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General News of Friday, 28 November 2008

Source: GNA

In-coming government urged to address social issues

Accra, Nov. 28, GNA - Various non-governmental and civil society organisations on Friday tasked heads of political parties to address the numerous problems bordering on health, education and water and sanitation when given the mandate in this year's presidential elections. At a forum organised by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) to engage the representatives of the four major political parties on these essential services, the organisations called for more access to essential services as enshrined in local and international agreements.

The forum was on the theme; "Universal Provisioning - Keep Essential Services out of General Agreements in Trade Services and Economic Partnership Agreements."

Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Director of Communications, National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Mr Charles Enninful, member of the Manifesto Planning Committee, Convention People's Party (CPP), who deliberated on the issues, spoke about the plans put forward by their respective parties to improve upon the lives of the people.

The NDC noted that investing in people as stipulated in their manifesto meant the provision of health care facilities and upgrading of some health institutions such as Tamale and Effia-Nkwanta hospitals, ensuring one time premium on the National Health Insurance and paying more attention to Traditional Medicine Practice. The CPP re-stated that their "150 days" fast track agenda was to clean-up the country.

On water, the CPP pledged to bring on board all stakeholders to ensure effective water delivery system while the NDC suggested a water policy to ensure effective management.

"We believe water should be managed by government," the NDC said and proposed a water fund to cater for the needs of consumers. The CPP said it would ensure an education settlement process where schooling would be free, continuous and compulsory and the establishment of a Science and Technology Ministry. The NDC said provision of teachers' accommodation, higher salaries and access to training were high on the agenda of the party with regard to education.

Mrs. Rosemond Kumah, Coordinator, ISODEC, said the group would continue to lobby government to take its responsibility of making available such services to it citizenry. She said the move was also to impress on government to come out with pro-poor national budgets and provide needed resources to cater for the gaps in their provision. Mrs Kumah said the provision of social services like education, health, housing, water and sanitation among others would enhance social protection and economic growth.

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