Kamis, 26 Januari 2012


Story: Zainabu Issah

THE 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), defines reproductive health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.’

Reproductive health, therefore, implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
This implies that men and women have the right to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law. Women also need to have access to appropriate healthcare services that will enable them to go safely through pregnancy and child birth and have healthy children.

Promoting sexual reproductive health rights and services is critical for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, which respectively relate to reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. In order to achieve this, the government adopted the MDG indicators and developed a Reproductive Health Strategic Plan, in 2007, originally spanning a four-year period but now extended to 2013.

The plan has six strategic objectives which seeks to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality, reduce neonatal morbidity and mortality, enhance and promote reproductive health, increase contraceptive prevalence through promotion of access and quality of family planning services, develop and implement cross-cutting measures to ensure access and quality of reproductive health services, and enhance and promote community and family activities, practices and values that improve reproductive health.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, the outgoing regional Chairman of the Ghana Coalition of Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) in Health, Mr Eric Kwabena Agbozo, said it was unfortunate that a number of women die from preventable deaths, some through unsafe abortions, while others suffer disabilities each year due to preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
The meeting was held to sensitise the media and the general public to the coalition’s initiatives and the need for young and old women to be cautious of their health issues.

It was also aimed at encouraging the government to work to improve sexual and reproductive health service and also make the corresponding funding available in line with targets set in the Health Service Medium Term Development Plan 2010-2013 programme.

Mr Agbozo stressed the need to promote accountability and transparency in the health sector with emphasis on sexual and reproductive health services and rights, adding “Saving women's lives in childbirth requires relatively inexpensive and known interventions at the clinical level - not fancy hospitals, new technologies or scientific breakthroughs”.


Story: Zainabu Issah.
THE Deputy Minister of Communication, Mr Ernest Attuqaye Armah, has called for the deployment of a robust Internet security to handle the country’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) drive.
That he said would go a long way to curb online fraud which is threatening the smooth development of ICT in the country.
Mr Armah made the call  at the launch of Google Ghana’s “Africa Get Your Business Online” initiative for the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Accra.
The initiative is expected to transform the Ghanaian SME landscape and also contribute to the country’s fastest paced economic growth by making it easy for businesses to register online.
It will also allow businesses in the country to have the opportunity to create their own websites and develop an online presence for free.
He expressed that the government remained committed to facilitating policy developments aimed at promoting ICT education and development programmes in the country.
He also advised Ghanaians in the SME sector to address the challenges of Internet access they faced in order to capitalise on the potential of the digital economy and contribute to Ghana’s economic and social development.
The Google Ghana Country Manager, Madam Estelle Akofio-Sowah, recommended the utilisation of the initiative to experience the convenience of technology.
The initiative was successfully launched in Nigeria and Kenya in 2011, with over 20,000 going online in the first two months.


Rabu, 25 Januari 2012


Story: Zainabu Issah
THE General Legal Council will soon come up with a blueprint on the establishment of faculties of Law in the country.
This is to ensure that excellence and standards are not sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity as a result of the proliferation of institutions that train lawyers in the country.
The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, said plans were far advanced to organise a stakeholders’ conference on the future of legal education in Ghana, particularly with regard to the admission of Law graduates to the Ghana School of Law.
The Chief Justice made this known in a speech read on her behalf by a Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, at the inauguration of the 21-member council of the Mountcrest University College and the matriculation ceremony of the first batch of students of the college in Accra on Saturday.
The council of the university college is under the chairmanship of Professor Emeritus William Cornelius Ekow-Daniels, a distinguished lawyer.
  The Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Mountcrest University College, Professor Emeritus A. Kodzo Paaku Kludze, administered the matriculation oath.
The university college was established on November 1,  2011 with 190  students, comprising 162 undergraduates in Law, Public Health and Health Service Management and 28 postgraduates in Law, Public
Health and Health Service Management.
Mrs Justice Wood said it was the expectation of the General Legal Council that the proliferation of Law faculties in the country would impact positively on the standard of legal education in the country.
“The General Legal Council will insist and ensure that standards are not sacrificed for mediocrity and it will also not hesitate to curb any excesses that may lead to the lowering of standards,” she stressed.
She said the establishment of the Mountcrest University College provided a breakthrough of opportunities at the higher educational level unknown in the history of tertiary education development.
“It is also a historic landmark to note that the first private tertiary institution in Law is offering programmes at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels,” she said.
The Chief Justice expressed appreciation for the fact that the Faculty of Law at the Mountcrest University College had a world-class teaching faculty capable of producing and competent enough to produce first-class Law graduates who would be the pride of the nation.
“The persons and varied qualifications and experience they bring on board the council of the Mountcrest University College gives me the assurance that it is set to be the university college to beat and will progress steadily to the stage of maturity where it will give its own degrees and certificates sooner than the average university college currently takes to mature,” she added.
 A former Director of Ghana Law School and Proprietor of the Mountcrest University College, Mr Kwaku Ansa-Asare, said, “History is not only being made but, indeed, has been made. This is the first time in the annals of tertiary education in Ghana that a couple has established a university college proudly and wholly Ghanaian.”
He was optimistic that the proprietors had laid a solid foundation for the council of the university college to move the institution to gain international repute and global recognition in the short, medium and long term. 
 “We believe we have hit the ground running already. We have given the students a world-class teaching faculty and there can be no doubt whatsoever that teaching so far has won the commendation of the students,” he said
Mrs Sylvia Welbeck, who spoke on behalf of the matriculants, said expectations were high from the students to set higher academic standards for future students to emulate.
She lauded the efforts of the  proprietors for their courage to bring their ideas into fruition.



Story: Zainabu Issah

MORE than 500 illegal structures along the Kwame Nkrumah Circle railway line were on Thursday demolished  following the three-day notice by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).

The notice came after fire gutted the area on Sunday, January 5, 2012, destroying properties worth millions of cedis.

The demolition exercise which started at about 6:00 a.m. saw the destruction of wooden structures built by the inhabitants.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, a resident who has stayed in the area for almost to 20 years said the three-day notice by the AMA was not enough.

He added that most of the squatters  in the area were mostly the poor who could not afford decent housing.

“We cannot afford to pay huge rents and most of us here come from afar and this serves as a place of refuge for us,” he explained.

He, however, pleaded with the government to make immediate housing provisions for them as they had now been thrown out onto the streets.

The aftermath of the demolition exercise in circle.

“We have no where to go and are also currently homeless. We want the government to provide us with houses or we will sleep on the streets,” he stressed.

Residents have also threatened to burn any ballot box that would be brought to the area for voting during the December elections.

The Mayor of Accra, Mr Alfred Vandapuje, pledged to keep a close eye on the area to prevent future usage.

He said the decision to demolish the structures was of national interest and very necessary.

“We will monitor and make sure that no one will use the area as a place of refuge,” he added.

The Greater Accra Minister, Mr Nii Armah Ashiety, said he would collaborate with the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to come to the aid of affected persons and alleviate their plight.



