The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament yesterday chastised the government for not putting in enough efforts to fight the current cholera outbreak in the country which has so far infected over 12,622 Ghanaians and killed over 110.
The group said the President should tackle the issue from the root instead of jumping into gutters for political gimmicks.
The Minority, at a press conference, said the government’s failure to release the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) for the operations of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies was the main cause of the cholera outbreak, since ‘MMDAs are starved of funds to clear mounting refuse and improve sanitation in the various districts of the country.’
So far, eight out of the ten regions have recorded cholera cases, with the most affected area being the Greater Accra Region.
The NPP indicated that for the President to ignore his statutory duty of releasing funds for the MMDAs to carry out their traditional functions to ensure good sanitation in the neighbourhoods, and rather descending into filth-filled gutters to clear filth with the intent to solve the sanitation problems in the city, ‘is a clear manifestation of his incompetence and insensitivity to the plight of Ghanaians.’
“Much as we agree with the President that in times of national calamities, he must lead by example, the simple truth is that if the necessary funds and logistics had been provided to the traditional actors in the Local Government and Health Ministries, the cholera outbreak would have been avoided and loss of human lives also avoided,” the Minority deputy ranking member on health, Collins Ntim, underscored at the media briefing.
He indicated that what was required to fight the outbreak was a multifaceted, multi-sectoral approach involving mass educational programmes on preventive measures as well as the provision of logistics to deal with affected people and communities.
He explained that the unfortunate situation is that the cholera outbreak in the cities and towns was affecting slum areas where the level of poverty is high and therefore most affected people are not able to seek health care in time because they don’t have money to do so.
“The recent outbreak has become more frequent and protracted due to poor management of our environment and indeed the economy, coupled with poor sanitation as well as poor water supply systems and poor management of waste by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government,” Mr Collins Ntim said, adding that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had indicated that there is a correlation between health improvement and economic growth and the fact that if there is a decline in economic conditions, the health conditions of the people also suffer a dramatic decline.
Mr Ntim said the NDC in its 2008 and 2012 manifestos, promised Ghanaians that it had a social contract to ensure that Ghanaians live in a healthier environment ‘but the opposite is rather case.’
He also expressed concern about the Ebola disease which is ravaging the West African sub-region.
The Minority said the disease has the potential to wipe out a whole generation and that looking at the rapid rate at which it is spreading in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the government of Ghana ought to be on red alert to avert any calamity, if the disease strikes the country.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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