Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands bids farewell to Foreign Minister

Accra, July 24, GNA – Mr Ronald Gerard Strikker, the outgoing Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ghana, has bid farewell to Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

Mr Strikker, a career diplomat with a background in law, was appointed Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ghana in 2016.

Prior to that, he served as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

He has also served in various capacities as a Dutch envoy in Nairobi, Tunis, Santiago de Chile, Bangkok, and Paris.

During the meeting in Accra, the Minister congratulated Mr Strikker on the successful completion of his tour of duty in Ghana.

She acknowledged that Ghana and the Netherlands have had long-standing and fruitful bilateral relations, which date back to the 1970s.

The Minister reaffirmed Ghana’s determination and her personal desire to continue to forge strong partnerships of cooperation and to consolidate as well as deepen relations between the two countries for the mutual benefit of our two peoples.

She said during Mr Strikker’s tenure, relations between the two countries were characterized by the regular exchange of high-level visits, which offered the Ghanaian and Dutch leaders, an opportunity to renew their commitment to tackling issues of mutual interest.

She cited the visit to Ghana in November 2017 by Mr Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Netherlands, and that of Madam Carola Schouten, the Dutch Deputy Prime Minister in February 2019.

She also mentioned the visit to Ghana in November 2017 of Madam Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

In addition, the Minister recalled the visit to the Netherlands by a five-member delegation from the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of Ghana, led by the then Chairman of the Committee, Mr Emmanuel Bandua in August 2016.

She expressed appreciation to the Dutch Government for its firm support to Ghana’s health sector over the years, including the provision of funding for the construction of five medical clinics in the Western Region.

She also mentioned the installation of 52 X-ray systems across Ghana, equipped with Computer-Aided Detection for TB (CAD4TB) and teleradiology by Dutch firms Oldelft Benelux and Universal Hospitals Group as well as the construction of a water treatment plant in Navrongo.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey observed that the Netherlands was the lead market destination for Ghana’s non-traditional exports in 2016 and underscored the need to bolster the trade relations between the two countries by leveraging on Ghana’s hosting of the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

The Minister conveyed appreciation for the strong Dutch commitment and participation in the ongoing EU-Ghana Sustainable Cocoa Dialogue, which had been a great success thus far.

She expressed the hope that in the coming years the two countries could explore new areas of cooperation particularly in the areas of energy, metallurgy, and machinery, where the Netherlands had enormous expertise and comparative advantage and urged the Ambassador to suggest these areas to his successor.

She assured him that the Government would collaborate with and support his successor to ensure the further elevation of the bilateral relations between Ghana and the Netherlands.

Mr Strikker on his part said it was a great opportunity for him to serve in Ghana, which enabled him to contribute a little bit to the great relationship between the two nations; in areas such as political atmosphere, economic diplomacy, and trade agenda.

The outgoing Ambassador informed the Minister that he would be retiring from active service at the end of his duty tour of Ghana.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Paediatric Society of Ghana launches National Child Road Safety Campaign

©Accra, July 24, GNA – The Paediatric Society of Ghana (PSG) has launched a National Child Road Safety Campaign with the slogan: “Stop! Think Child Safety,” to intensify public awareness about the dangers that children faced as pedestrians or road users.

Dr John Adabie Appiah, a Senior Specialist for Paediatric Critical Care at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Kumasi, in his opening remarks at the virtual meeting for the launch, said road accidents were becoming a major global public health threat and required a multi-sectorial approach to address it.

He said current statistics in Ghana showed that there were over 12,000 road crashes involving 20,000 vehicles resulting in 12,300 injuries, leading to an estimated cost of about 1.6 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Again, it was estimated that of the 72 per cent of every 100,000 people who suffered serious injuries from these accidents, more than 60 per cent were children, he said.

He said close to 15 per cent of patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Accident Centre at the KATH for instance, were involved in road accidents with various degrees of injuries and disabilities including loss of body parts, leaving these persons to suffer physical and psychological trauma.

“Averagely, a household could spend close to GH¢ 12, 000 as the cost of treatment, which leads most of them into huge indebtedness and frustration,” he said.

Dr Appiah said the maiden campaign of the PSG, was therefore aimed at enhancing public awareness and education and called for the involvement of all stakeholders to get involved.

Dr Mame Yaa Nyarko, the Medical Superintendent of the Princess Marie Louis Children’s Hospital in Accra, also said the “World Health Organisation estimates that every four minutes a child may die from a road traffic accident,” which was unacceptable and unfortunate, and required urgent strategies to address the menace.

However, Ghana does not have a specific national road traffic safety policy in place for children, saying “our existing document on accidents and emergency had only a small portion in its pages devoted to children,” she said.

