The 72nd Annual New Year School and Conference has ended with a call on government to establish a health infrastructure fund.
Through such a Fund, resources could be dedicated for the creation of more laboratories, isolation and treatment centres, infectious disease control units, and public health facilities across the country.
A Communique issued at the end of the School said citizenship education on preventive health care in Ghana is ineffective, and recommended that the citizenry should be given the needed education to create more awareness on preventive health care.
It suggested that state agencies such as the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and Information Services Department should carry out regular sensitisation programmes in every community.
“Having come this far since independence, most communities – even in the cities – do not have a reliable water supply,” it said.
“The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Health, should work to ensure the urgent extension of water supply to all health facilities and educational institutions across the country.”
The communique said critical health nurses were woefully inadequate in some districts, regional hospitals and other health centres; hence, the Ministry of Health – through the Ghana Health Service, should establish more critical nurses’ training schools to churn out enough critical nurses for all 16 regions of the country.
With regard to a resilient, self-sufficient economy to withstand global health crises, the communique said implementation of the One District, One Factory (1D 1F) policy is moving at a very slow pace.
It said in order to industrialise more rapidly and build a more resilient, self-sufficient economy, government should speed-up its programme of industrialisation by building more factories, developing technical skills, and a technology-driven supply chain.
It said the country’s economy is largely informal – stating that this had not only weakened revenue mobilization, but also curtailed efforts to collect data on socioeconomic demography of citizens and businesses to provide the needed support.
“Government is, as a result, advised to intensify its digitisation agenda for the Ghanaian economy to make business activities, transactions, and access to basic health care and social amenities easier for the ordinary Ghanaian,” it said.
“Most Ghanaians have difficulties paying for their mortgages. In order to address this challenge, government should engage the Ghana Bankers’ Association to give Ghanaian mortgage holders some moratorium on their loan payments in crisis situations. This could cushion the lower middle-class from economic hardships posed by health crises.”
Concerning ICTs for the provision of inclusive, equitable quality education and lifelong learning, the communique noted that there is inadequate broadband supply in most Ghanaian schools and universities.
It said in order to provide inclusive, equitable and quality teaching and learning environments, government through the Ministry of Education should provide every educational institution with its own broadband.
It stated that most Ghanaian teachers lack ICT skills themselves, let alone being able to impart any such to their students.
It therefore recommended that the Ministry of Education should encourage Colleges of Education in Ghana to make ICT training more effective, with a view to making teacher trainees more equipped with ICT skills to impart to pupils when they were in full -fledged teaching.
It said, in addition, there should be more in-service trainings to build the capacity of teachers who are already teaching ICT in schools.
On sustainable agricultural production systems and resilient agricultural practices, the communique said many jobless Ghanaian youth would had preferred to venture into agriculture instead of idling if they had the financial muscle to invest.
It suggested that to boost agricultural production, the Ministry of Agriculture should resource the youth by providing them with capital to engage in agricultural activities.
It said most Ghanaian farmers experience post-harvest losses – declaring that to reduce these losses, the ministry should put measures in place to reduce post-harvest losses, enhance agro-processing, and encourage the consumption of locally-produced food.
“Because most Ghanaian farmers lack storage facilities for their produce, much of what they harvest goes to waste or is sometimes shipped out to our neighbouring countries,” it said.
“To improve food security, it is recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture increase the food buffer storage capacity across the country, to stop the shipment of food outside Ghana.”