Dr. Benjamin Bewanyog Kunbuor yesterday made his second appearance before the Appointment Committee of Parliament pledging to provide the leadership at the Ministry of Health that would ensure that every citizen in the country has access to good health care when given the nod as the Minister.
He said in doing so he would be fair, firm and bold to take decisions that would be in the best interest of the nation. The Deputy Minister of Health was responding to questions from the 25-member legislative Committee chaired by Edward Doe Adjaho, the first Deputy Speaker of Parliament, when he appeared before it to be vetted for the position of substantive Minister.
The elevation of Dr. Kunbuor followed the resignation of the former Minister, Dr George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, over the Mabey and Johnson bribery allegations. Dr Kunbuor who had appeared before the committee for vetting as a deputy Minister earlier in the year appeared to have won the admiration of the committee with his calmness and display of knowledge of the sector as he answered the questions with ease and forthrightness.
The 52-year-old legal expert told the committee that the Health Ministry was endowed with lots of technical experts and had a complex programme of action to which he needed to complement with good leadership.
Dr Kunbuor said he would build the right mutual respect and cordiality that would inspire and bring out the best from the players in the sector. In a jovial mood Dr Kunbuor explained that in doing so, he would not take up stethoscope to pretend to be a clinician but would leave that to the experts.
On the question of exorbitant fees being charged by nurses’ training schools, Dr Kunbuor regretted that it was a unilateral decision taken by the school authorities. He explained that he had written a letter to the schools concerned to refrain from charging the unapproved fees.
Dr Kumbuor said the Ministry was expanding facilities to increase enrolment in health institutions to produce the human resources required to deliver health services.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to the one time premium payment under the National Health Insurance Scheme as well as efforts to reduce infant and maternal mortality towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal. He said the ministry would work to sustain the confidence of Ghanaians on the Health Insurance Scheme.
On the question of perception by some people in the Eastern Region that the Anti-Retrieval Therapy drugs for AIDS sufferers had expired Dr Kunbuor explained that there was the need for further investigation to establish that.
Dr Kunbuor said that surveillance had been intensified to rid the country of fake drugs when he was question over World Health Organization’s estimate that 25 per cent of drugs in the sub-region were faked. Known to be a cigarette smoke, Dr Kunbuor caused laughter when he told the committee that he was committed to a tobacco free society and that he had given up the habit of smoking saying, “a member of the House can attest to that”.
Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, a nominee for Minister of State at the Presidency, also appeared before the committee.
The 42-year-old former student of Datus Commercial College claimed that 80 per cent of landguards were armed robbers, adding “if we can eradicate landguards, then we will live in peace.”
As the vetting was over and the “Lion” roared out of the Speaker’s block, sizeable number of supporters and family members met him outside the House, drumming and dancing in appreciation of his nomination and vetting.
Source: The Ghanaian Times
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