Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion and present the Report of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, in accordance with article 103 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the former Minister for Health, Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh on 22nd July, 2011 laid before the House, the Public Health Bill, 2011 Pursuant to article 106 of the Constitution and Standing Orders 125 and 178, Madam Speaker referred the Bill to the Committee on Health for consideration and report to the august House.
2.0 Consideration of the Bill
The Committee on Health as part of its mandate under article 106 (4) of the Constitution of Ghana and Standing Orders 125 and 178 published in the media requests for Written memoranda on the Bill. The Committee provided organizations which presented memoranda the opportunity to defend their proposals.
The Committee further "held several meetings with stakeholders in the health sector to examine the Bill in detail. The Committee is grateful to the following for their inputs and support during the deliberations: V
1. The former Minister for Health, Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh.
2. The Chief Executives, Food and Drugs Board.
3. Officials of the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service.
4. Officials from the Attorney-General's Department.
3. Reference documents -
The Committee made reference to the following documents during deliberation on the Bill: 1
1. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
2. The Standing Orders of the - Parliament of Ghana.
3. Memoranda from the public.
4. The Public Health Bill, 2011.
It is obligatory that all governments throughout the world promote and ensure that their citizens obtain good health care. However, most ordinances on good health care in Ghana were enacted in the colonial era and are not responsive to current health needs. It has therefore, become imperative that all these colonial legislations scattered in various enactments be repealed to satisfy current health care needs.
The enactments are the Mosquito Ordinance, 1911 (CAP 75), the Infectious Diseases Ordinance, 1908 (CAP 78) and the Quarantine Ordinance in 1915 (CAP 77). They cover infectious diseases,
mosquito, quarantine, vaccination, public nuisance and tobacco, food and drugs. Legislation is also being proposed on issues of tobacco smoking, food and drinks, patient's rights, international public health law, communicable and non- communicable diseases as well as environmental sanitation due to the health threats associated with them.
The Bill - further encapsulates international laws enacted and ratified by countries worldwide to ensure equity, social justice, public education and awareness as Well as a holistic attitude to health. The international instruments include: The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Right of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. Overall, the Bill seeks to bring together colonial enactments on infectious diseases, mosquitoes, quarantine, Vaccination, public nuisance and modern laws on tobacco, food and medicines. It further captures international laws to ensure that We come on level terms with other countries in the world in terms of health care.
5.0 Object of the Bill
The object of the Bill is to: promote public health and well- being;
strengthen public health infrastructure; provide essential public health services.and functions;
identify roles and responsibilities of the public health agencies; encourage communities to create and maintain a healthy environment;
support programmes and campaign intended to improve public health; educate individuals about public health risks; provide for the early detection of diseases and other public health hazards;
respond effectively to public health emergencies;
require regular reporting and accountability for public health agencies;
provide fair and appropriate penalties for contravention of the provisions of the Bill; and respect individual rights.
6.0 Contents of the Bill
The Bill is divided into (9)parts
and 174 clauses. The various parts capture the following issues:
1. Part One (Clause 1 to 19) This part spells out how communicable diseases should be handled. It indeed specifies how infected areas should be cordoned off and how houses in such areas should be marked. It further indicates how persons removed from such areas would be compensated.
2. Part Two (Clause 20 to 39) This part deals with vaccination. It provides generally for the appointment of public vacinators (Medical Officers) and their functions. It further spells-out vaccines for children and adults as well as those that are compulsory.
3. Part Three (Clause 34 to 39) - Part three regulates measures to be taken to prevent the introduction of an infectious or contagious diseases into the country. It also indicates how persons with such diseases when identified can be quarantined and treated to prevent further spread of the disease.
4. Part Four (Clause 40 to 49) ' The destruction of vector constitutes an important aspect of malaria control. This part therefore spells out how premises should be kept to prevent situations that would encourage breeding of mosquitoes. It also provides for penalties for breaches of the law and the power of the Minister to make Regulations.
5. Part Five (Clause 50 to 57) Environmental sanitation is essential for the Wellbeing of all persons. This part therefore, covers the selling of unwholesome food, noxious trade and damping of garbage in authorized places.
6. Part Six (Clause 58 to 79) Considering the harm that tobacco smoking has on the human body and the steady rise in the use of tobacco by the youth, Part Six provides for the prohibition of smoking in public places, tobacco advertisement, issuing of health warnings on cigarette packs among others-