Debates of 31 May 2005

PRAYERS 10 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 27th May, 2005.
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
on page 9 of the Votes and Proceedings, the last name from the bottom of the page, “Mr. Edward Brihu-Boadu”, it is “Briku- Boadu”, not “Brihu-Boadu”.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
All right, the correction
would be made accordingly.
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in
the Votes and Proceedings, page 6, I am recorded as being absent, but I was at a committee meeting at Swedru.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Is it page 9?
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
page 6, number 29; my name is kofi Frimpong (kwabre East).
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
The correction would be made accordingly. We have also the Official Report of Friday, 27th May 2005. Any omissions or correction? - [Pause.] Item 3. We have an Urgent Question to be asked by hon. Joseph Yaani Labik, Member of Parliament for Bunkpurugu-
Yunyoo. Do we have the Minister for Health here, hon. Majority Leader?
Mr. F. K. Owusu-Adjapong 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I crave your indulgence to allow the Deputy Minister for Health, and a Member of Parliament, to respond to the Question.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Deputy Minister for Health, I hereby give you the permission to answer this Question.


Mr. Labik 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am really surprised by the Answer given by the Deputy Minister for Health and would want to follow up with a few supplementary questions. She is saying
Mr. Labik 10 a.m.
This is what she said,
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Hon. Member, if you have a supplementary question, you ask.
Mr. Labik 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to find out from the Deputy Minister, when the Ministry will be upgrading the facilities at the Tamale Regional Hospital to enable the hospital become a teaching hospital.
Dr. (Mrs.) Ashitey 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry has actually developed and is indeed implementing a programme for upgrading the Tamale Hospital into a teaching hospital, particularly in view of the location of the University for Development Studies (UDS) which has a medicine-related course. The programme is in three phases.

Phase 1 was implemented from the latter part of the year 2003 to March 2005 and involved mainly minor rehabilitation of the existing hospital facilities without any extension of services. The primary objective of this phase was to arrest the deterioration of the hospital and to make the hospital functional; and that is actually the condition of the hospital right now; it is functioning.

Phase two wil l involve major rehabilitation of physical facilities, upgrading existing facilities and the

provision of new equipment for specialized services. This is to increase the scope of services provided by the hospital including provision of specialized services; and phase two will cost about 50 million euros.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, do you
have other supplementary questions?
Mr. Labik 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want
to find out from the hon. Deputy Minister whether she is aware that, as at now, the third and fourth floors of the hospital are not usable and they are home now for mice, rats and crocoaches. If it is so, why are they shifting the major rehabilitation to 2005 when they know that the hospital is actually in a bad condition as at now?
Dr. (Mrs.) Ashitey 10:10 a.m.
The hospital is actually functional. What we are talking about now is a facility to upgrade the hospital to a teaching hospital; but as at now, it is functional.
Mr. Labik 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I really do
not understand the hon. Deputy Minister when she says the hospital is functional. This is because when you say the hospital is functional and yet the third and fourth floors of the hospital cannot be used, I am really at a loss as to what she says is functional.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, may
I refer you to Standing Order 69. You ask a supplementary question for further elucidation of a matter. If you have a supplementary question to ask for further elucidation, kindly go ahead.
Mr. Labik 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, she said the hospital is functional and I am saying
Mr. Bagbin 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy
to hear the hon. Majority Leader say that they will stop imposing wahala on the people. It is when they impose wahala on the people that the people react that they are imposing wahala with their policies. So it is when they stop imposing wahala that the people will stop reacting. And then I hope that the funds would be channelled to public, not private hotels
that she is aware that the third and fourth floors of the hospital are not functional. So I would want to find out: when will the third and fourth floors of the hospital be functional so that I would then understand her word “functional”?
Dr. (Mrs.) Ashitey 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
Mr. A. S. K. Babgin 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Order! Order!
Dr. (Mrs.) Ashitey 10:10 a.m.
It all depends on
Mr. Edward K. Salia 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
the hon. Deputy Minister said that the programme will start in July, if funds are available. I would want to know to which extent the Ministry has gone in securing funds so as to confirm that it could be possible from July.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minister,
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Bagbin 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, when hon. Edward Salia was the Minister, in using
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minister,
if you have an answer to give, you may give the answer.
Dr. (Mrs.) Ashitey 10:10 a.m.
We are in contact
Mr. Salia 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the answer but she has mentioned the amount in euros and I know that usually, when amounts are mentioned in euros, they are not from domestic sources; in general they are from foreign sources. I am expecting her to mention names -- where the money is coming from, what has already begun, and how far have the processes in the chain of events to get the money gone, such that it would be before Parliament. Because if there is nothing before Parliament, Parliament cannot approve anything.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for Jirapa, this is not a supplementary question. Is it a supplementary question?
Mr. Edward Salia 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is a supplementary question. I am asking where the funds are coming from and how far they have gone in accessing them.
Dr. (Mrs.) Ashitey 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, you are right. When we deal with international partners we deal in euros, dollars, et cetera, but the major rehabilitation on this hospital has called on international competitive bidding which is already in process; and so that is why it is quoted in euros.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is not on the Question but it is on what
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for Okere, you are out of order. Hon. Deputy Minister, thank you very much for coming to answer hon. Members' questions.
Hon. Members, I have admitted one
Statement for today and it is from the hon. Member for Ho East.
STATEMENTS 10:20 a.m.

Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah (NDC - Ho East) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to make a Statement on “The World No Tobacco Day” which falls today, Tuesday, May
3, 2005.
Mr. Speaker, the significance of the day cannot be overemphasised, for it is a day set aside to remind mankind about the dangers inherent in tobacco and its products and the harm it causes to smokers and non-smokers alike.
Mr. Speaker, in the year 1988, the first “World No Tobacco Day” was held, under the theme “Tobacco or Health, Choose Health”. I want to believe this theme is as relevant today as it was then in 1988.
Mr. Speaker, seventeen years ago, the historic Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which is the first treaty negotiated under the auspices of World Health Organisation (WHO) was born.
Mr. Speaker, in spite of the fact that various governments have attempted to introduce some control measures against smoking, tobacco industries always say the states will lose revenue in terms
of taxes, if these control measures are introduced. They also argue that jobs will be lost, and if that happens it will create a social problem.
Mr. Speaker, what the tobacco industries fail to tell us is the money governments spend in the treatment of tobacco-related ailments.
Mr. Speaker, permit me to state some of the unpleasant facts about smoking 10:20 a.m.
Smoking is one of the four major risk factors for heart diseases (a risk factor is something that increases the chance of getting a disease). Up to eighteen in every hundred deaths from heart diseases are associated with smoking. The other major risk factors for coronary heart disease are high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and others.
The risk of heart attack rises with the number of cigarettes one smokes. In general, people who smoke cigarettes have about twice as great a risk of heart attack as people who do not. However, this increased risk is particularly large in smokers aged under 50 - their heart attack death rates are up to 10 times greater than non-smokers of the same age. The more cigarettes you smoke and the younger you started it, the greater your risk.
Pregnant women who smoke are likely to have an underweight baby, have a stillbirth or lose their baby by an early death. The children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy are liable to suffer delay in their physical and mental
development in their early years.
Passive smoking also increases the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers, as well as causing chest and ear problems in children.
Mr. Speaker, that is not all; cigarette smoking has dangerous effects on other parts of the body too. Smoking is also associated with cancer of the bladder, of the stomach, the cervix as well as the kidneys.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to call on the Central Government, District Assemblies, Churches and NGOs to collaborate with the Ministry of Information in raising public awareness as far as the dangers of smoking are concerned. They must put in place programmes that will protect our youth, especially those in the second-cycle and tertiary institutions.
Mr. Speaker, I would also want to suggest to the Ministry of Education and Sports to strengthen the Guardians and Counselling Units in our schools so they can play their role in ensuring that our youth are given the needed counselling on the dangers of smoking on our society.
Mr. Speaker, the education must be on-going and not just talking on days such as this. Let us not wait until it is too late.
On this note, Mr. Speaker, I wish to express my gratitude to you for the opportunity given me.
Mr. Kofi Frimpong (NPP - Kwabre East) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement made by the hon. Member on the other side.
Mr. Speaker, we see that apart from the diseases that are associated with that habit of smoking, smokers, excuse me to say, have very unpleasant scents on them and
it is our women, who are wives of these people, who are at the receiving end. Our wives have been complaining about this and the smokers who have become addicts to smoking find it very difficult to stop that habit. In fact, this habit is very bad and I think we should discourage smokers.
Mr. Speaker, what I have seen is that even the warning sign that the Ministry of Health has asked cigarette manufacturers to put on the packet is just a small inscription on the packet which is very difficult to recognize and to read. So my appeal to the Ministry of Health is that they should insist on a larger mark on the packet showing how dangerous smoking is.
Mr. Speaker, smoking also browns the teeth and we see that smokers go to the dentists all the time and Government spends so much money on them. Mr. Speaker, when we were in secondary school we were made to understand that every stick of cigarette that one smoked shortened the life of the smoker by five minutes. I think this must be made known to the public so that our young ones who have taken to smoking and who do not know the dangers of smoking would see it and stop it.
We now come to the passive smokers. Mr. Speaker, we see all over that people smoke in public places but the others who do not smoke do the passive smoking. They inhale the smoke and it does them a lot of harm.
So Mr. Speaker, here again I plead that a ban is placed on public smoking so that non-smokers will not have any ill-effects from the smoke. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member on the other side raised the issue of our women who inhale smoke from firewood. Mr. Speaker, the nicotine that is in tobacco is not in the firewood that he is talking about. Secondly, if he is telling us that then the smoked fish that we buy is also dangerous to our health. So Mr. Speaker, he is giving us some false information that I want him to correct.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, please continue.
