Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to enable me make my contribution on the motion to thank the President for the State of the Nation Message. Mr. Speaker, I shall do so in three areas -- health, human resource development and youth because a lot of contributions have been made in most of the areas already.
Mr. Speaker, health, indeed, is wealth and if we do not take this seriously the wealth creation policy that is being talked about will elude most of us in this nation. Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the President believes the National Health Insurance Scheme, the registration that is going on massively nationwide, will be the solution to the health problems of the nation. We must not lose sight of other very important factors that will make the nation's health delivery holistic, effective and efficient.
There are several areas that I would like to pinpoint, such as efficient telecom facilities reaching out to the rural areas. I know His Excellency mentioned that ambulance services would be introduced in the regional capitals. For these ambulance services to be effective in the regions, there must be good accessible roads; and this will improve the transportation system before the patient can be reached and brought to the hospital or the clinic.
Obviously, when the patient reaches the clinic or the hospital, there must be dedicated staff at post such as the doctors and the nurses who, as we all know, are going to the diaspora or going outside the country to chase greener pastures.
Mr. Speaker, in the Agenda for Growth
and Prosperity document under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Programme, it is stated that new model health centres would be built in all the districts in the country. Mr. Speaker, I would like to urge the President and the Ministry of Health to take a second look at this decision, especially where they are already fully functional mission health facilities.
Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I believe these missions or religious-based institutions, especially those of the Christian Health Association of Ghana are strategically placed in the remotest parts of the country already. They are established; they are credible; they give efficient and effective health delivery. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, these institutions offer close to 40 per cent of healthcare delivery to Ghana. Comparable to public institutions, they are well known to give efficient services with a human face.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, Govern- ment's allocation of resources, be it human, material or financial, are not shared accordingly; rather, these institutions are seen as competitors, although it is the same Ghanaians that they are treating. Health policies are formulated without their participation. Mr. Speaker, they actually need to be commended for the complementary role they play in the health delivery of Ghana. They should be fully supported, upgraded and designated as the district hospitals to continue to render the quality services that they render to the people in the rural setting already.
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to mention here and congratulate the people of Brong Ahafo because they have seen work of the mission institutions and have designated most of them as district hospitals.
Mr. Speaker, I move on to HIV/AIDS. I
am happy that His Excellency the President touched on the importance of behavioural change in the face of the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS pandemic or infection in the country. What I would like to say here is that we the hon. Members of this House -- and some of my hon. Colleagues have already mentioned it and I also like to reiterate the point -- must be agents of change. Out there, our constituents are looking to us and we must show by our deeds and the way we conduct ourselves for them to emulate. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, this is an awesome challenge to us and we must all rise up to it.
Of course, we women are more vulnerable to this pandemic and our health must be seen in its totality. The drudgery of everyday life of our women, especially those in my constituency -- and I am sure in other constituencies -- leaves much to be desired and far from exciting. This impinges directly on their health. In the face of rising maternal mortality and morbidity, the onus lies on the women and the Ministry of Health to take a special interest in the myriad of health problems of our women -- unsafe abortions, rape, violence against women, et cetera.
In realistically promoting tourism, Mr. Speaker, we must not just be saying that we want Ghana to be the preferred tourist destination in the ECOWAS subregion. We must make special efforts to get rid of common things like mosquitoes, which are anti-tourist, desilt our gutters, improve upon sanitation, have good-drinking water flowing through the taps, weed out the armed robbers and then see to it that our roads are well maintained; especially, I will say, the road leading to the Amedzofe mountain or Amedzofe where we have the highest mountain in Ghana is terrible; and we do have tourists going up there at their own peril.
Mr. Speaker, another area that I would like to touch on briefly is the youth who are, indeed, the future leaders of this nation. Last year, there was no mention of the youth in the State of the Nation Address although there was sub-heading under youth and sports. I am glad to see it in this year's Address. They need our guidance and counselling against the indiscipline, the indecent dressing, the indulgence in vices such as alcohol, drugs, robbery, and engaging in sex with its attendant sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS.
The Youth Training Programme which the President mentioned is commendable and must be ongoing but obviously, employment creation is also very, very important so that we can take the youth off the streets as it is now.
Mr. Speaker, please permit me to add my voice to those of my hon. Colleagues who feel that three years of senior secondary school (SSS) is adequate. Our meagre resources are already overstretched and must be used judiciously; examples are the two SSSs in my constituency. They do not have any infrastructure, as I may say. They do not have adequate classrooms. They lack dormitories, toilet facilities, libraries, computers and academic books. I am sure that pertains in other constituencies as well. Obviously, when these things are happening in the schools, we expect them to have the same rates as colleagues in the well-endowed schools. I therefore hope that His Excellency will revisit this decision.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we as lawmakers must all put our hands on deck to stem the present picture of rising unemployment, maternal and child mortality, crime rate, defilement, increasing HIV/AIDS infection, rising utility bills and rising fuel prices.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that the best we