been made and now, we are almost at the verge of getting certification as a country that we are no longer a guinea worm in- fected area and this is something that we have to pride ourselves in.
But we cannot just be quiet because of these achievements or this achievement that we have been able to chalk and say that everything is rosy.
Mr Speaker, if we look at the Budget Statement taking from paragraphs 736 all the way to paragraph 743, we would all agree that conscious effort is being made to make sure that infrastructure is provided at rural areas, hinterlands, areas that really require them. But with the major chal- lenge that we all had in 2013, we are still proud to say that, many district hospitals have come on board.
As someone who has paid more atten- tion to the health sector, I will still say that despite all that we have done, it is still not enough. I say so because you visit facili- ties like Ridge, Maamobi, La, Korle-Bu, Komfo Anokye, even Bekwai, and even Manhyia Hospital within the catchment area of Asawase Constituency, if you see the number of people coming very far away just to access health in these facili- ties, it will just tell you that as a country, we still have a long way to go.
That is because so far as we are not able to provide enough infrastructure close, such that people, within an hour, could reach a health facility, we would be confronted with most of the challenges that we have.
Mr Speaker, this is where I would want to agree with my Hon Colleague, Hon Dr Twum-Nuamah when he said that, most of our consultations are in the urban centre. Mr Speaker, whereas in Accra it takes 35 minutes drive from anywhere you are within the Greater-Accra Region --within
35 minutes, you can get to a health centre.
Mr Speaker, in the Upper West, North- ern Regions, Central Region, most of the regions, it will take two hours before you get to the nearest facility. This is a very challenging statistics and in many of the regions, you have varying durations. That is why we must continue to do whatever we can, like promises that were made for 2014 to complete some critical facilities across our country is welcome news and we would want to urge the Ministry to continue to make all the efforts that they can, to ensure that we have many of these facilities across our country.
Mr Speaker, lastly, human resource. This is where we have the most challenge. If you look at the number of doctors, num- ber of nurses, number of the allied health personnel that we have in our country, yes, they are not enough. We should not be having some of the challenges that we are having. But why are we having these levels of challenges?
Refusal to go to the hinterland. You have too many doctors, not because Ko- rle-Bu is having enough. If all of us have to go to Korle-Bu Hospital, Korle-Bu will never be able to take all the pressures. If all of us have to go to Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, no matter the infra- structure that we put at Komfo Anokye, we will not be able to take all the pressures. In much the same way, the doctors, the nurses and the health professionals, I would want to use this opportunity to plead with the Ghana Health Service --
They told us that they were doing the index that will enable them distribute this human resource across our country evenly in an equitable manner. Mr Speaker, I be- lieve that this is long overdue because so long as we continue to have this distortion, no matter how many we train, if they are not willing to go closer to our people, it would be impossible to provide the health delivery system that we all expect.
We must not make a privilege that you
only have to be in an urban centre. You only have to be closer to major cities to be able to access quality healthcare.
Mr Speaker, lastly, very, very lastly, Regulation. For the past four years, this House has made conscious efforts to the Ministry of Health to pass many regula- tory Acts. The implementation of these regulatory Acts require all of our support.
Very recently, we were hearing in the media the issue about drugs or medicines that have come into the country that were not certified and the hullabaloo about it. If you take the Public Health Act which was passed in this House in 2012, you would see clearly no person has any business even bringing any medicine to our shores when it has not yet been certified. You have to get certification before you even import.
No bad person shall even put a med- icine where it has not been certified, no matter -- Even if it has been certified, where you are going to put it has to be certified too.
Mr Speaker, we are having these chal- lenges. We believe it is surmountable. We believe that our borders are porous. We believe that our neighbours may not be where we are, but we should all pride ourselves and continue to improve the sys- tem. This is because, whereas we would want very good medicine, we would not want the opportunity for people to bring counterfeit or fake drugs into our country to confuse the populace such that when you go to the hospital, you need to be looking at the medicine to ask in which country is it coming from?
I believe that these are real challenges and as a House and as a people, we must support these regulatory agencies. It is not only Food and Drugs Authority; you have the institutions and facilities that are supposed to regulate all facilities across the country. We are supposed to support even the new Ambulance Council to en-
sure that the kind of Ambulance Service that we have is of good quality.
Mr Speaker, I believe that this Budget gives a lot of hope for the future. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that whatever is promised in the Budget is adhered to, we follow it and I will urge the Committee on Health to follow closely during the estimates debate, that most of the issues that are mentioned in the main find expression in the estimates for imple- mentation in 2014.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for this op- portunity.