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neoxiang
10th May 2011, 11:40 PM
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Today, 10th May, 2011 marks exactly three years and two days since president Kufuor, whiles on a trip to the United Kingdom, secured a grant of £42.5million from the British Government to kick-start the Free National Anti-natal care for every expectant-mother in all our state health facilities.

Again, last Sunday, 8th May 2011 was ‘Mothers Day’ just as it was on 11th May, 2008 when the announcement to institute the programme was actually made. This therefore became the most single innovative way of acknowledging the mothers of Ghana by any leader we have ever had, since the days of Adam.

Now, when the NDC wanted political power in 2008, they intentionally criminalized every thing that Kufuor government was doing at the time. They accused the NPP of turning Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital into a slum where women went to deliver and for lack of money to pay bills, were compelled to smuggle their babies out of the facility.

At the time, some experts came out to advice the Government to take a look at our population growth so that it does not out-pace our economic advancement. And as usual, Kwesi Pratt rubbished that advice by the experts, with an explanation that the State has absolutely no right to interfere with how many children an individual could have. He said it is rather the responsibility of the State to put measures in-place to cater for people who go about engaging in sex as a recreation; and churning out babies on ‘conveyer-belts’.

What the likes of Kwesi Pratt forget to appreciate is that proper management of a nation’s population growth is inextricably linked to improved standard of living and general well-being of its people. For example, Norway, in 1957, had a population of 5million people which was the same as Ghana’s population at the time of independence. Now, after 53-years, the population of Norway is still 5million while that of Ghana has sky-rocketed to nearly 25 million!!!

So, let’s say, if both Ghana and Norway were developing at the same rate, economilly, citizens of Norway will certainly be enjoying much better standard of living than Ghanaians. And by the kind courtesy of leadership greed, selfishness and visionlessness, Ghanaians have rather retrogressed economically whiles our population is growing out-of-control.

Today, the lying and property looting social-democrats are in power and instead of delivering on their delusional campaign promises to enable Ghanaians enjoy the ‘heavenly’ living standards promised us, they have rather chosen to travel abroad to deliver their ‘social-democratic-babies’ while ordinary women of Ghana are perishing in their thousands, through child-birth under the current ‘better Ghana agenda’.

Don’t these current NDC government appointees know that they are seen as fools by the foreigners, when they abandon their core-duty of coming up with solutions to the problems of those who have queued in the sun to vote for them, to perish like house-flies while they (appointees), are falling over one-another for space on aircrafts to go and deliver babies abroad?

Now, during the 8-year rule of the NPP, President Kufuor undertook a number of foreign trips with the sole purpose of selling Ghana, and also, to woo investors. The results of these trips are very much visible for all to see if we are to put away our dogmatic political lenses and give credit where credit is due. These good works were going to be continued by Nana Ado Danquah Akufo-Ado but Ghanaians decided otherwise.

One of these trips was the 'Business Call to Action' confab in London, in May, 2008. At a meeting held with the British prime minister during the confab, President Kufuor announced the British government’s £42.5m support to augment our efforts of implementing the fee-free pregnancy care for all women in all state health institutions. And since reducing maternal mortality is one of the millennium development goals, that donation by the British government was, certainly, a welcomed news.

The health and general well-being of women are pivotal in the socio-economic advancement of every nation. Hence, the saying by Dr.Kwegyir-Aggrey that; “if you educate a man, you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation''.

This particular product of president Kufuor’s travel was announced on Wednesday, 7th May, 2008. Incidentally, the proceeding Sunday, 11th May, 2008, happened to be Mother's Day. Therefore, President Kufuor certainly could not have given mothers of our dear nation a more befitting present!

This novelty in our nation’s maternal health delivery, swiftly crucified the obnoxious 'cash and carry' system that sent many of our nation’s expectant-mothers, prematurely, into the other world.

However, some developments following the successful kick-off of the fee-free pregnancy care programme on 1st July, 2008, has got me thinking and I would urge the NDC administration to take steps to address the situation.

Averagely, one thousand babies were being delivered, monthly, at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital which works out to 250 deliveries per week; (Citi FM breakfast news, 11/7/8). In that same Citi FM report, a young expectant woman whose view was sought on the fee-free natal care actually said that some of them have gotten “pregnant without knowing the men responsible” for their “pregnancies, and therefore this intervention by the government” was indeed “a welcome relief”.

There have also been pictures of over-crowded maternity wards of our state health facilities on our television screens in recent times which are largely due to the increased number of expectant mothers accessing the service. According to official statistics from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, there were 280 deliveries within the first week of the implementation of the programme on 1st July, 2008. That was in excess of 30 deliveries over the previous figure of 250 a week. And I believe current figures may be well over that of two and a half years ago.

This situation of maternity departments of our state medical facilities coming under pressure following the institution of the fee-free natal care is being reported throughout the country, pointing to the fact that more women are accessing this facility. Most of these pregnancies which are putting pressure on our health facilities are being borne by girls who are children themselves!!!

The state, therefore, must consider the establishment of Citizens Advisory Centers, manned by seasoned councilors and psychologist, where any citizen, particularly the teenagers, could go and seek professional counseling in various areas when they are in distress.

These citizens’ advisory centers must have a single, free nation-wide, and a three or four digit telephone helpline which can be reached easily, unlike the current numerous police and other essential service emergency mobile phone numbers which are often out of coverage area.

Again, the state must consider establishing community libraries and youth centers where teenagers, during vacations, can either go and study or engage themselves in recreational activities in order to keep them from vices, particularly, early sexual relationships with its attendant pregnancies which tend to disrupt their academic forward march.

And here, I would like to urge NGO’s, financial institutions and philanthropists to assist in expanding, upgrading and equipping our nation’s maternity outfits to enable them cope with the current surge in patronage on the existing facilities.

Parents must also learn to play their part in the shaping up of the character of their children, by way of having regular and open dialogue with them. And when this is done, these children will in turn, develop trust in them (the parents). And, the situation where children tend to their peers for ‘advice’ due to rather un-approachable nature of their parents shall be a thing of the past since a harmonious home, naturally, breeds happy and well-mannered children.

Managers of the health insurance authority must also, as a matter of urgency, adopt a habit of extreme parsimony which is number one on their hippocratic-oath to Ghanaians and re-focus on core duties of their constitutionally mandated responsibilities. They must exercise great sense of moderation with their affinity for wastage on multi-billion dollar rented accommodations and fuel-guzzling sports utility vehicles (SUV’s).

Finally, I would urge all teenagers of our beloved country, Ghana, particularly the girls, to please be focused in pursuit of your natural talents, believe in yourselves, love and preserve your bodies, understand that sex isn’t a recreation but a pro-creation activity and always be mindful of the fact that impossibility is God-given but inability is man-made.

Consequently, with zeal, determination and positive attitudes, you shall grow up to become good and successful citizens but not ‘baby making machines’ for irresponsible men and boys, so that Ghana will rise through your positive contributions.
Source: Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei E-mail: justnoff@yahoo.com