Debates of 17 May 2018

PRAYERS 10:43 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
Hon Members, item numbered 2; Correction of Votes and Proceedings dated 16th May, 2018.
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of 16th March, 2018].
Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
Hon Members, we have the Official Report dated 14th December,
Hon Members, any corrections?
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report dated 14th December, 2017].
  • rose
    Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Ms Safo 10:43 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, the Hon Minister for Agriculture is out of the jurisdiction and for that matter he is unable to appear before the House. So, we would want to ask that this Question be stepped down for tomorrow to enable one of the Hon Deputy Ministers to appear before the House to answer the said Question.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 10:43 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
    Hon Member, may I just apprise you with a correspondence we have, which I have just received:
    ANNOUNCEMENT 10:43 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
    Hon Muntaka?
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:43 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is worrying that today is the third Sitting day since we resumed but unfortunately, on each of the days, we are confronted with the failure of Hon Ministers to be in the House.
    Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, the Ministry of Agriculture has five Ministers; among them is one substantive Minister, a Minister of State and three deputy Ministers.
    Mr Speaker, sadly, our Hon Colleague, the former Member of Parliament for Kwadaso, the Hon Minister for Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto was a Ranking Member on the Committee for Food and Agriculture in Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, he was the type that would not even allow an Hon Deputy Minister to answer his Question. Today, he is an Hon Minister and he does not find it necessary to come and answer Questions in the House.
    Mr Speaker, if you look at Standing Order 60 (1), it is clear that Ministers shall and are supposed to do this within two weeks. Now, he is not here and has not found it necessary to prepare any other person to do this. Sadly, he is one of the Ministers noted for always being absent from this House and sending Deputy Ministers.
    Mr Speaker, he has brought a letter which only came this morning. As a result, neither the Leadership in the Majority nor the Minority were privy to it until now a Clerk-at-the-Table rushed to you with it; and you saw that the date is today. They
    wrote it just this morning after we had printed the Order Paper and the Hon Member had even called those who may be affected to sit in the Public Gallery.
    Mr Speaker, we would want to plead that, if the Hon Minister has written to ask that this Question be postponed, kindly use your good office to force him to be here himself. He should be ordered to be here himself and not any of his Deputy Ministers.
    He is fond of not attending upon the House and has the habit of sending Deputy Ministers. So, if it has been postponed, I would want to plead that we get the Hon Minister himself to be here.
    Mr Speaker, in the last Meeting, three Questions were scheduled for another day but they were not answered. I would want to plead that our Hon Colleagues in the Majority -- [Interrruption] -- I know the difficulties that they go through because sometimes the Hon Ministers do not even talk to them like this instance. They were not spoken to, because as at this morning, they did not know exactly where the Hon Minister was. [Hear! Hear!]
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 10:43 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, our Standing Orders frown on impugning wrong motives. The Hon Minority Chief Whip suggested that our Leadership was aware of the absence of the Hon Minister and that they have been ambushed by the presentation of this letter this morning.
    That is unparliamentary. Also, on the Hon Minority Chief Whip suggesting that Mr Speaker should force the Hon Minister, how is Mr Speaker supposed to force the Hon Minister to be here? I do not know if it is within Mr Speaker's powers to force an Hon Minister to be here. So he should --
    Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
    Just for your elucidation, the Constitution and our Standing Orders give us the power to compel a Minister or any relevant public officer to appear before the people's representatives, otherwise known as Parliament, to answer any Question or respond to any matter whatsoever as this Honourable House considers relevant and necessary.
    That is beside the point.
    Hon Muntaka?
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:43 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, you have said it all and I am grateful that you have brought the rules of this House to our Hon Colleague's attention. Maybe, I should have used the word “compel”. This is because Mr Speaker has what it takes with the authority of what is here to compel any Hon Minister to appear before this House at a time that Mr Speaker and not the Hon Minister determines.
    Mr Speaker, so we respect your guidance as to when the Hon Ministers should appear. Our only additional plea is that, in doing so, we would want the Hon Minister himself to appear. This is because when he was an Hon Member of Parliament, he was the type who would refuse to have an Hon Deputy Minister to answer his Question. Today that he is an Hon Minister, he has sent his Hon Deputies.
    So, Mr Speaker, compel the Hon Minister to be here himself to answer the Question. This is so that we would get to the crux of the issue.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 10:43 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, again, the Hon Minority Chief Whip said that, when the Hon Minister for Agriculture was the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee on Agriculture, he would refuse an Hon Deputy Minister --