Dr Nyarko noted that apart from their direct involvement in road traffic crashes, children also suffered greatly from the consequences of accidents resulting in the loss of their parents, siblings or benefactors.

Mrs Linda Asante-Agyei, the Vice-President of the Ghana Journalist Association, said road traffic accidents had been estimated to be among the leading cause of death among Ghanaian school children, due to the absence of pedestrian walkways and zebra crossings on some major streets, and a lot could be done to address the anomalies to enhance road safety for users.

She said noted the low level of road safety education among school children, teachers and parents, and pledged the support of the media towards this undertaking, using their existing platforms to set the agenda for national discussions, and helping in the dissemination of key information on flyers and other materials developed by the NRSA and the PSG, to raise the needed awareness.

Mr Martin Aryee, the Deputy Commissioner of Police at the Central Motor and Transport Directorate, Ghana Police Service, warned that ensuring road safety was the responsibility of both drivers, commuters and users of the facility, hence all must be involved.

The participants during the question and answer section moderated by Dr Hilda Mantebea Boye, the Greater Accra Regional Secretary, PSG, made suggestions including the need for the active involvement of the School Help Education Programme (SHEP) in championing the campaign in basic education institutions and using Parents-Teacher Associations to send key messages to the pupils.

Others called for the construction of speed rumps and the placement of visible speed limits close to educational establishments, intensifying enforcement of the laws and punitive measures for offenders, and urged the PSG to document some of the cases received in health facilities, for the media to use as evidence for its public education.

Dr Boye said the PSG would be having a broader consultation with a wide range of key stakeholders for the success of the campaign.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Pastor and wife allegedly murdered at Ayitikope

Ayitikope (VR), July 24, GNA – Residents of Ayitikope in the Akatsi South Municipality of the Volta Region are yet to recover from the shock and barbaric manner in which Apostle Augustine Gbedema, founder and leader of the Harmony With Jesus Ministry International and his wife, have been reportedly murdered.

Their bodies, which were discovered in an advanced state of decomposition and in pools of blood, carry visible machete wounds.

The pastor was lying outside their room, while his wife was lying in a supine position in the sitting room.

The bodies were discovered in their private residence at Ayitikope, a farming community within Akatsi South, on Saturday morning after calls to their mobile phones returned unanswered.

Mr George Gbedema, an elder of the Church, and a nephew of the Pastor Gbedema, disclosed to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that his uncle was in his 70s, while his wife was in her late 50s.

They were last seen in public about four or five days ago.

The pastor, however, held a service on Sunday, while his nephew spoke to him the next day.

“When we got to the house, we saw the main gate locked up from outside with a padlock, and the small gate also locked with some metals,” the nephew said.

“His car was also found on the compound, so we suspected something was going wrong after several attempts to reach them on had phone failed.

“We are in a state of shock, this is sad and heartbreaking!”

Mr Gbedema indicated that his uncle was a nice man, who loved many in and outside the Church.

“It’s still really hard to believe that this is true at this point, this is a horrific and an awful tragedy,” some church members invariably told the GNA.

Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Joseph Atsu Dzineku, the Akatsi South Municipal Commander of Police, has since confirmed the tragedy to the GNA.

He said his outfit was yet to conduct investigations into the bizarre act, as efforts were underway to convey the bodies to the morgue for preservation and autopsy.

The couple left behind a daughter.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Somanya Court remands men who discharged firearms at Sekesua funeral ground

Koforidua, July 24, GNA – A Somanya Circuit Court has remanded four men into police custody for possessing and discharging firearms without authority at a funeral ground at Sekesua in the Upper Manya Krobo District.

Giving the facts of the case obtained by the Ghana News Agency from the Eastern Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ebenezer Tetteh, named the men as Enock Donkor 24, John Ashley 22, Kwaku Asare 22 and Adema Eugene 35 who are to re-appear in two weeks.

On July 17, 2021, at 2300 hours, the Police had information that some young men numbering about five onboard a Toyota Salon car, GG1226-16, heading towards Somanya had firearms and fired severally at a funeral at Sekesua in the Upper Manya Krobo District.

They were followed up by the Police and were stopped at the Otrokper barrier and suspect Enock Donkor who was driving was asked to open the boot for inspection, whiles the remaining four were ordered to lie on the ground since the information received indicated that they had concealed guns in the vehicle.

They refused the order and became offended, in the process one of them started firing at the police and they all had the chance to flee into a nearby bush leading towards Aketebour, a nearby village and the police also returned fire but they managed to escape unhurt and abandoned the vehicle.

On July 18, around 0600 the youth in the Aketebour community, arrested and handed over four out of the five suspects to the Police with a report that the suspects were found loitering in the community and when questioned they couldn’t give a reasonable answer and therefore suspected they were criminals.

