Military Graduation: Junior Staff Course 77 advised to uphold high sense of integrity

Accra, Brigadier General Delali Johnson Sakyi (Rtd),?former Assistant Commandant of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Command and Staff College, Junior Division,?has advised Junior Staff Course 77 to exhibit a high sense of integrity in their professional duties.

Brig Gen Sakyi admonished the officers to be astute, meticulous, steadfast and strive to uphold high ethical standards to protect their image and the Forces for national growth.

He said this in Accra at the graduation ceremony of the GAF Junior Staff Course 77 after five months of training in communication skills, and other security training regimes.

The graduating officers include 50 officers from the GAF, one from the Armed Forces of Liberia, one from the Armed Forces of Gambia and 10 from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He said the Course would broaden the professional knowledge of the officers on security issues to respond to emerging threats on the continent.

Brig Gen Sakyi charged the officers to apply the knowledge acquired in their respective countries to ensure peace and security, especially as the world was saddled with the threat of terrorism, religious disputes and environmental disasters.

He urged them to put their ears on the ground and be abreast of security issues and early warning signals to provide effective leadership to address any security threats.

Brig Gen Albert Kwadwo Dawohoso, the Assistant Commandant, GAF Junior Division, said the Course was to train them to perform staff functions by developing their leadership analytical and communication skills while providing the foundation for their career development.

He said as part of the experimental package for the Course, the officers undertook an environmental study tour to the Western North region to conduct research into some of the existing challenges to the development of the region.

“Examining the Impact of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on the Security Situation in Europe,” “Curbing the Menace of Corruption to Promote Sustainable Development in Ghana,” and “Harnessing Local Economic Potentials to Address Overdependence on Foreign Aid in Ghana,” were some of the research topics.

Major Fred Darko-Ampem Konadu emerged as the overall best student and won the best Assistant Commandant’s Paper, Major Rita Oduro, won the second-best student while Squadron Leader Mary McAddy took the third best student’s award.

Major S.F Alhassan won the second-best Assistant Commandant’s Paper, Major R. Incoom won the third-best Assistant Commandant’s Paper, while Major David Evans Glah won the Everard award for contributing to lectures.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana repatriates 1,320 Nigeriens over street begging

ACCRA, The Ghanaian government has repatriated 1,320 Nigeriens who beg in the streets to their home country, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

The repatriation, through the collaboration of the Ghana Immigration Service and the Embassy of Niger in Ghana, included 300 adult males, 400 adult females, and 620 children.

“The returnees were found under bridges, traffic lights intersections, street pavements, and other places begging for alms or loitering on the streets of Accra,” the statement said.

The exercise, according to the government, is part of measures being taken to deal with the menace of streetism in the West African country.

“Streetism is a social menace that has wreaked havoc on the nation’s social and economic life. The country’s ‘street children’ prevalence is extremely worrying. This literally put their lives at risk so long as they remain on the street,” the statement said.

The government further urged the general populace to support efforts underway to reduce child begging and streetism.

The Ghanaian government also deported 202 African nationals who had been arrested for entering the country unlawfully through its eastern border with Togo last year.


FDA destroys expired, unwholesome products worth over GH?300,000

Sherigu (U/E), The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has safely disposed of some expired and unwholesome products worth GH?312,720.

The disposal was done through burning at the Sherigu refuse dump in the Bolgatanga Municipality, in the presence of major stakeholders including the Environmental Health and Sanitation Agency, Ghana Police Service, Ghana National Fire Service and the media among others.

The items were seized from the marketplaces, over-the-counter medicine seller shops, provision shops, pharmacies, drug warehouses, herbal shops, and medical centres across the 15 Municipal and Districts in the region.

Mr Sebastian Mawuli Hotor, the Regional Head of FDA, said the disposal was in line with the FDA’s established mandate and the provision spelt out in the Public Health Act of 2012, Act 851 to regulate and undertake disposal of expired and unwholesome products in the country.

He said the exercise was a routine one where FDA periodically undertook inspection exercises and seized regulated products that had expired or were unwholesome and posed a danger to public health and safety.

This, he said, was to ensure that all products consumed by the public were safe and healthy and did not endanger people’s lives as well as prevent the reentry of such products unto the market.

“FDA wishes to emphasize that ensuring public health safety is our prime objective and that our activities are always geared toward providing assurance of safe food, drugs, cosmetics, household chemicals, medical devices and all regulated products in Ghana,” he said.

The Regional Head advised the public to be vigilant and circumspect by checking the date of expiration, accreditation and good storage practice of products before purchasing any regulated product, to avoid risks.

Due to their efforts and sensitisation, Mr Hotor noted, most of the regulated shops and institutions had begun engaging the FDA in their operations and some had asked for disposal certificates to safely dispose of their expired products which enabled them to get a tax rebate on their expired products.

Mr Hotor said although the FDA had not yet prosecuted anyone in the region for non-compliance because the defaulters usually acknowledge their offence, such stores had been closed down to ensure safety while they were made to pay for the disposal and other costs.

He said, “safe disposal of food and drugs are the sole responsibility and duty of the FDA per the Public Health Act 2012, Act 851 and so all need to note and ensure that when you have expired products in your facility, just alert the FDA and we know what to do because we have been trained on how to dispose of off expired products so that we can all ensure public health.”

