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General News of Thursday, 30 November 2000

Source: GNA

UGM will arrest the brain drain

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Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, Presidential Candidate of United Ghana Movement (UGM) on Wednesday said his government would establish a comprehensive policy framework on health and education that will retain high-level technocrats in the country.

He said this would be done through "the efficient management of the economy to absorb the shocks inherent in the present system that make us lose skilled labour". He said his government's policy on education and health will be such that doctors and qualified skilled workers would find it unnecessary to leave the country for "greener pastures."

Answering a question at the Institute of Economic Affairs and Civil Society forum for presidential candidates in Accra, Dr Wereko-Brobby said education should be paid for up to tertiary level and that there should be a scheme that could take care of the health needs of the people. He said the National Service Scheme should be restructured such that after working for five years, a school leaver's services should be able to cover any loan he had contracted to enable him go through his education.

This will make him remain and work in the country without going outside. "There are about 70 per cent of skilled labour including doctors, who leave the country and these are the services the country needs the most". He said: "there is no need bringing foreign doctors, like the Cubans, when our trained doctors leave the country and are working in other countries."

On health policy, Dr Wereko-Brobby said there are many killer diseases including HIV/Aids, which a comprehensive health policy should be able to contain. "Treatment of patients should not be made a political issue. The Chief of Staff should not determine who should benefit from an overseas medical attention. Local doctors should recommend such patient for outside treatment." He said there is nothing wrong for a rich man to send his child to school abroad, but if a minister does that, he has opened himself to public scrutiny and must justify that through the declaration of his assets.

Dr Wereko-Brobby said planning is difficult in the country because rudimentary facts and statistics are unavailable to policy makers and "it is sad to observe that we do not know how many hospitals we are planning for and what the health needs of the people are."

On improving the judicial system, Dr Wereko-Brobby said the courts system must be computerised and that judges need to have research assistants to help them in writing their judgements. He said the Ghana Law Reform Council would be put under contract to review laws that must be acceptable to the Chief Justice.

Dr Wereko-Brobby urged the electorate to vote for his party to run the country on an open government, which would not play "the hide and seek."

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