DSP Tetteh told GNA that during interrogation, the suspects identified themselves as the culprits but said one young man among them who was on the run opened the fire at the police.

He said suspects Asare Kwaku and John Ashley were noted to have sustained injuries on their bodies and were sent to the Asesewa Government Hospital for treatment.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Negligence a major contributor to accidents on Accra-Tema Motorway- MTTD

Tema, July 24, GNA – The Tema Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service has said that negligence on the Accra-Tema Motorway is the major contributor to the increasing accidents.

Sergeant Richard Timinka, representing Chief Superintendent William Asante Tema Regional MTTD Commander stated at the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office and MTTD road safety campaign platform.

The GNA-Tema and MTTD Road Safety Project seek to actively create consistent and systematic weekly awareness advocacy on the need to be cautious on the road as a user, educate all road users of their respective responsibilities, and sensitise drivers especially of the tenets of road safety regulations.

Sgt. Timinka noted that most motorists plying on the motorway and other highways drive recklessly.

Diagnosing the major causes of road accidents, Sgt. Timinka noted that MTTD has also identified fatigue as a contributor as most drivers sleep behind the steering wheel.

He also noted that wrongful stopping of vehicles especially on the motorway and another highway to either pick or drop a passenger as another challenge and called for vigilance at all times.

Mr Francis Ameyibor, the Regional Manager of GNA Tema appealed to all road users to take personal responsibility seriously especially when using the road either as a pedestrian or a driver.

“The first line of protection is personal safety which must be applied whenever crossing the road at any point in time, you must not place your life or safety in the hands of the driver to decide whether to knock you down or apply the breaks or drive into sometime else to save you.

“If you cannot protect yourself, why do you think the driver is in a position to protect you? Cross the road conscious of the associated dangers, avoid all possible distractions such as the use of the mobile device and other engagement and focus on that specific momentary task of crossing the road,” Mr Ameyibor stated.

Mr Ameyibor also reminded drivers, that the road is not for racing, and exhibition of one’s driving skills, “driving is not for showmanship, it is a serious operational activity which requires ones’ full alertness at all times.

“The rate of accidents is becoming more dangerous than COVID-19 Pandemic, we must all woke-up to protect each other”.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Pamoja group plant trees in Prampram

Prampram (Near Tema) July 24, GNA – Canadian-based Non-Governmental Organisation Pamoja has planted trees in Prampram in the Ningo Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency at Prampram, Mr Akin Busari, Chief Executive Officer of Pamoja stated that the tree planting was to support the government’s agenda of making Ghana green.

He explained that the trees they have planted signify their place of origin saying they are coming back to their roots.

According to the Pamoja CEO, Africans were one people and it was time they identified where their ancestors came from to gain their self-identification.

Mr Busari revealed that the colonial masters succeeded in separating Africans after they captured the Continent during colonial rule.

He noted that their next visit to Prampram would be driven by a developmental agenda to make Prampram attractive to the western world, “Our idea for coming was to make here our home”.

Mr Busari advised that Africans must value their customs and culture saying Africans should ignore any foreign culture which does not fit into the traditional African society.

Mr Gary Cooper Fia-Kojo Ayivi, host and country representative of Pamoja in Ghana said to ensure the success of the green Ghana agenda, all public programmes should end with tree planting.

He explained that trees do not only provide shade but also help solve climate change and beautifies the environment.

He said Ghana has become a place for tourist attraction and Prampram would become the Bahamas of Ghana.

The Pamoja Community was founded as a labor of love organization. It was created by a group of over 300 Black Canadian professionals with a vision to create an investment firm through the application of the highest professional standards, drawing on the investment experience and adhering to its core values.

Source: Ghana News Agency

NIPDA to support estate developers to prevent slums

Dawhenya (Near Tema), July 24, GNA-The Ningo-Prampram District Assembly (NIPDA) has given the assurance that it would continue to support real estate developers in the area to develop more houses as one of the measures to prevent the creation of slums in the area.

Mr Jonathan Teye Doku, District Chief Executive of NIPDA said the Assembly’s support would be in the form of creation of an enabling environment for the multiplication of housing and cottage industries in the district.

Mr Doku was speaking at the inauguration of the first phase of ‘City of Favor Estate’ developed by Sawer-Nanor and Sons Company, a private constructioncompany located at Dawhenya in the Ningo-Prampram District.

He said more people were moving into the Ningo-Prampram District for abode as Accra and Tema were chocked, adding that it was therefore important that they learnt some lessons from happenings in Accra in relations to avoiding the development of slum settlements in the area.

