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.