General News of Thursday, 10 August 2017
Prof. Nick Ossei-Gerning, a consultant interventional cardiologist at the University Hospital of Wales in the UK has expressed disappointment at the nonchalant attitude Ghanaians have towards sanitation.
Speaking during a Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) training programme in Accra, Prof. Ossei-Gerning said he felt some sense of anger when he saw people, especially the youth, sitting in filth and showing no sign of concern.
“I went to visit my mum here in Ghana and was very annoyed and angry about the fact that the place was so dirty. There were a bunch of young fit men just sitting there. That, ladies and gentlemen, is totally unacceptable. Why is it that we have so many lazy people sitting around our streets doing nothing? I put it to you, this is a failure of leadership,” he said.
He charged Ghanaians to act when they notice something that is detrimental to national development and avoid being angry and doing nothing about the situation.
“We get angry at all sorts of things and then we do nothing. If you get angry, you should do something about it. I got angry, so [I} bought black bags. Because mum is a Queen, I said to her, could you get one of the headmasters to organize some kids, we are going to clean up this place.
“So I bought loads of black bags, I bought loads of drinks and then one fine Saturday morning, got these young kids, they were 13, 14-year-olds and we started going round the streets picking up the mess and then with brooms, sweeping the gutters. I was angry but I was doing something about it,” he mentioned.
He criticized how most Africans have cultivated the habit of neglecting the environment, saying, “what surprises me is that, in Africa, there are people who are happy to sit in Quagmire and mess. I mean, what is that all about? Why a group of young people sit and all around them is a whole load of mess. It makes me absolutely mad, it is unacceptable. And that is why I am excited about you young people on this course because I am looking to you as the future leaders of Africa to change this because it is unacceptable.”
Professor Ossei-Gerning also spoke extensively about the constant neglect of health issues in the continent, mentioning hypertension, cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, erectile dysfunction and diabetes as some common health issues the continent is battling with.
The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) which was birthed by the United States government is a training programme that is targeted at educating and investing in Africa’s future leaders.