    Mr Speaker, let him be guided because the Hon Minister could not have refused --
    Ms Sarah A. Safo 10:43 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    As earlier enumerated by my good self, we appreciate the concerns of the Minority. Again, it is not intentional that the Hon Minister for Agriculture is not here. He is currently out of the jurisdiction and his Hon Deputy Ministers have indicated that they would take the opportunity to come to the House having had the instruction from him to answer the Question on his behalf --
    There might be an Hon Minister of State at the Ministry and three Hon Deputies as mentioned by the Hon Minority Chief Whip. However, it is implied that they need the express instruction and authority from the substantive Minister to be able to take up certain roles that are to be performed by the Hon Minister himself.
    That is why we are pleading that the Question, although very urgent, be taken tomorrow, God willing, so that one of the Hon Deputy Ministers or the Hon
    Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    In fact, this Honourable House is very concerned about Hon Ministers coming appropriately to answer Questions. Hon Majority Leader, if you would kindly convey to Hon Ministers generally that we have resumed work once more and that we would want them to answer to the call of Parliament.
    Some time ago, there was a film called “Tomorrow Never Comes” but for this one, tomorrow will come tomorrow. [Laughter.] So, we look forward to having the Hon Minister here tomorrow. Kindly convey further that we would want the Hon substantive Minister himself.
    Ms Safo 10:43 a.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker. Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
    Item numbered 4, Statements.
    Haruna Iddrisu -- rose --
    Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, my attention has been drawn that you are on your feet.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 11:03 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to crave your indulgence to rise on Standing Order 72.
    Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I quote 11:03 a.m.
    “By the indulgence of the House and leave of Mr Speaker, a Member may, at the time appointed for statements under Order 53 (Order of Business) explain a matter of personal nature or make a statement on a matter of urgent public importance. Any statement other than a personal statement may be commented upon by other Members for a limited duration of time not exceeding one hour. The terms of any such proposed statement shall first be submitted to Mr Speaker''.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to indulge you that there is some growing insecurity in Tamale, and in Ghana for that matter, arising out of some insistent violent attacks between members of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service.
    Mr Speaker, security remains a primary and secondary need for the peace and stability of a country and we are concerned about those reprisals.
    Mr Speaker, a first of it happened on 26th March, 2018 in Tamale around the Agricultural Development Bank road. I would want to invite you -- [Interruption] so that the Hon Ministers
    for Defence and the Interior would be obliged to come before this House to assure the public that we are safe and secured, and in particular, that the people of Tamale have no reason to live in fear and panic.
    Mr Speaker, a breakdown of law and order can be a recipe for lawlessness. Apart from the fact that it would lead to the erosion of public and civil confidence in the security agencies to maintain law and order in the country and to safeguard our territorial integrity -- and I suspect this has begun.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to invite you to urgently request the Hon Ministers for Defence and the Interior to appear before this august House. I would also want to thank you for your earlier ruling on the matter which related to the Hon Minister for Agriculture.
    Ms Safo 11:03 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as has been said by the Hon Minority Leader, I believe that he had an earlier discussion with the Hon Majority Leader and the Hon Majority Leader was in total support with the concerns that he has raised. It is all over the news that members of the Ghana Police Service and members of the Ghana Armed Forces exchanged fire.
    Mr Speaker, every citizen of this country deserves the right to life and if the people or the personnel that we have entrusted the responsibility to protect and ensure law and order are rather at loggerheads, it is a great disappointment to the people of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, as the call has been rightly made by the Hon Minority Leader, the Hon Ministers for Defence, the Interior and National Security should come to the House to brief us on how they intend to deal with this matter because it is very worrying.
    Mr Speaker, I humbly submit that you give an appropriate directive in this direction so that the House could be properly briefed and the Hon Member of Parliament for Tamale South, who is also the Hon Minority Leader, would be seen by his people as also responding to very serious security treats in the area.
    Mr Speaker, I am very much in support, that the substantive Hon Ministers in the respective areas be brought before this House to brief us accordingly. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:03 a.m.
    The Hon Ministers for Defence and the Interior should appear before this House next Tuesday and apprise the House of these developments and measures being taken to arrest and prevent same from ever occurring again.
    Hon Members, I would amend the order of Business slightly and we would move to item numbered 6.
    Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, I am making provision for you, so if you would please --
    Hon Members, as much as we would want the Hon Ministers here, we would also want to make appropriate adjustments where necessary so that they can go and attend to other matters of State.
    Hon Members, item numbered 6
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:03 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Motion would have to be supported by the Report from the Committee. Unfortunately, the Hon Chairman of the Committee is not available and those Reports are not with us.
    So, if the Hon Minister moves the Motion in respect of items numbered 6
    Mr Speaker 11:03 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Majority Leader, so the two items cannot be taken today.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:03 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, we would have to stand them down.
    Mr Speaker 11:03 a.m.
    Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, you may take leave of the House.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:03 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we could take item numbered 5, Papers.
    Mr Speaker 11:03 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, we would take Statements. Once items numbered 5 and 6 have been stood down, I am inclined to follow normal order.
    Hon Members, item listed 4, Statements.
    There is a Statement which stands in the name of Hon Dr Bernard Okoe Boye on ‘'World Hypertension Day''.
    STATEMENTS 11:13 a.m.

    Dr Bernard Okoe Boye (NPP — Ledzokuku) 11:13 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Thank you, for giving me the opportunity to make a Statement on the most ubiquitous and
    insidious medical condition in Ghana today, hypertension which is also known as High Blood Pressure or BP for short.
    High blood pressure is a condition in which the blood pressure in the individual is higher than the normal level. An elevated blood pressure silently and gradually causes damage to blood vessels in the brain, heart, kidney and eyes, ultimately resulting in stroke, kidney failure, heart disease and consequently early death.
    Risk factors that predispose us to hypertension include physical inactivity, obesity or overweight, family history or hereditary, race-black race, alcohol abuse, abuse of steroids, herbal preparations, et cetera.
    Mr Speaker, the 17th of May every calendar year is dedicated to marking World Hypertension Day so that through the commemoration, the world and for that matter Ghanaians are reminded of the fact that High Blood Pressure gives no signs or symptoms to signal its presence. It operates stealthily, causing harm secretly.
    The only way to know your blood pressure is to get it checked by a health worker. Thirty (30) per cent of all Ghanaian adults have been determined to be hypertensive. What is even more worrying is that only one-third of this number are aware of their status. By this statistics, approximately ninety two (92) members of this Honourable House are supposed to be hypertensive with only thirty (30) out of this number knowing their status.
    Mr Speaker, doctors in the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital estimate that seventy (70) percent of all deaths at the hospital are caused by hypertensive conditions. Seven (7) times out of ten (10), hypertension is the culprit when you hear
    of an adult who lost his or her life. This is what makes this discussion most urgent, most relevant and most timely.
    The message on this day is simple: Get your BP Checked, it is the only way to know. And for those on medication, take your medications daily, that is the surest way to a long complication-free life. Eat well, sleep sufficiently, exercise adequately and you can avoid hypertension or minimise its effects on the body.
    Mr Speaker, let me take this opportunity to mention that I have written a book on hypertension titled, High Blood Pressure in Black People, a material with adequate, simple information on how BP develops and how to manage it and stay alive.
    Mr Speaker will definitely get a copy from my modest self before the launch next month. Lastly, I announce with great joy that the medical doctors in this Honourable House are equipped with Blood Pressure measuring equipment and ready to measure the BP of every Hon Member before we exit Parliament today. Please get close to a doctor now so that your hypertension can be exposed and dealt with.
    Mr Speaker, I remain most grateful to you for this opportunity.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:13 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this indeed is a very important Statement, but if I may, I would want to seek your indulgence to allow for the Papers slated for today to be laid.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying so because, the Hon Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, who is here with us needs to fly out immediately. His flight is at 12.00 noon and so, he may do the laying
    of the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister.
    I also have to migrate to a meeting outside Parliament. So we can do this in just about five minutes and then the comments would follow. It is a very important Statement that cannot be stampeded.
    Mr Speaker 11:13 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, item numbered 5 — Presentation of Papers -- by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:13 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I indicated, the Hon Minister is unavailable for a very important cause. I would want to apply for the Hon Deputy Minister, the Hon Member for Atwima- Nwabiagya North to do the laying of the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister.
    PAPERS 11:13 a.m.

