Experts call for increased investments to drive immunization

Accra, Immunization experts in Africa have convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the Biannual Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group(RITAG) meeting with a call on African leaders to increase investments in immunization to safeguard lives of children.

A statement issued by the RITAG and copied to the Ghana News Agency said while Africa had made significant gains towards increasing access to immunisation in the past few decades, its coverage, measured in percentage of children receiving the third dose of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, has stagnated at 74 per cent in recent years.

The RITAG serves as the principal advisory group to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, offering strategic guidance on regional immunisation policies and programmes.

The statement said vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) still killed more than half a million children under-five years in Africa annually, representing approximately 56 per cent of global deaths.

It said at the current pace, the Region was off track to achieving the Global Vaccine Action Plan and the Africa Regional Strategic Plan for Immunisation target of 90 per cent coverage by 2020, however, important progress had been made in some key areas.

The statement said by the end of 2016, all countries in the Region had introduced Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B vaccines.

In addition, 39 countries had introduced the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and 32 had introduced the rotavirus vaccine to protect against the two biggest childhood killers; pneumonia and diarrhoea, respectively.

It said for the first time, this year, WHO published immunisation data at the sub-national level, to help tailor interventions at the district level and address gaps that are often masked by national vaccine coverage data.

The statement said political will is also at an all-time high as shown by the Heads of State endorsement of the Addis Declaration on Immunisation at the 28th African Union Summit.

It quoted Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director, as saying; We know vaccines work. When children are given a healthy start, families and communities thrive and economies grow stronger.

We have made great strides in recent years, but there is much work to be done to ensure that all children, no matter where they live, have access to the life-saving vaccines they need. Even one child still losing its life to a preventable disease is one child too many.

The statement said over the course of the meeting, RITAG members explored a range of pressing issues including access to affordable vaccines for middle-income countries; maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination in Africa; and management of cholera in emergency settings.

The RITAG also discussed the broader effects of upcoming financing transitions.

The statement said most notably, as Africa neared polio eradication, funding to countries through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative for immunisation activities was expected to reduce by 50 per cent between 2017 and 2019.

It said funding from the GPEI supports surveillance activities, laboratory networks, human resource and routine immunisation programmes adding that increased funding would be needed from governments to ensure polio was phased out.

Professor Helen Rees, the RITAG Chair, was quoted as saying: The RITAG meeting was an important opportunity to assess what we need to do to reach every child in Africa with life-saving vaccines.

We have identified some of the greatest challenges and opportunities. I am confident that together we can and will stem the tide of vaccine-preventable diseases across the continent.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Police appeal to taxi drivers to help fight robbery

Techiman (B/A), Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Twumasi-Ankrah, the Techiman Municipal Police Commander, has appealed to taxi drivers to support the police in their bid to fight armed robbery during the Christmas festivities.

He said the drivers could do this effectively if they remained watchful of people who hired their services and provide the police with information about those with suspicious characters.

Chief Supt. Twumasi-Ankrah made the appeal at the launch of the Brong-Ahafo Regional Road Safety Campaign by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) at the Techiman Main Lorry Station.

He expressed abhorrence with the practice of some taxi drivers who aided armed robbers to undertake their unscrupulous activities in the Municipality.

The Municipal Police Commander indicated that the command had intensified police patrol in neighbourhoods and on highways to arrest and prosecute crime suspects in the area.

He added that crime fighting was a shared and collective responsibility and advised the public not to be reluctant in supporting the police in that direction.

Mr Samuel Asiamah, the Acting Brong-Ahafo Regional Manager of the NRSC, urged drivers to observe road signs and reduce speeding.

He reminded them that the weather would be unfavourable as the Harmattan sets in and cautioned drivers to check their lighting systems before embarking on journeys.

Mr Asiamah, who is also the Ashanti Regional Manager of the Commission, expressed discomfort with unauthorised construction of speed ramps by some communities, particularly on the Bechem-Kumasi and the Sunyani Techiman highways.

He said unauthorised speed ramps could contribute to road crashes and entreated the Ghana Highway Authority to check and ensure the right things were done.

Mr Asiamah advised drivers to ensure that passengers wore their seat belts, which could protect them in case of an accident.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Servicemen admonished to embrace 2018 with confidence

Accra, Lieutenant General Obed Akwa, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), has called on servicemen to embrace 2018 with hope and confidence to be able to execute their constitutionally mandated task of providing security.

He admonished servicemen to be conscious of their own safety during the Yuletide celebration as they ensured the safety of the citizens and their environment.

Regrettably, we have lost some personnel due to road traffic accidents. I would like us to approach this season calmly and not over indulge in the enjoyment that goes with the Christmas season. We should rather be sober and conscious of our environment so that we shall end this year on a high note and start the New Year also on a high note, the CDS said.

Lt. Gen. Akwa said this on Sunday at the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) End of Year Non-Denominational Religious Parade, held at the Burma Hall in Accra on the theme: Dedication and Service to God and Country.

The Parade is a Thanksgiving Service to give reverence to God for His divine protection and guidance throughout the year.

It brought together service chiefs, commandants, forces sergeants major, civilian employees, and officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The CDS expressed gratitude to the Government for its continuous support to the GAF to ensure it performed its duties well.

Very Reverend Professor Kwabena Asamohan Gyadu, the Professor of African Christianity and Pentecostal Theology of the Trinity Theological Seminary, in a sermon, called on Christians to be insightful and thoughtful in decision-making to achieve positive results.

