Health News of Friday, 20 July 2012

Source: GNA

‘Civil Society should support Govt. in enforcing PHB’

Mr. Muntaka M. Mubarak, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health has called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to partner the Ministry of Health (MOH) in enforcing and educating the public on the Public Health Bill (PHB).

Speaking at a press conference Thursday in Accra on the passage of the PHB, Mr. Mubarak said although the MOH have been given the mandate to educate the public on the implications of this law, it was mandatory for everyone to help implement it.

He explained that MOH through the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority and the Police Service would facilitate the enforcement of the PHB.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawanse Constituency in the Ashanti Region said any one who breaches the public health bill would face three years imprisonment or pay GH?75000 penalty units as a legal sanction.

Mr. lssah Ali, Executive Director of Vision for Alternative Development, expressed his gratitude to President John Evans Atta Mills for his government’s dedication and commitment leading to the passage of the bill.

“We in the Civil Society organization will continue to protect and defend any public policy of government that seeks to enhance the living standards of Ghanaians and people living in Ghana. Any attempt by the tobacco industry to interfere in the Presidential assent and the implementation of the Public Health Bill, especially the Tobacco Control Measures, will be vehemently countered and exposed”, he added.

Mr. Ali urged government to increase budget allocation through tax increment on tobacco products in order to effectively implement the PHB.

He therefore appealed to the Food and Drugs Board and the Ghana Health Service to immediately commence consultation with NGOs and other relevant stakeholders on the development of a national action plan to implement the Tobacco Control Measures of the PHB.

On his part, Dr. Iddrissu Sow, the Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), congratulated Parliament and Government of Ghana for the achievements in the area of public health protection adding that “this is one of the greatest accomplishments that a country can achieve”.

He said WHO is willing and ready to collaborate with all development Partners, Non – Government Organizations (NGOs) and the Civil Society, to support Government to develop regulations as soon as possible.

The press conference was organized by the Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).**