ACCRA, The health authorities in Ghana says an outbreak of the N1 Acute Respiratory Illness is the cause of four deaths within a week at a senior high school in Kumasi, the country’s second biggest city, about 250 kilometres of here.

The deaths took place between Nov 30 and Dec 6 at the Kumasi Academy Senior High School (KUMACA). Government officials say the outbreak began on Nov 30, 2017 and, as at Wednesday, Dec 6, a total of 44 cases, including four deaths, had been reported.

Of the 19 laboratory samples obtained, 12 tested positive for Influenza Type-A, while a report on further tests received Thursday evening confirmed Influenza Type-A N1 2009 pandemic strain.

The situation has now resulted in an attack rate of 14 per 1,000 population with a case fatality rate of 9.1 per cent, said Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang-Manu in Accra Thursday evening.

Addressing a joint media conference involving officials from the Ministries of Health and Education, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ghana Education Service, the Minister added that similar deaths which occurred in April this year at the same school had turned out to be caused by Meningitis Type C.

He said that coupled with the onset of meningitis and some pathological findings observed, initial suspicion on the November outbreak focused on meningitis and Viral Haemorrhagic fevers, which turned out not to be the case.

The stakeholder ministries and agencies were recommending that students should remain on campus to enable the final conclusions on response actions, while the team worked to strengthen surveillance on the condition, the Minister said.

He added that as part of the response measures, the team, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), would take immediate steps to access vaccines and enhance school health at KUMACA and the entire nation.

The team would, among other things, complete all outstanding laboratory investigations and autopsy, as well as intensify public education, sensitise outbreak response at the next Parent-Teacher Association meeting and procure antiviral agents for case management.


IAEA Organizes Workshop on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage for Newcomer Countries in Africa

The IAEA in cooperation with the Government of Ghana organized a Workshop on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage in Accra, from 28 to 30 December 2017.

The Workshop, which was attended by 22 participants from 11 Member States considering launching a nuclear power programme, provided participants with information on the existing international nuclear liability regimes and advised them on the development of national implementing legislation.

To this end, presentations were delivered by experts from the IAEA and members of the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX) on the international nuclear liability regimes, liability during transport and nuclear insurance. The participants also discussed case studies to enable them to understand the practical application of the international nuclear liability regimes.

INLEX was established by the IAEA Director General in 2003 to serve as a forum for the discussion of issues pertaining to nuclear liability and to promote adherence to the relevant international legal instruments.

The Workshop was organized as part of the Agency’s continuing efforts to facilitate the achievement of a global nuclear liability regime that addresses the concerns of all States that might be affected by a nuclear accident with a view to providing appropriate compensation for nuclear damage. Similar events were organized in the past three years for countries in South East Asia, for Caribbean countries, for Pacific Island countries, and for Latin American Countries.

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency

Children with special needs to benefit from LEAP next year

Sumburungu, Mrs Gifty Twum-Ampofo, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (GCSP) on Thursday announced that her Ministry will expand the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme next year to include children with special needs.

The Deputy Minister announced this at Sumburungu, a suburb of Bolgatanga during her working visit to the Upper East Region.

According to her, the expansion was aimed at alleviating the poverty levels of parents of children with special needs go through.

Even if a household is well to do or they have a child who is cerebral palsy or highly autistic, such a child needs to be on LEAP. At least the mother will have a little money to buy diapers, because mothers like that could hardly leave their homes for 24 hours because of the child’s condition

The Deputy Minister who doubles as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Abuakwa North also announced some changes LEAP was embarking on and said some beneficiaries who had been on LEAP for some number of years would be weaned off.

She clarified the decision and said not because a new government has come, so we want to take their names out. No, it is because they may not be as needy as they used to be.

LEAP since its inception in 2008 has supported the aged and vulnerable in society through cash and entrepreneurial support. In the Bolga Municipality, a total of 292 beneficiaries from Dachio, Dubila, Kolbia and Aguusi communities are benefiting from the programme.

Mrs Twum-Ampofo entreated the beneficiaries to prudently utilise the money given to them in order to help improve their livelihoods.

You should use the money for some investments. Those who are into craft works can buy materials to boost their business to improve their standards of living

A beneficiary, Aduko Atogetege said the programme had aided her in taking care of her son’s education up to the JHS level.

Another beneficiary, Ayin-ita Ayarika thanked government for absorbing the cost of registering and renewing their health insurance under the programme.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Packaging is key to government’s industrialisation agenda – Minister

Accra, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, has underscored the importance of the packaging industry saying it is a critical component of industrialisation.