Story: Sebastian Syme & Zainabu Issah
A WOMEN Empowerment Fellowship (WEF), an organisation of women engaged in philanthropic work with the mandate to support orphans and other underprivileged persons in society has been launched in Accra.
WEF is a service arm of the church which commenced two years ago has a membership of more than 40 women entrepreneurs, professional women who use their time, resources and effort  in fulfilment of God’s mission.
It has an 11-member executive with Mrs Sonia Antwi, a business woman as its founder.
The fellowship renders philanthropic services in three dimensions which are giving of  personal resources, giving of their time and commitment to the service of mankind and giving love to a wicked and perverse world in the time when love does not seem to exist among the people.
The General Overseer of the Fountain Gate Chapel, Reverend Eastwood Anaba, who held a brief sermon ahead of the inauguration, congratulated the women behind the formation of the WEF noting that it took a brave and courageous woman like Mrs  Antwi to form such a grouping.
He said just as Christ was able to feed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread so shall the activities of the WEF reach out to the thousands who were in need adding that there was no shortage of needs in the world except that very few people seemed to have excess goodies to the neglect of the poor and underprivileged.
Quoting one classic display of compassion in Matthew 14:13-20 Rev. Anaba said compassion was not a character or an attitude that was formally learnt and practiced but a spiritual grace which produced in the inner man as a result of our relationship with Christ.
“If you are moved with compassion you can never rest until the beneficiaries of grace are fully satisfied.”
Rev. Anaba asked for God’s blessings and favour upon the WEF leadership to weather the storm in the task ahead and urged husbands to support their wives in the women empowerment drive.
A former Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, Mrs Gladys Asmah, pledged her support for the fellowship and lauded them for their courage as she called on them not to relent in their drive to support the less privileged.
The WEF among its initiatives include the adoption and refurbishment of the first floor of the Children’s Block of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the adoption and renovation of the Isolation Ward of the 37 Military Hospital and donations to orphanages.


Story: Zainabu Issah

POLICE yesterday prevented squatters whose unauthorised structures were demolished because they were cited close to the railway lines at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra from embarking on street protest.
The demonstrators, who said they intended to use the protest to project their plight after their structures and properties were destroyed as part of the demolition exercise by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), held cutlasses and  placards.
Wearing red dresses and arm bands, they chanted war songs and shouted “No Vote, no vote, Vanderpuije must go.”  The persistent crowd which stretched from the circle to the railway line.
Explaining why the demonstrators were not allowed, the Head of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) of the Ghana Police Service, Mr Philip Lamptey, described the demonstration as illegal, hence their decision to prevent the demonstrators from taking to the street.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, a resident who gave his name as Osei Nsiah said he had been homeless and has been sleeping in the open for the past four days.
In his tattered clothes he explained that all his belongings were burnt to ashes after his structure had been demolished and was prevented from salvaging any of his belongings.
“I have toiled all my life and bought a lot of personal belongings ready to be sent to my family in my hometown but all were lost in the demolition. I am now homeless and what is left of me is what l am wearing,”
Mr Nsiah added that it was unfair on the part government of Ghana to provide housing for refugees from Liberia who have now taken over the country.
“Liberians now own parcels of lands in the country while Ghanaians are suffering because we do not have anywhere to turn to. Our own land has been given to Liberians and they are now enjoying the fruit of peace in this country while we, the citizens, are being thrown out of our homes,” he said.
Mr Osei explained further that the perception that residents at the railway line were criminals and hence needed to be ejected was not true.
He said they worked as any other Ghanaian in this country and also contributed their quota to national development.
“The AMA collects taxes from us when we sell our produce in the market and we also pay rent for staying here. Why then are we being treated as enemies in our own country when we all contribute equally to nation building?” he stressed.
Mr Nsiah, however, made it known that residents would not vote during the December elections and also threatened to smear blood should any political party approach them for support.
“ Since we have been treated as non citizens of this country we will equally exhibit our position during the upcoming elections,” he said.
Another female resident recalling the unfortunate incident in tears said all her belongs have been burnt.
She said, she sustained burns on some parts of her body when she tried to retrieve some of her valuable items during the demolition.
She however pleaded with the government to immediately offer them some support to alleviate their plight.
Resident also threatened to start stealing in the markets if they found it hard to support themselves.