    STATEMENTS 11:13 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:13 a.m.
    Hon Members, we would go back to Statements. Item numbered 4 — Contributions on the Statements so ably made by Hon Dr Okoe Boye.
    Dr Robert Baba Kuganab-Lem (NDC — Binduri) 11:23 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by Hon Dr Okoe Boye.
    Mr Speaker, I am going to touch on two main causes of hypertension.
    These are chronic stress and the consumption of salt.
    Mr Speaker, hypertension has now become a primary healthcare issue. If we look at the Budget Statement that we passed and the national policy on health
    in Ghana, we have relegated primary healthcare to the background.
    Mr Speaker, hypertension is largely caused by stress. We know that if one is an elder or a family leader in Ghana, the person is approached every day to solve problems of the family. When one is a Member of Parliament (MP), the person suffers daily from demands that are beyond the person.
    Mr Speaker, stress is a key contributory factor to the rise in hypertension that we witness today. We have to find a way of solving some of our social, family and national problems in such a way that our developmental issues are not piled up on one or two individuals who may have to suffer hypertension or stress because of these pressures.
    Mr Speaker, our mothers have been well trained, and by this, they put salt in every soup or food they cook. We do not doubt the fact that they measure it very well. But it has come to a point where we do not need to put salt at all in our foods. Salt must be put on the table such that if people feel that they have to add salt, they do so rather than cooking with salt. This is because almost all foods are preserved with some amount of salt.
    Mr Speaker, for example, with the Statement presented by the Hon Member, about 30 per cent of Ghanaians have High Blood Pressure. If we assume that this is about six million people and the cost of treating hypertension, for a week is GH¢1.00, it means that we are spending about five million cedis a week on the treatment of hypertension.
    Mr Speaker, pharmaceutical companies are not there for nothing -- they exist for profit. They are not our good friends! The best way to deal with this is to take
    preventive measures that would curb hypertension. Pharmaceutical companies are exploiting us. They would manufacture the drugs but because we pay very little, maybe, GH¢1.00 a week, we think that it is not expensive to treat hypertension.
    If we go to most of the hospitals, which are into primary healthcare, as I mentioned, most of the problems we see are hypertensive cases. But because we do not put a cost as to how much the nation is bleeding in terms of treating hypertension, we think that it is easy.
    Mr Speaker, hypertension is better treated at the primary healthcare level. As we speak, I know of some primary healthcare institutions that have not been paying their National Health Insurance moneys for 15 months -- 15 months! How do we help our communities if such institutions have not been paid for several months?
    We have to go back to the drawing board and emphasise primary healthcare and take it seriously. This must be the national health policy to prevent diseases such as hypertension which is taking a toll on the economy of Ghana as well as the health of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker 11:23 a.m.
    Hon Member, thank you for that wonderful contribution.
    Mr Speaker 11:23 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Agbodza?
    Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza (NDC -- Adaklu) 11:23 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the
    Statement made by Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, Hon Member for the Ledzokuku Constituency.
    Mr Speaker, by the nature of the work we do in this House, we cannot avoid stress; we can only manage it. I am grateful to Dr Okoe Boye and others who have consistently guided us as to the best way to live our lives while we work to serve the people of this country.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to thank you for making sure that when this particular Parliament started, you organised and insisted that Hon Members of Parliament must necessarily go through health check and a considerable period of time was given to us to do so.
    So, anybody who wanted to take the opportunity and do a health check would have done that. But that should not be the end; I believe we should continue to regularly check our health status.
    Mr Speaker, not too long ago, this House approved the 2018 Budget Statement. A considerable amount of money was allocated to the Ministry of Health for the provision of healthcare in this country. Indeed, as the previous Hon Member who contributed said, much of that money went somewhere else, particularly, paying of staff salaries and other things and very little into capital investment and primary healthcare.
    Mr Speaker, we are the best people to take care of ourselves in the things we do as individuals -- our diet, exercise regime and everything. I know Mr Speaker is very much concerned about the fact that Parliament invested some money to get a gymnasium in the Job 600 Building. That project is still in abeyance.
    It would be very complimentary if this House could complete that project to add
    Mr Speaker 11:23 a.m.
    Hon Member, just a moment.
    The Hon Second Deputy Speaker would take the Chair at this stage.
    Hon Members, this announcement is also coming from the doctors, that soon after Sitting, their services would be available for all Hon Members to check their blood pressures.
    Mr Agbodza 11:23 a.m.
    May the Rt. Hon Speaker live forever. [Hear! Hear!] [Laughter.]
    Mr Agbodza 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the point I was making is that when this country
    invests heavily to provide healthcare infrastructure, we must make sure we put those structures into use.
    It is sad to note that in recent times, we have invested heavily in healthcare infrastructure and those structures are lying idle in many communities and are not being put to use. This is not the best way of putting public money to use.
    Mr Speaker, so I am encouraging those in charge of healthcare in this country to acknowledge the fact that there are many people in our country today who do not have access to a healthcare facility. Ironically, we do have completed healthcare facilities which are lying idle. I believe when we put these ones also to use, they would help expand access to healthcare in the country.
    Mr Speaker, I would also want to take the opportunity to draw the attention of Hon Members of this House to the work we do, which is such that many a time, we give the impression that we can handle everything that comes to us.
    I believe we must be honest to the country and to ourselves that, as Hon Members of Parliament, we are not capable of solving all the problems around us. Indeed, one cannot be a doctor, a judge, a teacher, a chief, a marriage counsellor, an imam, a pastor and everything else at the same time.
    Mr Speaker, any attempt to do all of these at the same time would result in exactly what Dr Okoe Boye has said -- “a correct candidate for hypertension”. This is because that individual is simply pretending that anytime anybody reports of a problem to him or her, because of votes, the person says, “I would do something about it”.

    Mr Speaker, I do not think it is important for us to say we would have to be in this House at all cost and so we would agree to provide everything for everybody.

    I encourage the country to also accept the fact that Hon Members of Parliament can only do certain things. Indeed, if one loves his or her Member of Parliament (MP), I believe that person would expect him or her to live long enough to do the things he or she would want the Member of Parliament (MP) to do for the community. And part of that means that the Member of Parliament (MP) should only do what he or she is required to do.

    Mr Speaker, I would conclude that we should take advantage of the opportunity provided by Hon Dr Oko Boye. At least, no matter how busy we are today, if we can, we should go and check our blood pressure; 30 minutes of our time today may be the reason our lives may be saved tomorrow.