Nii Namoale: Mr. Speaker, I want to say something on this nicotine. It is in coffee and it is in tea. So is it the smoke that gives the lung cancer or the nicotine? If it is the smoke then our women are in
danger; if it is not and it is the nicotine, then we are all in danger because nicotine is in coffee and tea.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, if you have finished, you may as well resume your seat.
Mr. Stephen M. E. K. Ackah (NDC - Suaman) 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is said that the wealth of a nation depends on how healthy its working population or the youth are. Mr. Speaker, if you look round, a lot of smokers are the youth who fall within the working group of this nation.
Mr. Speaker, the maker of the Statement has enumerated the ill-effects of smoking but I want to draw our attention to one other thing. It looks like we are stressing on cigarettes but there is a type of smoking, which is getting out of hand in the country among our youth, and this is wee smoking. Indeed, much of the indiscipline we are facing now, and which is so rampant in our secondary schools and even in our tertiary institutions, is due to wee smoking; that is marijuana. And the ill-effects of smoking marijuana are well known to everybody -- It deranges the brain; it reduces the strength of the smoker and all other things. Indeed, the armed robbery which is so rampant in the country now has its roots in wee smoking. When one smokes marijuana, he gets “high” and gets out of control.
Mr. Speaker, smoking, in actual fact,
whether it is cigarette or marijuana should be eradicated from the system. There should be measures that I think -- If the Government is putting emphasis on eradicating AIDS, it should also employ the same methods in trying to reduce the effects of using tobacco.
Mr. Speaker, statistics have shown that hypertension and cardio-vascular diseases and diabetes are on the ascendancy and it has been stated that smoking is one of the root factors, and I think the Government should step in and put in measures that are actually going to reduce the use of tobacco.
On this note, I associate myself with the Statement.
Mrs. Agnes A. Chigabatia (NPP - Builsa North) 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to associate myself with the Statement made by the hon. Member for Ho West. There is a global addiction to pleasure; others derive their pleasure through smoking and others gain confidence through it especially when they are trying to woo ladies and they are not confident enough to make their feelings known to them.
Mr. Speaker, I am therefore saying that
forgetting the monetary aspect of selling cigarettes and tobacco, I pray that for the benefit of our youth it should be banned in open areas and only be sold in drug stores with prescription or with warning leaflets attached so that the youth would feel shy - Normally, when you are going to buy something from the drug store, you are either pushed aside or you feel shy to do it; and by doing that we can stop the youth from openly going to buy it.
With this I wish the production of cigarettes would be limited; the youth are our future leaders.
Dr. A. Y. Alhassan (NDC -- Mion) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the submission on the floor.
I would like to add that perhaps billboards and other advertisements may encourage people to embrace smoking. It is also good that the Ministry of Health would assist to let cigarette packs be labelled more boldly for people to see the dangers involved in smoking. But I believe that the bottom line is for us who are parents and who indulge in smoking to begin to abandon the habit ourselves so that our children who live with us at home would also see the dangers in smoking.
I think the Ministry for Women and Children's Affairs may also join the fight because we are told that women who smoke tend to endanger the lives of the unborn babies in their wombs. Smoking affects the health of unborn babies and therefore if a programme was put in place to at least help women who indulge in smoking, perhaps the children who would be born for this country would be healthier.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
One last contribution.
Mr. Kwadjo Opare-Hammond (NPP -- Adenta) 10:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity. I just want to make a brief comment to support the Statement that we have on the floor.
My comment basically is a plea and indeed it is a passionate appeal that I want to make to people who are highly placed, such as Ministers, Members of Parliament, people who work in high places in government who have taken to the habit of smoking. Mr. Speaker, as hon. Members of this House, we are looked upon as role models and therefore if the young people who look to us would begin to see some of us smoking in public then what we would be telling them is that smoking is good and that they can also do it.
So I want to plead with my hon. Colleagues in this House who have the
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
At the Commencement
of Public Business, item 5, Committee Meetings. At this stage, hon. Majority Leader, may I have any indications?
Mr. F. K. Owusu-Adjapong 10:40 a.m.
Speaker, I beg to move that this House do now adjourn till tomorrow at 10. 00 o'clock in the morning. Mr. Speaker, I so move.
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
in seconding the motion, I just want to
remind hon. Members that we would be launching a book entitled A Guide to the Parliament of Ghana and we would need the full support and attendance of hon. Members. This is taking place at 2.00 o'clock at the International Conference Centre, Accra. I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 10:40 a.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 10.44 a.m. till 1st June, 2005 at 10.00 a.m.