Story: Zainabu Issah
THE National Coordinator of the Tertiary Education Students Chapter (TESCHART) of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) , Mr Fredrick Opoku, has asked the Mayor of Accra , Mr Alfred Vandapuji, to resign in the next seven days.
That, he said, followed the demolition of over 500 illegal structures along the railway line near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle last week.
“Mr Vandapuje has demonstrated his usual total contempt for the plight of the vulnerable in society, throwing thousands of women and children onto the streets and making them homeless, jobless and incapable of furthering their education  or providing for their need,” he said at a press conference in Accra.
He added that the forceful removal of people from their homes without proper planning like what had happened to the poor and voiceless at Odawna, was a clear human rights violation which sought to deny victims their rights to housing and security of tenure as demanded by the constitution of the country.
As stipulated in the international law on housing such as the Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) which the government was party to, he said, the country was obliged to respect and follow procedure before undertaking any eviction .
Mr Opoku said there was also the need to have alternative means of livelihood to be provided through compensation or relocation of the evictees.
He recalled that close to 950 children had prematurely ended their education because their parents had been deprived of their livelihoods.
“Over 1,650 women are today thrown out of their homes and now eager to enter any indecent trade to make a living.
“ This we highly believe, majority of these homeless women will be involved in selling their bodies to have three square meals a day,” he added.
Furthermore, he said, close to 400 men had been rendered homeless by the action and the possibility of involving themselves in indecent activities such as robbery and other unacceptable social vices.
Mr Opoku also stressed that the mayor had failed in the exercise of his duties and had consistently, after the demolition exercise, received verbal virtipulations from the public including some important public officials in the country.
He added that the CPP would not sit unconcerned to the massacre of the people in the country and was also unfortunate that public servants were happy to see the poor suffer.


Story: Zainabu Issah.

MUSLIMS have been advised to desist from actions that would brand the Islamic religion as a violent one.
They have  also been urged to practise the religion to the understanding of non-believers and preach the message of peace wherever they find themselves.
The leader of the Tinjanniya Council of Ghana, Sheikh Abdul Ahmed Faidi, made this known at the annual birthday celebration of the founder of the Tinjanniya Muslim Movement, Sheikh Ahmed Tinjanni, at Prang in the Brong Ahafo Region.
He said this in relation to the ongoing conflict between Muslims in the northern part of Nigeria and Christians which has now made Islam to be perceived as a violent religion.
“You need to understand and practise the religion as it should because Islam is about peace,” he said.
He also called on the government to put up structures and evolve policies that would create a platform for the youth to exhibit their potential and also serve the country.
The flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, assured Muslims of good governance and leadership when voted into power.
He also called for peace to prevail amongst Muslims and urged them to participate fully in the upcoming voters registration exercise in order to have the mandate to vote.
“I urge you all to participate in the upcoming voter registration exercise and vote for the NPP for a better future,” he said.
He also gave a pledge to help integrate Arabic education into secular education to broaden the minds of non-Muslims about the Islamic religion.
The Chief of Prang, Nana Kojo Nyarko, stressed the need for the government to help improve the lives of the people in the community.
He said the community lacked health facilities and water supply.
“We do not have a hospital in the community and the people rely on the Prang River as a source of drinking water,” he stressed.

He recollected an incident in which some residents drowned in the river in an attempt to fetch water and the difficulty residents faced in accessing quality health care as a result of lack of a medical facility.
Nana Nyarko pleaded with the government to make health care and potable water available to the people in the community.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kojo Nyamekye Marfo, assured the people of the community of potable water supply and healthcare facility when the National Democratic Congress  (NDC) was voted into power again.
The annual Maulid celebrations offer Muslims an opportunity to interact with Islamic scholars and to also have a deeper understanding of the practices and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) and to promote unity and good interpretation of the Holy Quran.


