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General News of Wednesday, 8 January 2003

Source: GNA

Health Insurance by 2004 - President Kufuor

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday announced government's intention to replace the cash and-carry and system with health insurance schemes by 2004.

The President who made reference to the electoral promise by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to scrap the cash and carry system at a Peoples Assembly in Accra said pro-type schemes have already started in 42 out of the 110 districts.

"As not all the districts are equally endowed, government is resolved to raise the resources to extend the scheme to cover the entire country by next year," he told the cross-section of the people who attended the People's Assembly being organized by the government on the theme: "consolidating Ghana's democracy through peace, unity and development."

The People's Assembly was a novelty initiated by the Kufuor's administration a year ago to create a platform for people to interact with the executive on national matters as part of the celebration of one decade of the fourth republic and two years of positive change.

President Kufuor said government overstretched last year's budget to improve on the working conditions of doctors and other health workers to stem the mass exodus of personnel.

“I hope the doctors and nurses and indeed all other workers will appreciate the desperate situation that the country faces and not hold the nation to ransom.” “I have said it and bears repeating, nobody will come from anywhere to develop this country for us. We must all accept it as our duty to sacrifice to rehabilitate the economy and then we can demand and receive our commensurate reward," he explained.

President Kufuor announced measures to improve on infrastructural development, saying work has started on the rehabilitation of all major arterial roads leading out of Accra.

"There is at least one selected strategic road in each region that is being improved. In all the regions, the feeder roads programme is being pursued vigorously." The President said the expansion programme in telecommunications was on course, whilst new telephone exchanges were being commissioned.

"The Information Communication Training centre is under construction and will be opened in the middle of the year", he said. On the energy sector, President Kufuor said the Akosombo Hydro-Electricity Dam was being augmented with power supply from thermal plants. He however, asked Ghanaians to express cautious optimism about news of offshore oil exploration whilst they wait for the outcome.