultant had informed him that only the administration block would be renovated.

His worry was that all model schools would receive the same quota for reconstruction works, contrary to information made available to him.

He complained also that the school, established in 1993, is yet to take delivery of its Science Resource bus and said the only means of transport currently was an old, rickety pick-up vehicle.

Mr. Joe Ofori Appiah, a farmer, also brought the Ejura-Oku road to the attention of the forum, strongly protesting against the much- touted publicity that the road project had been completed and commissioned. To this, the district engineer explained that the contractor had presented two certificates since the ¢1.6 billion project was awarded to him.

The District Chief Executive, Madam Elizabeth Owusu, said the contract was awarded in Kumasi and she did not even the know the contractor.

Mrs. Cecilia Dapaah, Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, who facilitated the forum, recommended the immediate withdrawal of the contract from the contractor since the delay affected the interests of the people.

She promised to personally make enquiries regarding the delay in the release of funds for the maternity care of pregnant women.

Meanwhile, Mr. Joseph Antwi, a resident of the Ahenboboanu electoral area at Ejura, has accused four officials (names withheld) of the Forestry Commission of abetting the illegal depletion of forest resources in the area.

According to him, the activities of the said Forestry personnel were affecting the afforestation programme.

The allegation was to be investigated and a report submitted to the District Assembly for necessary action.

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Opening the forum earlier, the DCE noted that the "People's Assembly" had rightly become a very important tradition in Ghana's young democracy, as the government and the people were engaged in open interaction to share ideas on issues bordering on the development of the nation.

She said the institution of the forum had afforded a cross section of the citizens the opportunity to air their grievances while at the same time giving the government the opportunity to feel the pulse of the populace and thereby assess directly the mood of the people on its policies and programmes.

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