    So, I take the opportunity to thank the Rt Hon Speaker, the Leadership of the House and Hon Dr Oko Boye for making the effort.

    I look forward to seeing the day the gymnasium, we are once again promised, would be opened. I am sure it would augment the health of Hon Members of this House.

    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP-- Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 11:33 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I commend Hon Dr Oko Boye for the Statement. It is typical of him to make things known and explain issues relating to health in context. It is quite exciting that he has brought this matter up.
    On the face value, it may look quite superficial, but the health related concern is huge for our country and citizens. First of all, I support and collaborate many of the things that Hon Members who spoke earlier have touched on. This is just to make a few suggestions.
    Mr Speaker, awareness creation on matters related to hypertension or high blood pressure is so important. Focal people in our country such as pastors, assembly members, Hon Members of Parliament and politicians have to blaze the trail in terms of leading the crusade because we are seen as focal and influential people in the society.
    One could imagine the attention that the ordinary person gives to statements and actions of Hon Members of Parliament, politicians and people of influence in the society. So, we have to demonstrate certain exemplary leadership, which has to go beyond the making of Statements. I doff my hat and congratulate the Hon Member of Parliament, but we have to take it beyond that.
    Again, recently, when one uses the Akuapim Scarp, one would see many young Ghanaian men and women trek along that route and exercise. It is something that we have to encourage, and leaders should partake in this.
    Mr Samuel N. George (NDC-- Ningo- Prampram) 11:43 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the Statement ably made by Hon Dr Oko Boye as we discuss the pertinent issues of a lifestyle ailment that we all popularly call High Blood Pressure.
    Mr Speaker, a cursory look across the aisles here in Parliament, and at many of my senior Hon Colleagues here would reveal very dark hairlines. However, many of these hairlines have been “yoomoed” that is (dyed) -- [Laughter.] The reality of the matter is that many of these hairlines are grey from age, worry and stress.
    This is because fifteen months in this House, I can bear testimony of stress and its attendant effects on the colour of our hair. [Laughter.] I now understand why my predecessor had very grey hair. [Laughter.] His shoes have been very big to fill. I wish him a happy 72nd birthday today.
    Mr Speaker, the issue of stress cannot be overemphasised, and we cannot forget the effect that our jobs and lifestyle practises actually have on us as individuals. It is important that we continue to, as a nation, highlight the threat that stress has on us. Mr Speaker, many people today are walking, but are not even aware of the challenges that their hearts go through.
    Many young and able-looking people walk and drop dead. This is simply because people have not taken it as a key part of their daily routine to check their
    blood pressure. It is important that we do enough to highlight this challenge.
    Mr Speaker, again, even those who have identified the challenges of high blood pressure and are willing to take medication, we need to make sure that we strengthen the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). This is because many of these people cannot afford even the generic medications, not to talk about the patented medications.
    So, if the NHIS, which covers the generics, cannot even process payment on time to keep these pharmacies that give the generic drugs to the sufferers of high blood pressure access to these drugs on time, we would have people who cannot afford the generic drugs go to the pharmacies and they would be turned down because our NHIS is not able to meet its obligations to these service providers.
    Mr Speaker, I need to reiterate a point that has been made by the Hon Member for Adaklu, Mr Kwame Agbodza, on the need for us, as a State, to look at the infrastructure that has been put in place.
    Many people today, would have to form long queues at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital or the newly-refurbished Accra Regional Hospital at Ridge before they could get proper diagnosis. Mr Speaker, yet we have a four or five star facility which is sitting in Legon that could actually meet the needs of many Ghanaians who are suffering from BP and need to have proper diagnosis.
    We have a state of the art five-star hospital which has been locked up there, while the people of Ghana are being deprived with service based on whatever political wrangling or political
    considerations that are holding up such a facility. Mr Speaker, it is not just that facility but there are several medical facilities across the country that would give lifesaving support to citizens of Ghana but they are being sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Mr Speaker, that is unacceptable.
    In wrapping up, it is my hope that as a nation, we would be able to refocus our attitudes and lifestyle choices, because whether we like it or not, BP has become a lifestyle disease and we need to be mindful and careful about that. Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the medical team for the support that they are extending to Hon Members of Parliament, where they have said that they would check the BPs and so on, of Hon Members of Parliament today.
    On a lighter side, I just want to ask them, that it would be more beneficial to Hon Members of Parliament if they would check our BP on Fridays when we are about to head to our constituencies and also on Tuesdays when we return from the constituencies. Mr Speaker, a check of those readings would show the effect of our work on us whenever we go to the constituencies.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Rockson-Nelson E. K. Dafeamekpor (NDC -- South Dayi) 11:43 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I associate myself with the Hon Member who made the Statement and I would want to say that the matter in issue is one of a lifestyle matter. As a result of the fact that we do not do periodic medical check-up of our health situations, we are sometimes caught up by the condition.