He said packaging, as an integral part of product marketing, was a supply chain function that could not be played out, indicating that it did not only improve the product appeal but also helped to promote the product identity.

Mr Ahenkorah, who was speaking at the commissioning of Fon Packaging Venture, a subsidiary of the Fon Group, in Accra, said packaging was the world’s third largest manufacturing sector next to food and pharmaceuticals.

Fon Packaging is a wholly Ghanaian company that employs innovation and technology in its operation to deliver exceptional packaging solutions to clients.

Mr Ahenkorah said packaging was a key component of government’s export-led industrialisation agenda, which forms a key thematic area in the National Export Strategy.

He said government was, therefore, committed to providing the necessary support for the industry to improve export.

He said packaging was critical to industrialisation, which was the world’s third largest manufacturing sector next to food and pharmaceuticals.

Mr Ahenkorah, therefore, implored the management to keep expanding in readiness for the Government’s One District, One Factory initiative to create jobs for the people.

He said government had, therefore, embarked on a comprehensive industrial transformation and private sector development by implementing a 10-point development agenda, adding that packaging played the central role in all these initiatives.

Mr Emmanuel Ntim, the General Manager of Fon Packaging Venture, said the company provided its clients with high-quality products that offered real value for money.

We believe that technology and innovation is key to our achievements, he said.

Mr Ntim said the company was consistently upgrading its packaging equipment and sourcing high quality raw materials, which would help scale up its market share to better serve its growing clientele.

Mr Fredrick Ntim, the Chairman of Fon Group, commended his business partners for the continuous engagement and support to move the packaging industry forward.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ministry of Trade and Industry launches Made-in-Ghana Street Fair

Accra, The Ministry of Trade and Industry has partnered Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to launch the maiden edition of the Made-in-Ghana Street Fair in Accra to promote Ghanaian goods and reduce the dependence on imported ones.

The fair would also help to stimulate the demand for local products while ensuring quality and durability of Made-in-Ghana goods and services, as well as promote the adoption of high standards in the production, processing and distribution channel.

It is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17, and would be held on the Osu Oxford Street to create awareness of the availability of quality Ghanaian products.

It is also expected to attract more than 50,000 patrons and would be inaugurated and opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Mr Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, launched the Fair with Professor Alex Dodoo, the Executive Director of GSA on Friday.

Mr Ahenkorah said other partners including the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, the National Board for Small Scale Industries and the Association of Ghana Industries were collaborating with the Ministry to organise the Fair, which would be an annual event and would go beyond the Greater Accra Region.

The Fair, with side attractions including music festival, cultural show, outdoor events and a float, seeks to make Made-In-Ghana products the desired choice for majority of consumers in the country, expecting to draw more than 600 exhibitors.

Mr Ahenkorah said vendor categories such as handicrafts and gifts, food beverages, furniture and fittings, home supplies, textiles and garments, financial services, beauty and cosmetics, computers and electronics, transport and machinery, printing and publishing, pharmaceuticals, cleaning and toiletries would be showcased.

He said through such a fair, the Government was expected to reduce the country’s import bill and improve trade balance including the use of financial tax incentives, penalties, tariff and non-tariff interventions.

This, he said, would be achieved through the commitment by all stakeholders to promote locally manufactured goods in line with the Government’s aim of taking Ghana beyond Aid.

He said it was important for products made from Ghana to be of premium quality to leverage its value on foreign markets, adding that from January, next year, all Ghana made goods would bear the premium quality logo after going through the standardisation processes at the GSA.

We want to find a way to get our local manufacturers to improve on their market penetration and visibility. Some of them don’t understand why they must spend money on, for instance, proper packaging and so on.

So in effect we are devising a means for Ghanaians to actually take what they have produced seriously for our companies to be able to thrive and be able to also employ more people on the streets, he said.

Mr Ahenkorah gave the assurance that the Fair is going to be fun, and will be something that families will love to come and see because it is safe, adding that security would be beefed up to protect goods, properties and persons.

He implored Ghanaians to patronise the Fair, saying, Going forward we want to brand Ghana, we want to make Ghana a premium and we want to have that name, which if people pick they will say yes this is what I want.

Prof Dodoo, on his part, emphasised that standards and quality were the language of trade and the Fair would help ensure Ghanaian goods and services met those standards required locally and internationally.

He said the job of GSA was to ensure that Made-in-Ghana goods were world-class and people patronised them everywhere.

He said a lot of Ghanaian products were exported without passing through the GSA and such goods were always returned when they got to Europe.

Business is impersonal and about standards, and so Ghanaian manufacturers should endeavour to have their goods and services go through the proper standardisation processes so they would be well accepted, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency