Business News of 2014-03-20

Peasant farmers demand access to health care

Peasant farmers in the Gushegu District have demanded that adequate health infrastructure be put up to address the challenges of accessing health care by small-holder farmers in remote areas in the district.

They also demanded that the National Health Insurance Authority make it possible for farmers to register and renew their health insurance with ease.

This was contained in a petition presented by members of the Gushegu branch of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) to the authorities of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the District Health Directorate at Gushegu on Tuesday.

The presentation of the petition was preceded by a durbar and a procession of farmers through Gushegu carrying placards with inscriptions such as Farmers health, key to agricultural productivity, No food, no health, role of farmers, our rights, our health, our hope.

The event was sponsored by STAR-Ghana, a multi donor funding agency. Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, Chairman of the Zinindo Farmers of PFAGwho presented the petition, said poor roads to health centres and inadequate health facilities had contributed to denying farmers access to health care.

Mr Ibrahim said poor attitude of some health service providers towards farmers also tended to put them off from accessing health care at clinics thereby making them to resort to herbal medicine and self-medication.

He said the situation was worrying and called for urgent steps to reverse the trend by putting up more health facilities and sensitizing health providers to give fair treatment to all patients.

Madam Victoria Adongo, Programmes Coordinator of PFAG, called on the Ghana Health Service to enforce the Patients Charter to ensure that the rights of farmers were respected adding punitive measures should be put in place to ensure that no health service provider violates the Patients Charter.

Madam Adongo said small-holder farmers supply food needs of the country, providing raw materials for industry and create jobs and they must therefore receive quality health care.

She called on farmers to subscribe to the NHIS and regularly renew their subscription. Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Yakubu, Gushegu District Director of Health Services, described farmers as partners in health because nutrition was important in health care delivery and called for collaboration with farmers to fight malnutrition.

Alhaji Yakubu urged health service providers to be courteous and offer fair treatment to all patients. Peasant farmers in the Karaga District also held a similar durbar and procession and presented similar petition to the health authorities in the District.

Source: GNA
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