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Minority ignores Ayawaso West Wuogon MP in Parliament

BY: Mary Mensah
Ms Seyram Lydia Alhassan
Ms Seyram Lydia Alhassan

The Minority Members of Parliament (MPs) on Monday refused to comment on a statement by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, sticking to their decision of not recognising her as legitimate winner of the recent by-election in that constituency.

The NPP MP, Ms Seyram Lydia Alhassan, was delivering her maiden statement on the floor of the House since she was sworn in on February 5, 2019.

It was in commemoration of World Health Day observed every April 7, but the Minority boycotted the event.

Disinterested glances

While Ms Alhassan spoke, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs cast disinterested glances around the chamber.

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Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mohammed turned down the Speaker’s invitation to the Minority caucus to wade into the statement.

“Mr Speaker, you may pass on,” he responded.

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The NDC has said it wants justice for its supporters brutally assaulted during the January 31, 2019 by-election.

The party pulled out of the polls after it said the atmosphere of violence and intimidation was unconducive.

In the election where the NPP was expected to retain the seat, Ms Alhassan eventually polled 68.80 per cent of the valid votes cast.

Her NDC challenger Kwasi Delali Brempong recorded 30.52 per cent.

Universal health care

Speaking on the theme: “Universal Health Care”, Ms Alhassan, who continues the unfinished tenure of the late Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko, drew attention to the need to site healthcare facilities within a citizen’s acceptable distance.

She said Ghanaians should not travel long distances to access basic healthcare services, placing importance on the role of Community-based Health Panning Services (CHPS) in deepening accessibility.

CHPS was introduced in the 1990s as hospitals were sited according to population size. It meant the sick in less dense populations would have to travel distances to get medical help.

Ghana now has at least 6,000 CHPS with some treating about 5,000 patients a year, she said, describing the centres as the most decentralised form of health care.

Cost barriers

The government, Ms Alhassan revealed, was working with the World Bank, the Ghana Health Service and the National Health Insurance Authority to remove cost barriers for those who could not afford the services at CHPS.

The Ayawaso West Wuogon MP pointed out that staffing those centres remained one of the biggest problems but added that the recent clearance for the employment of 53,681 health workers, majority of whom were nurses, had significantly contributed in addressing the staffing challenges.