A total of 442 kilometers of roads will be constructed under the first phase of the two billion Sinohydro Agreement between government of Ghana and the Chinese company at the cost of $646 million, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, the Minister of Roads and Highways, has said.
Mr Amoako-Attah, who said this when he took his turn of the Meet-the-Press encounter on Tuesday, said 10 major projects would be executed in the first phase and construction works would begin by the first quarter of this year
He said 70 per cent of the projects under the Sinohydro Bauxite Barter Arrangement has been allocated to the Roads and Highways Ministry for execution, which would involve the construction of roads, interchanges and bridges to ease traffic congestion and ensure free movement of goods and services.
He said the second phase of the projects under the Sinohydro Agreement would start in June, adding that officials from Sinohydro and Ghana Highway Authority were touring the regions to familiarize themselves with the areas where the projects would be implemented.
He said apart from the 10 regions all the six new regions created during the recent referenda would also benefit saying;”President Akufo-Addo’s Administration would ensure that the national resources are fairly distributed”
Mr Amoako-Attah answered questions on wide range of issues about his Ministry, noting that, government has paid GH¢1.9 billion to road contractors since it assumed office in 2017, with outstanding debts of GH¢3.94 billion being owed contractors.
He said government is committed to pay the outstanding arrears to the contractors and complete all the abandoned road projects left by the previous regimes, saying; “If you start any road project and you don’t see its completion then it is useless”.
“We will adopt smart, progressive and innovative methods to improve the road infrastructure in this country as well as contribute to the socio-economic development of our people.
“My Ministry’s vision is to build a Ministry of Roads and Highways that can honour its financial obligations and where value for money is not compromised.
“I want to assure this nation that as the mangers of the roads sector we will do everything possible to deliver to the proud people of this country and build healthy infrastructure that is comparable to any infrastructure in the world and give value for money,” Mr Amoako-Attah emphasised.
The Minister outlined many projects being undertaking by government to improve socio-economic activities and mentioned the construction works at the oil and gas enclave in the Western Region totalling 53km, which is 99 per cent complete.
He said construction works was ongoing on over 30-kilometre Elubo and Half Assini Town roads to improve socio-economic activities in the area.
Mr Amoako-Attah said the Ministerial Monitoring Committee has visited 178 projects ongoing across the country to ensure that contractors execute projects according to specifications and ensure value for money.
The media encounter enabled the Minister to render account of his stewardship for the past two years and provide useful information on ongoing projects.
It also enabled the media to ask probing questions and engage in positive dialogue.
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Malaria leads OPD cases in Assin Fosu Municipality
Regardless of all the multifaceted interventions employed by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to drastically reduce malaria infections, it remained the highest of all Out-Patient Department (OPD) cases in the Assin Fosu Municipality of the Central Region.
Reported cases of Malaria increased from 41,006 in 2017 to 45,219 in 2018 representing 43 per cent of all OPD cases and ranked first among 10 top diseases recorded in 2018.
It was followed by upper respiratory tract infections, rheumatism, anaemia, skin diseases, acute urinary infection, hypertension, gynecological conditions, diarrhea, and intestinal worms in that order.
Mrs Regina Tagoe, the Municipal Director of Health Services, said this at the Annual Review Meeting of the Health Directorate at Assin Fosu.
She attributed the increase to lack of strict adherence to health advice on malaria prevention and that regardless of the abundant supply of test kits, especially for those in the villages and hinterlands, people were still reluctant to go for the test.
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria was key intervention to reduce its prevalence, she noted, adding that children under five years and pregnant women were at high risk.
Mrs Tagoe said pregnant women must attend antenatal clinics regularly and take their anti-malaria drugs to protect them from the disease.
Also, they should use insecticide treated nets to help prevent malaria while deprived communities without microscopic diagnosis services could use the Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) for ready results.
“Treated nets do not only repel mosquitoes, but also protect you from harmful and nuisance insects, giving you a good night’s sleep,” she said.
Mrs Tagoe called for attitudinal change among the people to help deal with the sanitation challenges confronting the Municipality.
She said the rate of the disease outbreak and deaths among Ghanaians would be reduced if sanitation issues were adequately addressed.
