Parliament will partner with the Red Cross to fight diseases – Speaker
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban S.K. Bagbin, has said that Parliament is willing to partner with the Ghana Red Cross Society to raise awareness of the debilitating impact of non-communicable diseases and to explore regulatory, legal, and policy options to mitigate the hike in the incidence of such diseases.
He was speaking during a courtesy call on him in Accra by the executives of the Ghana Red Cross Society led by its president, Mr. Kwame Gyimah-Akwafo. The visit was to examine ways of working with Parliament on some of the health issues that were of concern to the Society, and that required intensive and sustained awareness creation.
Non-communicable diseases, which are usually diseases of the internal organs, cancers, hypertension, diabetes, Cerebrovascular Accidents (strokes), and stress among others currently account for about 70 percent of morbidity and deaths. Besides, there is a worrying trend where increasingly, the youth are being afflicted by these diseases, which did not use to be the case.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker advised the Red Cross Society not to over-rely on conventional methods for controlling and managing diseases, and the other interventions that the Society makes in the area of health. For example, he said, the development of mainstream media and the expansion of social media have opened up new opportunities for communicating on health and influencing attitudes.
He said more could be done to enhance the health and general well-being of Ghanaians if the Red Cross Society could rekindle the community spirit and sense of camaraderie that it inspired among many Ghanaians who yearned to join the Society in the past. He advised the Red Cross to establish and maintain a mutually beneficial partnership with all segments of society, particularly the various arms of government, to facilitate its work.
Rt. Hon. Bagbin assured the delegation that Parliament is the people’s House, which is well-positioned to support the creation of a thriving national Red Cross Society. In that vein, he said, Parliament will continue to advocate on behalf of Ghanaians.
Mr. Gyimah-Akwafo said most of the non-communicable diseases prevalent among Ghanaians were more as a result of the lifestyle choices of those affected. Issues of diet, the exercising regime of the individual, and other acquired habits are contributory factors to such diseases.
He said there was a gap in the effort of the Red Cross Society to reach out to Ghanaians with the requisite health awareness information, particularly at the regional and district levels. He was persuaded that the role of Members of Parliament in this, given their reach and influence at the constituency level, could be invaluable.
He spoke about other interventions that the Society was engaged in to support health delivery in Ghana and looked forward to a strong partnership with Parliament to ensure that Ghanaians had access to the right health information to guide their choices.
Also at Parliament to pay a courtesy call on the Rt. Hon. Speaker were the executives of the University of Ghana Alumni Association led by its president, Mrs. Doris Ansah. They updated Rt. Hon. Bagbin, who is an alumnus of the university, on the activities of the association and other events planned for this year.
Mr. Speaker pledged his support to the association and promised to participate fully in the upcoming events and to assist with some of the projects that they have earmarked for the University of Ghana.