“We want to avoid slums in the district, if the assembly is not proactive slums will develop in the area that is why we have resolved to collaborate with real estate developers such as Sawer-Nanor and Sons Company Limited”.

He added that it was in line with this that apart from supporting private real estate developers, NIDPA in partnership with some private partners, the UN-Habitat, and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development was implementing the New Accra City housing project known as ‘The Planned City Extension Project’ with the aim of helping Ghanaians to acquire a home in the area.

The DCE gave the assurance that through collaboration of the assembly and the security services, they managed to bring the menace of land guards under control and property developers.

He encouraged and welcomed all players in the housing industry to acquire property in the district, while urging those with lands in the area not to hesitate in developing them.

Mr Doku however appealed to developers to apply for building permits explain that, “when you come to us for the permit, it is just not the money that we are taking from you, once you submit your application which comes with the site plan, it helps the Assembly in determining where the layouts are, the flood prone areas, among others, we check all these as we have the masterplan of the area”.

He reminded real estate developers that they might have the nice designs and demarcations but without approval from the Assembly’s Spatial Planning Committee it would amount to nothing.

“Once you bring and we approve it, anytime there is an issue, we have the master plan and can superimpose what you brought to us and determine where this or that must be and it will bring peace,” he said.

Mr Simon Sawer Tetteh, Managing Director of Sawer-Nanor and Sons Company Limited, on his part appealed to government to consider giving some support and tax holidays to real estate and affordable housing developers to cushion the private companies and prospective buyers from the increasing hike in the price of building materials such as cement and iron rods.

Mr Sawer Tetteh added that such materials were the core materials for construction, therefore, hikes in their prices would have a resultant effect of increase in production cost which at the end of the day would be transferred to the client who was in dire need of housing.

Touching on the ‘City of Favor Estate’, he explained that the community would have over 100 housing units mainly made up of two and three bedrooms’ standard and executive bedrooms with serene aesthetic environment, inner roads, and 24-hour security.

He added that the estate, also boost of commercial units which would provide the occupants in the City of Favor and its environs with a pharmacy, restaurant, gymnasium, and a recreational centre.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Vodafone Ghana Foundation pay medical bills for 127 patients in Homecoming Programme

The Charity Arm of Vodafone Ghana, Vodafone Ghana Foundation through its annual Homecoming initiative has discharged 127 patients in the Northern belt of Ghana.

The 2021 version of Vodafone Homecoming which is similar to last year, has been divided into three phases across the northern, middle and southern belts respectively, to help pay the medical bills and other ancillary medical costs of patients who are in financial distress in the major government hospitals across the 16 regions of Ghana.

To kick start the first phase in the Northern belt, the Foundation footed the medical bills of 127 patients in some district and regional hospitals in the northern belt of Ghana.

These beneficiaries were patients from Tamale Teaching Hospital in the Northern Region, Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East Region, Baptist Medical Centre in the North East Region, West Gonja Hospital in the Savannah Region and the Nadowli District Hospital in the Upper West Region.

Speaking at a brief ceremony, Head of Vodafone Ghana Foundation, Rev. Amaris Perbi, said the initiative seeks to drive the universal health coverage agenda of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal on Good Health and Wellbeing.

“This year’s program is seeking to pay for general hospital admission bills; support women at the maternity wards with ancillary cost; pay medical Laboratory service cost; and fund for medicine for adversely affected COVID-19 the patients who are unable to afford medicines. Through this charity initiative among others, we at Vodafone Ghana are driving the Universal Health Coverage agenda of the United Nation’s SDG on Good Health and Wellbeing”.

He added “In addition, the beneficiaries will receive a Vodafone Farewell Package which include; NHIS registration, renewal or replacement, a 500mls of Hand Sanitizer, a box of disposable nose mask, and a pack of Vitamin C”.

Rev. Amaris noted that the exercise was one of the Foundation’s strategic ways of showing commitment in helping the citizens of this country through numerous initiatives over the past 11 years.

“The Homecoming initiative has brought relief and made positive contribution to the Ghanaian society and has helped to boost healthcare provision of the nation since inception in 2011”.

He further stated that, the first phase which focused on 5 hospitals in the northern belt of Ghana exceeded the expected number.

“To kick start the first phase of this year’s Homecoming, we have been able to paid for the medical bills of 127 patients across the northern belt. We initially plan to foot the bills of 120 patients but upon seeing the condition of some distressed patients we exceeded our number. We are excited to bring some relief to these patients as could go home to their family and friends”.

Homecoming is a charity initiative of Vodafone Ghana Foundation to aid patients throughout the country who cannot pay their medical bills and as such are stuck in medical facilities.

Since its inception in 2011, the initiative has helped to pay the medical bills and other auxiliary medical costs for some vulnerable patients.

Source: Ghana Web