    Mr Speaker, what is interesting is that a study was conducted by a team of public health specialists for the Public Health
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:43 a.m.
    Hon Members, I believe it is important that I -- [Interruption]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:43 a.m.
    Hon Member, do you want to comment?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:43 a.m.
    Hon Minority Chief Whip, do you want your army to be in front of you? Do you want to come after him?
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:43 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes. I believe that it is important if he could get a bite and then I would be next.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:43 a.m.
    That is alright.
    Hon Member?
    Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa (NDC -- North Tongu) 11:43 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am most grateful and I would take a cue and be very brief. I just want to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement, Dr Oko Boye.
    He has been a very helpful Hon Member of this House in terms of always reminding us about the need to be conscious about our health, and to be conscious about our lifestyles so that we would be in good health, serve our constituents and serve the people of this country very well.
    Mr Speaker, so, I commend him and all our doctors who are making their professional services available to Hon
    Members free of charge so that we would be screened to know our BP levels. I believe that as time goes on, they would rope in other staff of Parliament and we would all be better for it.
    Mr Speaker, the statistics as have been revealed in this Statement are very startling, such that 30 per cent of all Ghanaian adults have been determined to be hypertensive. So, in this House of 275 Hon Members, it is statistically possible that 92 of us are hypertensive.
    Mr Speaker, the other frightening statistic is that 70 per cent of all deaths recorded at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital are as a result of hypertension. Mr Speaker, this is really scary and we would need to highlight this silent epidemic which is killing many people without us knowing.
    Mr Speaker, I recall that a few weeks ago in my constituency, I received a very frantic call from the staff of our local radio station, Klenam FM. Apparently, a young man who is the morning show host and 31 years old called Mr Dzanu, just collapsed while on air. He arrived very actively, was doing well and they were having a very good show that morning.
    Fortunately, I was in the constituency and I managed to get him stabilised at the Bator Hospital and he was later rushed to the 37 Military Hospital where he received treatment and undergoing some physio therapy now, because he suffered a mild stroke in the process. Clearly, this is a silent killer that many young people are being affected and the aged are also being affected --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:53 a.m.
    Hon Ablakwa, your Hon Colleague is on his feet.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 11:53 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, a point of order. Mr Speaker, I seek some clarification from my Hon Colleague.
    He said he managed to stabilise the radio presenter at the Bator hospital. If he could clarify that further?
    He managed to stabilise him?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:53 a.m.
    Hon Member, you want to know how he managed to do it?
    Yes, Hon Member, he wants more information.
    Mr Ablakwa 11:53 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, transporting the patient to the Bator hospital was my contribution to his stabilisation -- [Laughter.]
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to clarify.
    Mr Speaker, the maker of the Statement talks about the need for us to eat well. We have received assurance from the Rt. Hon Speaker that the concern we have about the gymnasium has been addressed, but there is another concern about a canteen or a functioning restaurant, which we have talked about for many months.
    We come here, and apart from the cafeteria where we can have some tea, if you are working at lunch time or you are here till evening, unless you seek some external support, there is really no functioning restaurant or a canteen that we can have a decent lunch.
    I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to Leadership that just as we are resolving the matter to do with the gymnasium, we could also address the issue of a canteen or a restaurant for Hon Members, because eating well would mean that we have a decent place where
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:53 a.m.
    Very well, I do not see anybody on their feet --
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC-- Banda) 11:53 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to make a few comments on the Statement.
    Mr Speaker, to begin with, I must commend the maker of the Statement for drawing the attention of the House and the nation's attention to the World Hypertension Day.
    Mr Speaker, the maker of the Statement has stated the root causes of this sickness, and key among them is physical inactivity. This is a very serious issue.
    In the olden days, sporting activities were one of the key issues on the academic calendar. In those days, sporting activities were taken seriously even sometimes a whole term.
    Mr Speaker, beyond that - when times are changing very fast, history becomes a lot therefore when I am speaking of the olden days, at least academic calendar has changed several times within these 44 years that I have been on this earth.
    Mr Speaker, when we were in the old system of education, that is the form 5, before you go to lower 6th and upper 6th, key attention was given to sporting activities, and even some students were
    admitted into schools because of their speciality or their interest in sports.
    Mr Speaker, because of that children were trained in their youthful age. But today, when we are talking of sporting activities and physical inactivities, because we have compressed the academic calendar, and right after junior high school, nine, years, after two and half years, the child is in the university, so no more serious attention is being paid to sporting activities.
    Mr Speaker, apart from that even recreational centres that Hon Members are talking of — this House in 2016 passed the Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill into law.
    The way we plan our cities and towns, no serious attention is given to recreational centres and sporting areas. If chiefs are allowed to allocate lands and the Local Government authorities in those areas do not partner the chiefs to make sure that certain areas are set aside to be used for recreational centres, we would keep talking about it and no more serious attention would be given to it.
    One worrying factor is that even areas that were earmarked for recreational centres and sporting activities are sometimes re-allocated for residential purposes.
    Mr Speaker, if we continue like this -- [Interruption] I have been asked not to say in the olden days, but I believe that in the olden days, hypertension was perceived as a sickness for the rich and the well-to-do, but because these days sporting activities are not there coupled with the stressful nature of our academic calendar in schools, no more attention is given to the children by training them at
    the youthful age before they grow — physical inactivity and those things set in. When you go to the rural areas, there are a lot of hypertensive patients there.
    Mr Speaker, on this note, the Rt Hon Speaker even said that by kind courtesy of Dr Okoe Boye and Dr Zanetor Agyeman- Rawlings, the gym is going to be made available to Members.
    Mr Speaker, not only that. We come here early in the morning, as early as 6.00 o'clock, some even come before 6.00‘o'clock in the morning and can be here up till 8.00 o'clock in the evening .
    Getting access to a restaurant around the precincts of Parliament is a problem, and apart from Hon Members worrying you, calling you, giving you pressure, putting stress on you, your good self, you do not even have access to good diet, and being here from 6.00a.m. t ill sometimes 8.00 pm -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, even your good self, sometimes you come here at 6.00 am and leave here at 11.00 p.m.
    So if those things are happening, care should be taken to make sure that apart from opening the parliamentary gym centre, you open the restaurant as well, so that any Hon Member who comes here can have access to breakfast at the restaurant or canteen or can have lunch there, and can even have dinner there before we go home.
    Mr Speaker, we do not eat on time and that is part of the reasons Hon Members have this kind of disease.
    Mr Speaker, can you imagine the amount of money spent on healthcare? So, if opening the restaurant would help to reduce some of those costs, I believe apart from the gymnasium, we must pay attention to that. This is because the facility has been built and it is just a matter of furnishing and opening it.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:03 p.m.
    I deem it important to guide the House on what is expected of Hon Members on such occasions.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:03 p.m.
    Yes, Deputy Majority Leader, do you want to comment on the Statement?
    Ms Safo 12:03 p.m.
    Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:03 p.m.
    You may do so now.
    Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo (NPP -- Dome- Kwabenya) 12:03 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, Dr Okoe Boye. I believe the World Hypertension Day is a very important day.
    Mr Speaker, a lot of my Hon Colleagues have spoken immensely on how together as a country, we can help deal with the rising numbers of people who have hypertension.
    According to the statistics provided in the Statement by Dr Okoe Boye, we are told that 92 of our sitting Hon Members of Parliament are hypertensive and also 30 per cent of all Ghanaian adults have hypertension. I believe a lot has to do with our lifestyle as a people.
    Mr Speaker, he has told us a number of bad behaviours that can lead to this chronic disease. He told us that if we eat well, exercise adequately and sleep sufficiently, we can avoid this ailment.
    Mr Speaker, it goes without saying that many of our lifestyles as young people, or as people who serve their country are such that we are so busy that we do not even pause for a minute to think about ourselves. Most at times we think about how we can lead well, provide for our constituents and also our dependents and the extended family and all that one can think about.
    Mr Speaker, we never pause for a minute to think about how we feel as a people in terms of our health. Are we doing the routine medical check-ups? The answer would be, no! We are eager to sign and pay for the hospital bills of our
    constituents and people we believe we love rather than do it for ourselves.
    Mr Speaker, I believe the numbers, as Hon Members of Parliament, are threatening. I remember in the previous Parliament, the doctor in Parliament indicated to us that many of us come into Parliament without being hypertensive, but at the end of our term, we end up with this ailment. It means that we have to take care.
    Mr Speaker, we come here and sometimes we sit all day doing very little physical activity. We come here and sometimes we have to eat late because of the time that we close and get home. I believe we all have to make a conscious effort that if we have such a stressful work, how would we get time to rest, exercise and time to eat well.

    The caterer has some fruits packed in certain portions. Mr Speaker, sometimes, we get there and she has run-out of some of these packs. If we have a bigger facility in the Job 600 Office Complex, Mr Speaker, we know with your office and your able leadership, we can get the canteen running.

    Again, Mr Speaker, we might have the gymnasium, but we must have that attitudinal change, that from here, we would go and work out. We can have the facility there and Hon Members would still

    not have time because of our busy schedules. It is not that we do not want to, but there are so many things that ought to be done in a day.

    Mr Speaker, I am not only restricting this argument to Hon Members of Parliament. Even people in other areas of work are also very stressed out nowadays. They leave home latest by 6.00 a.m. so they do not get the time to exercise. They get to work and they rush in even eating, so anything they get they would eat.

    They get home very late and then anything they get as well, they eat and right away, they go to bed. I believe we would have to change our lifestyles as a people and by doing so, we would stay healthy.

    Mr Speaker, nowadays, we do not even like our local organic foods. The fact that a person is rich means he should eat junk food in Ghana. We eat all the oily and the two-day old chicken and that is the way of living as a rich person in Ghana.

    Mr Speaker, in our villages where our grandmothers and our fathers lived, they ate very healthy foods. They walk to the farms, so all the time, whatever they take in, whether it is fat, they are active enough to burn it. Now, we eat non-organic and non-healthy foods and we sit all day, we sit in the car all the time and we are not active physically.

    Mr Speaker, I believe we have to also know what we eat and what it would do to our bodies. Whatever we take in is what we give to the body to live. It is just like having a vehicle. If it is maintained periodically, it would stay longer. So, the food for the body is what keeps it. So, keeping a healthy body is by way of eating healthy.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:13 p.m.
    Hon Members, it is important I say this. This Statement was made under Standing Order 71 as a Commemorative Statement. Under that Standing Order, we have not made any provision for comments, but, by practice, we have often permitted Hon Members to make brief comments.
    It looks like this has been abused. It is not just that comments are extensive. Some of the comments raise debatable issues. It is important I draw your attention to let us stick to the rules of the House.
    Secondly, on the issue of the work of an Hon Member of Parliament, let it not be said that Hon Members are running away from their duties. You have your functions, but you have roles to play.
    The fact that you have pressure from your constituents does not mean that they call on you to solve all their problems, but because you are in touch with many more people than them, you are called upon to draw attention to where they could find solutions to their problems. So, do not take it upon yourselves that you are all- in-all and try to do the impossible.
    The statistical figure that was given, 72, might be on the low side. If they really try to test Hon Members, I believe it is more than 72. It is part of the occupational hazards that you willingly, consciously, voluntarily and happily took upon yourselves and you have to abide by that.
    It is a very important Statement and I know that we all know our health is our wealth. And your body is the temple of God. --[Pause]-- Yes! So, please, make sure that you do not put in garbage. Well, when you put in garbage, what would happen? Garbage in, garbage out. Unfortunately, being human, it is difficult to stay according to the ideal.
    ANNOUNCEMENTS 12:13 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:13 p.m.
    Hon Members, we have at the distinguished visitors' gallery, a very important delegation from the Parliament of Botswana. It is a 6-member delegation of the Standing Committee for Members Rights, Interests and Privileges. They are here for a 3-day study visit.
    With your kind indulgence, I will proceed to mention the names of the Members of the delegation:
    Hon Haskins G. Nkaigwa -- Leader;
    Hon Gilbert M. Mngole -- Member;
    Hon Joseph Molefe -- Member;
    Hon Shawn Ntlhaile -- Member;
    Mr Lesedi T. Gaolaolwe -- Deputy Clerk;.
    Mr Olebile Konkonyane -- Secretary
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:13 p.m.
    On behalf of the Rt Hon Speaker and the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, you are warmly welcome.
    Hon Members, we hope you would avail yourselves to the members of the delegation so that we could exchange ideas and experiences in order to improve on the democratic practice in the continent.
    Once again, you are most welcome.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, any indication?
    Ms Safo 12:13 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe we have exhausted Business for today, and we are in your hands.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:13 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, are you truly in my hands?
    Ms Safo 12:13 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the House be adjourned accordingly.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:13 p.m.
    The Motion has been moved for the adjournment of the House. Any seconder?
    Mr A. Ibrahim 12:13 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for adjournment and in doing so, I would also want to convey the appeal that we made in the morning, that Hon Ministers who have Business to do in the House must present themselves on time.
    We have a Question to be answered by the Hon Minister for Food and
    Agriculture tomorrow. Between us and the Majority Leadership, I just would want to remind you that we are adjourning early so that they go and prepare and notify them that tomorrow, we need them here.
    Mr Speaker, with that, I second the Motion.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:13 p.m.
    The Motion has been moved and seconded, it is for the consideration of the House — [Interruption] — Why are people getting so much interested in the Question? [Laughter.] I am gathering something from the House and I am sure we will cross the bridge when we get there.
    Question put and Motion negatived.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:23 p.m.
    Hon Members, clearly, the ‘noes' have it. [Laughter.]
    Hon Members, apart from item numbered 8 on the Order Paper, which deals with Committee sittings, the rest of the items on the Order Paper have been exhausted.
    I know that under item numbered 8, there is no Committee of the Whole. [Laughter.] So, unless Hon Members would want to seek the leave and indulgence of the House to amend the Order Paper, there is nothing now before us to transact.
    Mr S. N. George 12:23 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to crave your indulgence to find out if it is within parliamentary practice to
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:23 p.m.
    You may seek guidance from the Standing Orders of the House. However, I gave you a clue as to what to do in my earlier statement. I do not want to repeat it.
    I would put the Question again.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:23 p.m.