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NPP flagbearer lays out health policy; read it here

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Speech by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-AddoNPP Nana Akuffo-Addo's Policy Health

“SAVING OUR HEALTH SERVICE, KEEPING OUR PEOPLE HEALTHY”

Speech by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, at the Sunyani Nurses Training College, Sunyani, on 17th October, 2012.

Good evening. I have just been told that NDC propagandists are at it again on FM stations in Accra. This time, the story is that I collapsed on a platform whilst touring the Kumawu constituency. I toured Kumawu some two weeks ago on 1st October and it is strange that this matter should come up now on the eve of my speech. It’s a total fabrication. I did not collapse; I have never felt stronger; and I am very fit to deliver a speech on health. I thank the authorities of this college for this opportunity to talk about a subject of utmost concern to all of us: good health, our individual health and the health of the nation.

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When you meet somebody, family, friend or stranger, the greeting that is exchanged is an enquiry about each other’s health. You ask after each other’s state of health and you wish each other good health and you wish good health for their family. It is for good reason that we do this. We dread being sick and we know we have to be healthy to do life’s work and achieve our aspirations.

The wealth of the nation depends on the health of its people. We have to be healthy to transform Ghana, we have to be healthy to try to make a brighter future for Ghana, we have to be healthy to work for ourselves, never mind, try to work for you.

And to talk about this subject, I don’t think we could have a better place or audience than a Nurses Training College and an audience mostly of student nurses. When it comes to healthcare, you are at the front line and the policies that government adopts affect you directly and you are in a position to tell what works and what doesn’t.

In 50 days’ time, we will go to the polls to choose not just between candidates for president and Members of Parliament, but we will also decide between two profoundly different visions for the future of our country’s education and healthcare systems. This evening I intend to lay out the differences and hope it would help make your choice easier and you would choose the NPP vision for Ghana and for your future.

On December 7, the nation has a chance to make a decision on two major issues: (1) whether Ghanaians should have universal access to free quality education for every child under the age of 18, and (2) which party can be trusted to deliver access to affordable quality healthcare for every Ghanaian. The NPP believes that free quality education up to secondary level and affordable healthcare are essential for the healthy, educated workforce we need to transform the economy, create wealth and enhance the welfare and wellbeing of every Ghanaian.

Tonight’s talk is about the health of the nation but I want first to say a few words about the NPP education policy that seeks to provide free quality education to all our children from kindergarten to senior high school. Regardless of all the propaganda and distortions, the good people of this country know that this is something we should do, we can do, and we will do. The people of this region, I am told, know all too well that while our new caretaker President, the NDC presidential candidate, is going around the country struggling to convince parents that Ghana is not ready and cannot afford free secondary education, reports from the ground are that his party activists, sensing that this position will damage their electoral prospects, are going around rural communities with a picture of the NDC presidential candidate to lie and say he is the person promising free SHS. This is typical NDC duplicity. It appears that their capacity for deceit and double dealing is limitless.

The NDC adopted the same attitude when the NPP, under the leadership of President Kufuor, introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme. NDC MPs’ of the time, including their current presidential candidate, then MP for Bole Bamboi, walked out of Parliament and boycotted its proceedings dealing with the NHIS law because of their opposition to its passage. But, when the programme was successful, they claimed falsely it was their idea and that they had a pilot scheme at Nkoranza, near here. They don’t have the vision to deliver to the people of Ghana, so they try to rewrite history.

The NPP will go a step further to save our health system and keep our people healthy: we will offer all children free access to the NHIS. This means that parents no longer have to be a subscriber to the NHIS for a child to benefit. Millions more children will be covered by free healthcare.

The NHIS shows that the NPP believes in fairness as a principle of social action. We believe that access to social services should be on the basis of need, and that government has a duty to keep its people healthy. We are proud that we are helping to create a society of fairness and opportunities for everyone, including the most vulnerable. The NDC now admits that the NHIS is preferable to the cash and carry system they were operating, but if you look at their performance managing the system, you have to doubt their sincerity. We must save our health system, and keep our people healthy.

If you look at their performance at managing the scheme these past four years, you have to conclude that either they do not really believe in a national health insurance system, and their advocacy of a one-time premium reinforces this perception; or they lack the competence to administer it. We must save the NHIS now from the incompetent hands of the NDC.

This election presents the people of Ghana with a clear choice between a well-thought out and comprehensive plan for education, health and the economy on the one hand, and on the other, a President who is offering four more years of visionless leadership from a government that pretends to be working for you. Four more years of the reckless borrowing this government have been doing will mean more of our money having to go to debt payments and even more excuses for why they won’t invest in our health and education.

The wealth of the nation depends on the health of its people. To transform Ghana, we have to be healthy, and our government has a duty to ensure that the most vulnerable have access to quality healthcare.The NPP has a record of care and achievement. The last NPP government introduced significant initiatives to expand health service coverage. The next NPP government, God willing, will introduce comprehensive measures to tackle the fundamental problem of too many Ghanaians dying because they can’t get proper care. I want to see ambulances carrying the sick to the hospital for treatment and not turned into hearses. We will continue the policy started under President Kufuor to establish an efficient ambulance service well-coordinated with emergency care in the hospitals and nationwide to be sure when patients get to you, you can still help them.


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