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Government to address Agbogbloshie e-waste and open defecation
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that the construction of a state-of-the-art recycling facility at Agbogbloshie will commence in April.
The move, he said would help to solve the problem of waste disposal in an environmentally-friendly manner and create over 20,000 direct jobs, through the establishment of associated holding centres in each regional capital and collection centres in each district.
President Akufo-Addo, said this when delivering the State of the Nation’s Address in Accra on Thursday.
He stated that the facility formed part of government’s efforts towards addressing the problem of electronic waste comprehensively.
“On August 20, 2018, I launched the National E-waste Programme to mark the commencement of two key provisions of the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, Act 917.
“These provisions empower the External Service Provider to verify, assess and collect the advance recycle eco fee on all electrical and electronic equipment from all exporting countries”.
Touching on open defecation, the President said it was unfortunate that, in 2019, the country had to revisit this topic saying open defecation could not be a characteristic of a country that was working to be transformed economically and to be counted amongst the developed nations of the world.
President Akufo-Addo, said government together with stakeholders last year, built 35,862 household toilets to ensure access to toilet and reduce open defecation.
At the district level, he said the Community Led Total Sanitation Programme was being implemented in over 4,500 communities in 130 districts to achieve Open Defecation Free Communities.
President Akufo-Addo stated that the government and partners would continue to educate and sensitise people, on the need to stop open defecation as well as enforce the bye-laws to ensure cleanliness.
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President urges Ghanaians to eat healthy diet
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says that apart from exercising and taking regular health check-ups seriously, it is imperative that Ghanaians eat healthy diets to prevent diseases that are caused by poor choices of nutrition.
He said Ghana’s hardworking nurses and doctors would do their best, as they had always done, to make sure Ghanaians get the best health care; however, it behoves on everyone to look after themselves better.
President Akufo-Addo made the remarks on Thursday in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered to Parliament.
“When our children master the connection between science and their everyday lives, we would reach the stage in Ghana where we would be rid of the many diseases, borne of filth and poor hygiene, that are still part of our lives,” he said.
“In pursuing these goals, we need to remind ourselves repeatedly that health is wealth, and it is only a healthy population that can make Ghana prosperous.”
He noted that in May 2018, Ghana won accolades at the World Health Assembly for having eradicated Trachoma, an eye disease that had plagued Ghanaians for a long time.
He said today, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was buoyant; adding that the Government had paid up the GH¢1.2 billion arrears, which it inherited, and brought the operations of the NHIS back to life.
He recounted that on 19th December, 2018, the introduction of mobile renewal of membership was launched.
President Akufo-Addo said since then, there had been, on average, seventy thousand (70,000) members renewing their membership every week, by dialling *929# on any mobile phone network.
He said soon, in collaboration with the National Identification Authority, Ghanaians would be able to register, renew and access health care services using the Ghana Card.
“We have to thank Dr. Samuel Annor’s brief, but productive stewardship as Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority for that. I wish him well in his retirement,” the President stated.
President Akufo-Addo said to deliver healthcare to Ghanaians more efficiently, in 2018, Government granted financial clearance for the recruitment of 11,018 health personnel to increase existing clinical staff.
He said to augment the efforts of clinical staff, in September, 2018, the Ministry of Health received further financial clearance to employ 14,254 Nurse Assistants (Clinical and Preventive).
He said these nurse assistants belong to the tranche that passed their exams in 2016 from Government Health Training Institutions, and have commenced work by 1st February, 2019.
President Akufo-Addo said the Ministry of Health was working to obtain financial clearance for the recruitment of the 2017 and 2018 graduates.
He said the health delivery system would be significantly strengthened by the expected arrival in June of 275 ambulances; that is one per constituency, to make treatment of emergency cases more effective.
He said drone technology had also been introduced into that system to help deliver essential medicine, blood and blood products to remote communities.
“We still face problems of inadequate infrastructure in our health establishments. We have problems of numerous structures at various stages of completion that cannot be finished and brought into use, because newer structures are being started, and there is no money to finish the ones started earlier.”
He said again, this was a long-standing problem that was a mark of our underdevelopment.
“We will not ignore or sweep the problem under the carpet. We are dealing with it, and will complete them,” he said.
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