STORY: Zainabu Issah

FINATRADE Group Company Limited has called on the Food and Drugs Board (FDB)  to be fair to Sucatrade, a member of the group, in relation to the destruction of 1,000 chicken parts.
The call is in relation to a statement signed by the acting Deputy Chief Executive (Food) of the board, Mr John Odame-Darkwah, stating that through its routine monitoring activities, the FDB found that Sucatrade had unwholesome chicken parts stored in its bulk cold storage facility.
The group claimed that it was unfair to lump together the chicken parts and torn cartons in cake form which were found packed discretely on the bare floor and against the walls of the cold room in two large heaps.
The FDB claimed that the storage of the said chicken parts under those unhygienic conditions contravened Part 1 Section 7 of the FDB Law, which states, “Any person who sells, prepares, packages, conveys, stores or displays for sale any food under insanitary conditions commits an offence.”
It noted that results of laboratory analysis of the chicken parts indicated heavy contamination by some bacteria whose heavy presence rendered the chicken parts unwholesome for human consumption.
The lawyer for FINATRADE, Mr Robert  Nii Arday Clegg, who made the appeal for fairness, noted that in the last quarter of 2011, Sucatrade imported some chicken products into the country from Tyson Foods in the United States of America (USA), adding that some of the  products which had been packaged got damaged in the process of transporting them to the warehouse.
The damaged cartons were duly packed together at a very conspicuous part of the warehouse where anyone could notice them upon entry.
“This is not the attitude of a company that intends to hide damaged goods, as the FDB stated in its press release,” he said.
He added that the cold chain was not broken and the products in the damaged boxes were set aside in the open part at the customs bonded warehouse, where officials of the Customs Division had keys and control, and not a single carton had been sold or was intended to be sold to customers.
However, the FDB’s press release, which made reference to 1,000 cartons, representing 0.4 per cent of the imported chicken, said the 1,000 cartons were part of a consignment of 250,000 cartons from the same source, Tyson foods.
Also, the 1,000 cartons which had been set aside as described were packed away from the huge volumes that were in unbroken packaging and hence not a single piece of the chicken in the 1,000 cartons group had been sold to the general public.
Mr Clegg stated further that the FDB’s press release omitted that the officers who visited the said warehouse knew about the unbroken cartons which far exceeded the ones in damaged packaging.
Additionally, on December 13, 2011, Sucatrade wrote to the FDB requesting it to appprove and supervise the repackaging of the products with the damaged boxes, for which the FDB went back to the warehouse, took three single pieces of chicken parts out of the carton from the 1,000 group (a carton being 10kg containing about 17 to 20 pieces) and took a whole 10kg carton from the 249,000 group for laboratory tests.
On January 12, 2012, a group of persons claiming to be officials from the FDB visited the warehouse again, that time with the mission to destroy chicken products which they said were wholesome.
The officers threatened to forcibly enter the warehouse if they were denied access but the Sucatrade staff insisted on their rights and demanded that the proper documentation be produced.
Mr Clegg, therefore, urged the FDB to set the records straight and put out a new press release telling the story as it was to hopefully redeem the image of Sucatrade, which had been unfairly tarnished.
He also assured customers and consumers that Sucatrade would continue to put up for sale only top quality food products it had come to be identified with.


Story and Picture : Zainabu Issah

HYUNDAI Auto Plaza Limited has distributed educational items and 150 Hyundai-branded balls to the students of the Flagstaff House School, the New Town Experimental Basic School and the La Bawaleshie Primary School in Accra.
The exercise formed part of the second phase of the anti-malaria campaign initiated last year by Hyundai to sensitise Ghanaians to the disease.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hyundai Auto Plaza, Mr Jihad Hijazi, said malaria, aside other non communicable diseases, malaria continued to be the number one killer disease in children.
“It is unfortunate that so many Ghanaian children still die from diseases that are easily preventable and treatable with minimum resource, “ he said.
He said it was time for Ghanaians to focus more on regenerative health and nutrition with particular emphasis on improving health and sanitation and adaptation of safe behaviours in malaria control programmes.
He added that children were the future leaders of the country and hence there was the need to regularly sensitise them to the need to cultivate the habit of having safe and clean environments.
“Children learn fast with practical examples in schools and they are also fast learners when they are thought well,” he explained.
Madam Vivian Addai, a nurse from the Ankam Medical Centre, also entreated the children to report cases of ill health to their parents in order that they could have immediate treatment.
The first phase of the anti malaria campaign started last year with a massive clean up exercise in the Chorkor, Teshie and Nima communities, sensitising them to the need to keep their environments clean.

Published in Daily Graphic on Tuesday  24th January 2012