31.05.2005 Regional News

MP signals dangers of tobacco smoke

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Accra, May 31, GNA - Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, NDC Member of Parliament for Ho-East, on Tuesday called on the Government, District Assemblies, Churches and other agencies to team up with the Ministry of Information to raise public awareness on the dangers and hazards of tobacco smoking.

She suggested that the Ministry of Education and Sports should strengthen the counselling units in the schools to enable them to play their role in ensuring that the youth received the needed guidance on the harmful effects of smoking.

The Member, in a statement in Parliament to mark this year's "World No Tobacco Day", which falls on May 31, said despite the fact that governments had "attempted to introduce some control measures against smoking, tobacco industries always say the states will lose revenue in terms of taxes, if these control measures are introduced. "They also argue that jobs will be lost and if that happens it will create a social problem," the MP said and touched on some health hazards such as heart diseases associated with tobacco smoking. Mr Kofi Frimpong, NPP Kwabre East, in his contributions said what was worrying was the effect on passive smokers.

Namoale Nii Amasah, NDC-Dadekotopon, praised previous governments for banning tobacco adverts on television screens and urged the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Governments to go a step further in banning such adverts on giant billboards around town.

Mr Kwadjo Opare-Hammond, NPP-Adenta, urged Members of Parliament, who smoked in public to put a stop to it, since they were role models for the youth and needed to set good example.

Earlier, Dr Gladys Ashitey, Deputy Minister of Health, told Parliament that what was needed to change the status of the Tamale Regional Hospital to a Teaching Hospital was to upgrade it to a level that would facilitate teaching.

She said it was not necessary for the Ministry to send a bill to Parliament to change the status of the Hospital. The Deputy Minister was responding to a question from Mr Joseph Labik, the Independent Member of Parliament for Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo, who had sought to find out when a bill would be presented to the House to change the status of the Tamale Regional Hospital to a teaching hospital.

Dr Ashitey said the Ministry had since 2003, been implementing a programme to upgrade the Hospital into a teaching facility and had started with minor rehabilitation to arrest deterioration and to make the Hospital functional.

She said under a Phase Two the programme, scheduled to take off in July this year and last for three years, major rehabilitation of physical facilities, upgrading of existing facilities and the provision of new equipment for specialised services would take place. The Deputy Minister said the Phase Two would cost around 50 million euros but could only start on schedule when funds were made available. 31 May 05

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