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Highlights of the state of the nation address

President John Mahama pays tribute to slain Abuakwa North MP Joseph Boakye Danquah Jnr. JB was a gentleman who walked away from every conversation with a smile. JB’s absence in this house is both seen and felt. Ghana has lost a true son. He asks Parliament to observe a minute silence.

Education
54,800 children in 4 regions have been enrolled into schools under the Compulsory Education program.
Free supplies of uniforms, sandals and text books. In June 2015, he says he distributed 10,000 Made in Ghana sandals as part of his social interventions. Textbooks were printed in Ghana under government directive. 1,400 new direct jobs were created as a result, he says.

Government has introduced two new programs in Education: Teacher Professional Development where the aim is to train 95% of teachers in Basic level by 2020

Under the Provision of Teaching and Learning Materials, about 10,000 school supplies have been distributed 30,000 teachers trained in ICT.

He says the over 200 community Day Schools being built will create 200,000 new places in the SHS system. This he says is the biggest ever expansion of education in the entire history of Ghana.

Mahama says enrollment in tertiary education has been 6.3% for university education and 8.9 for polytechnics. 816 direct jobs have been created from the University of Health and Allied Science in Ho which government has set up and has admitted over 800 students.

Government is on course to build one university in each region, Mahama states. Six polytechnics have been shortlisted to be transformed into universities. Abolishing of qouta systems in teacher training colleges has increased enrollments. Government has removed allowances to pays to teacher trainee students which has helped it to admit more students. Government is to set up the first Islamic Teacher Training College.

Health sector
Ghanaians are living 14 years longer than average life expectancy at the country’s independence. We are poised to invest in the treatment of diseases through lifestyle choices – hypertension, diabetes. There is a technical committee to re-design the National Health Insurance Scheme. In 2015 11.2 million people used the NHIS. This is an “undeniable pattern of confidence” in the use of NHIS. Government wants to make medication affordable to all Ghanaians. More than 50million cedis has been disbursed to local Pharmaceutical companies and duties on imports of raw materials for the local production of drugs have been removed. Tobinco Group, Ernest Chemist have all benefitted.

There is a need to return physical education to the academic ciurriculm, he says. In December 2015, 12 died from Yellow Fever and there was an outbreak of meningitis. Ghana is working to prevent the introduction of the Zika virus.

Under his government, over 2 billion dollars has been invested in Health infrastructure. More than 6,000 beds are to be added to hospitals and health centers by 2018. He lists infrastructural developments in the health sector. Construction of University hospital at Legon, expansion of Police hospital and Tamale Teaching Hospital. He mentions a number of 60-bed hospitals being built in some districts. 12-bed intensive care unit has been refurbished and equipped at Korle-Bu.

Volta Regional hospital into a modern teaching hospital to help the University of Health and Allied Science train students.
Umar Mamud Moctar was a farm hand but through government intervention his dream to work as a health care professional has been realised. This gentleman might probably save your life one day. He picks out Mercy who was able to access healthcare because a modern polyclinic was built in her community where she delivered her twins.

HIV/AIDS prevalence is now 28% from 32% of transmission through breastfeeding. Affirmative Action Bill is among some social protection bills to be presented to Parliament this year. About 14,000 cards have been issued to the elderly in seven regions under the LEAP programme. He said more than 2 million people in Ghana are disabled hence it is unwise and unconscionable for government to turn a blind eye on disabilities. Disability grant is to increase from 2% to 3% while other employment opportunity programmes like in animal husbandry are being rolled out for disabled in society.

Mahama says he is the first president to visit the prisons. Government is building a new prison block to decrease congestion.Under LEAP about 144,980 households have received monies on a monthly basis. A 42-year old woman Zenabu is an example of a LEAP beneficiary who has invested her LEAP grant into animal husbandry. With one piglet, she now has 10. She is able to buy enough food for her household and take care of her family since her husband passed away.

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