By Cecil Mensah
The leadership of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), has called on Ghanaians to join hands in the fight against preventable diseases in the country.
According to the party, the rules, regulations, by-laws and policies needed to address the problems of sanitation are all in place but what has been lacking is the lack of governmental or leadership committment, over politicization of measures, inadequate financial resources, limited
human resources, non-involvement of relevant bodies and institutions and in some cases sheer incompetence have been the bane of myriad of problems in the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra to proffer some solutions for the Cholera epidemic in the country, Mr Felix William Ograh, the party’s Spokesperson on Health said the PPP’s measures come in the wake of the recent cholera outbreak in the country which has claimed about eighty-five (85) lives.
He registered the party’s displeasure at government’s approach in dealing with preventable diseases.
“The PPP doesn’t believe in adhoc measures in dealing with issues concerning health particularly, when it is about preventable diseases,” he stressed.
He attributed the cause of preventable diseases like malaria that has had debilitating effects on the socio-economic development on the country to filth.
Filth alone, according to the PPP’s spokesperson on health, has robbed the nation of significant resources amounting to millions of Ghana Cedis every year in tackling preventable diseases.
That, he noted, has become the bane of the country’s major socio-economic developmental projects.
Lack of aggressiveness and uncompromising attitude coupled with strong will, the PPP said, is the result of the country’s inability to deal with preventable diseases.
Mr. Ograh, who also doubles as the National Treasurer of the party, could not understand why cholera which is highly preventable continued to be one of the fastest killer diseases in the country.
“Cholera is not only a killer, but… also a drain on public purse as well as a disgrace to a country’s image which must be fought aggressively,” he opined.
He bemoaned the approach by President John Dramani Mahama in fighting cholera which included his begging errands to plead with Ghanaians to keep their environments clean.
“We cannot champion ad hoc measures in solving deep-rooted problem…this year, cholera pandemic hit the nation in June and barely three months after its outbreak, have some 9,000 cases been reported with over 85 deaths in some 46 districts already,” Mr.Ograh averred.
Cholera, according to PPP, remains a global threat and one of the key indicators of social development which must be given a national attention.
The party went on to cite countries like the United States of America and Singapore that took bold decision in dealing with preventable diseases, saying “the leaders of those countries knew what they wanted and made it their national priority.”
Apart from the lack of proper sanitation, the PPP intimated that leadership failure was largely the cause of many preventable diseases.
It also laid the blame on over reliance on one-method.
“It is possible to eradicate malaria if only we can get rid of our filth and slums,” Mr. Ograh said.
The approach, he added, should not be an adhoc measure and also not an appeal by government to do a weekly clean-up.
If the approach becomes a lifestyle, he noted, it will be achievable in fighting all preventable diseases.
“What we need is a militant approach, strengthening of institutions and a sense of urgency to combat these diseases,” the spokesperson for PPP on health indicated.
To this end, the PPP preferred solutions that could be adopted by government in its attempt in tackling the problem of preventable diseases.
These, the party said, should include a militant approach to ensure all hands on deck by reintroducing sanitary inspectors popularly, known as “Town Council”; empowering institutions to focus more attention on preventive measures and to develop strategies that would enable the identification of disease-specific endemic communities.
The rest, he said, included paying attention to sustenance of human resource capital within the health sector, improve water supply treatment and increase government budget allocation on research on preventive strategies and methods.
Others included effective leadership through monitoring and supervision, recycling of solid waste and attacking poverty.