Lieutenant Colonel Yusif Mensah Shamsudiin, the Chief Imam of GAF, called on Christians and Muslims to discover their purpose on earth and fulfil them to glorify God.

The Service was interspersed by the mass band of the Armed Forces and the Security Services Choir. Prayers were offered for the Government, the Security Services and the peace and stability of the nation.

Source: Ghana News Agency

‘Christians must live exemplary lives’

Accra, Pastor Peter Mensah Yanney, the District Pastor of the Church of Pentecost, Alajo, on Sunday urged Christians to be alive to their roles and responsibilities as citizens and initiate individual tasks that would transform the nation.

He said citizens constituted a significant part of the Government, therefore, the nation could not progress without their unique contributions.

Pastor Mensah Yanney was delivering a sermon during the Thanksgiving Service by the Church for the Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), to honour God for their electoral victory.

Among the Executive were Mr Roland Affail Monney, the GJA President, Mr Kofi Yeboah, the General Secretary, and Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, the Organising Secretary.

Senior media practitioners who attended the service included Mrs Yaa Oforiwa Asare-Peasah, the Head of Editorial of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mrs Beatrice Asamani Savage, the News Editor, GNA, Mr Fortune Alimi, Editor of the Daily Guide, Madam Zee Adum Atta, a Lawyer and Journalist, and personnel from Atinka Village.

The sermon, which was based on King David’s relationship with Bathsheba in the Second Book of Samuel, was on the theme: “Be Responsible”.

Pastor Yanney, therefore, urged Christians to lead the campaign for environmental cleanliness and responsible attitudes towards nation building.

“If Christians would not litter the environment, build on water ways and destroy the environment with their actions and not always look up to government for everything, but would take the responsibility themselves, then the country’s development will be assured,” he said.

Pastor Yanney linked the attitude of some Christians to David when he pronounced judgement on Nathan’s proverbial ruthless rich man, after he had impregnated Bathsheba and had Uriah, her husband, killed in battle.

Christians need not pass the buck but must take responsible actions concerning the country’s development, he said.

“David, though he sinned, when Nathan made him aware of his actions, he accepted his sins, asked for forgiveness and resolved to do the right things moving forward. So, as Christians, we should not give excuses for our misdeeds but resolve to correct ourselves for the better,” Pastor Yanney said.

He urged the GJA Executive to eshew practices that would dent the image of the profession so as to have the moral right to correct others.

Pastor Yanney said they were victorious in the election in order to perform roles to sanitise the media landscape, which was full of insults and unprofessional conducts.

In leading the campaign against corruption, media practitioners must act professionally and responsibly by not giving their platforms to nation wreckers,” he said.

Mr Dwumfour, who is an Elder of the Church, said the task ahead was challenging but gave the assurance that the team would deliver on their promises.

He said going into the New Year, the GJA would insist on professionalism, high standards and respect for the GJA Code of Ethics so as to promote sanity in the media.

Fighting for the welfare of journalists was going to be paramount to the GJA, Mr Dwumfour said, and called for unity among members to be able to advocate for the passage of the Right to Information Bill (RTI).

“The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary should all help in passing the RTI to enhance media work,” he said.

Mr Dumfour said there would be annual regional conferences to know the challenges of journalists in the regions to find solutions to them.

The GJA would also undertake training and socialisation programmes to promote professionalism and bonding among members, he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GJA Executive glorify God for overwhelming victory

Accra, The Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on Sunday attended a Thanksgiving Service to give honour and glory to God for the overwhelming electoral victory.

Mr Roland Affail Monney, the GJA President, Mr Kofi Yeboah, the General Secretary and Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, the Organising Secretary, were some of the Executive members that attended the Service at the Church of Pentecost at Alajo in Accra.

Also in attendance were senior media practitioners including Mrs Yaa Oforiwa Asare-Peasah, the Head of Editorial of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mrs Beatrice Asamani Savage, the News Editor, GNA, Mr Fortune Alimi, the Editor of the Daily Guide, and Madam Zee Adum Atta, a Lawyer and a journalist.

Pastor Peter Mensah Yanney, the District Pastor of the Church, urged the GJA Executive to eshew practices that would dent the image of the profession so as to have the moral right to correct others.

Pastor Yanney said they were victorious in the election in order to perform roles to sanitise the media landscape, which was full of insults and unprofessional conducts.

In leading the campaign against corruption, media practitioners must act professionally and responsibly by not giving their platforms to nation wreckers,” he said.

He, therefore, charged the Executive to be role models in order to execute their tasks without fear or favour.

Mr Kwabena Dwumfour, also an Elder of the Church, said the task ahead was challenging but gave the assurance that the team would deliver on their promises.

He said going into the New Year, the GJA would insist on professionalism, high standards and respect for the GJA Code of Ethics to promote sanity in the media.

Fighting for the welfare of journalists was going to be paramount to the GJA, Mr Dwumfour said, and called for unity among members to be able to advocate for the passage of the Right to Information Bill (RTI).

“The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary should all help in passing the RTI to enhance media work,” he said.

Mr Dumfour said there would be annual regional conferences to know the challenges of journalists in the regions to find solutions to them.

The GJA would also undertake training and socialisation programmes to promote professionalism and bonding among members, he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency