Mr. Speaker, listening intently to what she said, what came to my mind was not the absence of good laws to protect the consumers, because she quoted laws which are there to protect the consumers; but her problem, which should be a problem for all of us, is the enforcement of those laws.
Mr. Speaker, talking about poor handling of consumables is indeed an issue which should be of grave concern to this country -- the food which should be covered which are uncovered; dirty hands handling food; too much heat on food which otherwise should not be exposed to so much heat and the accompanying health hazards.
Mr. Speaker, what interested me most about the Statement was the fact that most of what are hazardous about food are those ones which are unsuspected. Mr. Speaker, if you are travelling on a highway and your baby is hungry or your child is hungry, you just stretch your hand through the window and you get something probably uncovered. Mr. Speaker, who are those who should ensure that food sold everywhere, whether on the highway or in the villages, are well kept hygienically.
Mr. Speaker, another issue that struck me was the absence of washrooms and rest rooms on our highways. I am using as an example the Accra-Kumasi highway. Mr. Speaker, they have some rest rooms; I have seen them -- some rest stops; I have seen them. But Mr. Speaker, if you dare decide to visit one of the rooms after you have eaten or have had some drink you would be shocked as to whether anybody ever inspects the places of convenience on our roads. We need to have rest rooms along all our highways -- enough rest rooms.
Mr. Speaker, if we do not have enough rest rooms, then what happens is that
most people just eat and -- [Interruption] -- That is about it. Most people want to attend to nature's call and there is no place for them. Mr. Speaker, having good, adequate, well-catered-for rest rooms on our highways is a necessity, a matter of urgency.
But Mr. Speaker, talking about even our rest rooms I also want to emphasise the fact that it looks like in Ghana many people are more concerned about where they sleep than what kind of rest rooms they have. It is very easy to find a very beautiful hotel, a very beautiful restaurant but decide to go behind and look for the rest room; and it is terrible as if they do not matter.
The important thing is that many of us are buying diseases. We are buying diseases by the kind of food that we eat, the kind of food that we purchase even as we travel. But I am also very interested in the kind of medicines that the hon. Member who made the Statement referred to.
One would think that in pharmacies and pharmaceutical shops, I know there are laws but the hon. Member who made the Statement, hon. Akua Dansua was talking about exposure; sometimes they are exposed to too much heat and then the potency of the drugs are reduced. Who takes care? Who ensures that these are done, and done properly?
Talking also about health and food, there is a problem about washing of hands. It looks like in our country and in most homes you wash your hands thoroughly with soap. You add all kinds of things when you have finished eating, but before eating nobody is worried about washing one's hands. The concern is washing your hands very well after eating and not
The kind of germs that we are purchasing and depositing in our bodies, causing us all kinds of health hazards are as a result of improper washing of hands before eating.
When we were young, in the schools, we used to have beautiful places where they put bowls and soap for children to wash their hands in schools; I wish to recommend that we go back to that. We need to know that washing our hands should be more respected and more of our concern.
After eating even if you do not wash your hands, who cares? But before eating if you do not wash your hands properly, the kind of germs, the kind of hazards which accompany the delicious food inside you are of such proportions that this Statement should be a Statement that all of us should support.
The District Assemblies, what are they doing about the kinds of foods that are sold? What are they doing? We know that the laws are there but even when you look at the roadside, you will find out that sometimes foods are packaged; they are packaged. But the people who sell the packaged foods are people who should take your appetite running very far because they are dirty. The people selling the foods are such that they are not even hygienic themselves.
The time has come for us as a people to look at the little things that we can do to save ourselves and our health. We do not have to do so much, but let us make sure that those who handle the things that get into us are themselves neat and that the food that we are handling are also hygienic.
Mr. Speaker, talking about enforce-
ment, I wonder what happens. A friend once told me and I laughed. He said, “you get by the roadside where they are making some kebab, there is no washroom around. Do you ever endeavour to find out what happens to the one who is behind the kebab when he wants to visit nature's call?”
I said, “Well, listen; somebody is making kebab; nobody cares. All we know is that this man's kebab is sweet.” That is how we put it. There is no water anywhere around the person so you wonder whether the person even washes the hands before grilling the kebab. As a people, let us enforce the laws and let us educate people to know the right thing.
Finally, only yesterday, a retired school teacher from my constituency visited me and she gave me a joke which was very important, which I want to share with hon. Members. She said that in their time, in most of the district courts, the magistrates then were whites and that in one part of the Central Region, a fishing village, one of these sama sama, people as my Colleague (hon. Asamoah-Boateng) will say, went inspecting and found the faeces of a hen somewhere around the house; so the woman was summoned to court.
When the woman was summoned to court, the woman went carrying the hen at her back. The question was clear. “Were you the one who defecated at this place?” She said: “The question must be put to the hen and not to me, I was not even around when they came; the fact is that the hen should be made to answer; it is not me”.
Eventually, the woman was set free because they did not have enough grounds to fine her. What came into my mind when I listened to this story was the fact that enough education should be given us to be responsible for what happens in our homes. If you leave your animals to roam about, if you leave your food uncovered,