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana and Malta commit to deepening relations in tourism

Accra, Ghana and Malta have agreed to deepen relations in the fields of tourism, culture, trade and investment.

To this end, the two countries have decided to establish special committees to work out the modalities for the attainment of the objective.

This commitment was made when Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, paid a courtesy call on the President of Malta, Mr George Vella, in his office in Malta.

Dr Awal is in Malta to attend a Mediterranean Tourism Investment forum organized by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation.

The President described the relationship between Malta and Ghana as very cordial and expressed the need for both countries to step up cooperation, particularly in the areas of tourism, culture, trade and investment.

He disclosed that tourism accounted for over 40 per cent of Malta’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), saying the two countries could share knowledge and experience on tourism development as a window for trade and investment.

Mr Vella said Malta could be the gateway for Ghana to attract tourists and investment from the over 23 Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Croatia, France, Italy, Spain, and Greece.

Dr Awal said the government was implementing several initiatives aimed at transforming the Ghanaian economy and improving the lives of the people.

He said in the area of tourism, for instance, forts, castles and heritage sites were being renovated and modernized to attract more tourists to the country.

The Minister said the government was also ensuring that tourism and the creative arts contribute significantly to the country’s GDP and job creation, adding that Ghana was ready to share experiences with Malta in these fields.

He said that since tourism was a global economic activity without borders, it was imperative that no country was left behind in efforts to achieve sustainable tourism that protects the environment and the people.

Dr Awal urged businesses and investors from Malta and the Mediterranean, in general, to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) to deepen trade relations with Africa.

The Minister who was accompanied by Ghana’s Ambassador to Malta, Her Excellency Barbara Akuorkor Benisa, also paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister of Malta, Mr Robert Abela as well as the Minister of Tourism, Mr Clayton Bartolo and Minister of Justice, Culture and local government, Mr Owen Bonnici.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Namibia Central Bank delegation calls on Bank of Ghana Governor

Accra-A four-member delegation led by the Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Mr Johaness !Gowaxab has paid a courtesy call on the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison to seek mutually-beneficial relationships between the two central banks.

The visit was also to enable the Namibian team to learn best practices from the Bank of Ghana.

In his introductory remarks, the Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Mr. Johaness Gowaxab praised Governor Addison for his sterling performance and congratulated the Bank for winning the Central Banking’s FinTech Policy of the Year Award 2022. “Allow me to congratulate you, Governor, on your stewardship of this noble institution. The awards, including one this week – the Central Banking Magazine Fintech Policy of the Year, are more than just accolades under your belt; they serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for the rest of us on the continent. Once again, congratulations,” Mr Johaness !Gowaxab said at the meeting.

In the areas of co-operation, Governor !Gowaxab said the Namibian Central Bank was seeking to cooperate with the Bank of Ghana in financial inclusion, and digital innovation in financial services, including Central Bank Digital Currency, FinTech Regulation, Management of Petroleum Funds, Financial Stability and Banking Resolution issues.

“You have innovated by providing practical solutions such as Ghana Pay which you launched this week as a mobile money service. Furthermore, your courageous move to explore CBDCs as a critical intervention to balance the interests of all economic agents is something worth learning from,” he said.

He noted that Namibia would also seek assistance on the governance and legal framework of the management of the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

On his part, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison, remarked that the current Management of the Bank had initiated and implemented various policies since assuming office, including the banking sector reforms, the introduction of mobile money interoperability and the Central Bank Digital Currency(CBDC), which is currently in a pilot phase.

He noted that the Bank had been critical in the development of the country.

“In Ghana, the central bank has to play an agent of restraint in the system. This is why we have seen stability.”

Dr Addison expressed concern about the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War, which has led to high inflation and the policy rate increased by the central bank.

He also recounted the role that, the mobile money interoperability had played in promoting financial inclusion in Ghana and expressed the hope that the eCedi when launched would further enhance the agenda.

He reiterated the need for central banks in the sub-region to exchange ideas and grow to be an influential part of the global financial architecture of the world.

Present with the Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Mr Johaness !Gowaxab, were Mr Ebson Uanguta, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Mr Romeo Nel, Director, Banking Supervision and Mr Israel Zemburuka, Director, Strategic Communications.

In Governor Addison’s team were the Head of the Research Department, Dr Philip Abradu-Otoo, the Special Assistant to the Governor, Mr Emmanuel Kinful, Mrs Oriana Boadu- Amoama, Mr Richard Homiah and Ms Freda Mensah of the Governors’ Department and Mr Samuel Opoku of the Communications Office.

Source: Ghana News Agency

UEW Co-operative Credit Union Ltd continues to grow significantly

Winneba (C/R)-The Board of Directors of University of Education Winneba (UEW), Co-operative Credit Union has assured members and stakeholders of the union of the safety of its operations.

The stakeholders should, therefore, maintain the confidence they have in the Union and its leadership.

Dr Bernard Bingab, Chairman of the Board, gave the assurance in an address at the 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM), of the Credit Union Head Office in Winneba.

The meeting assessed the performance of the Union for the years ending: June 30, 2020 half-year, to December 2020 and January to December 2021.

He announced that the Net Surplus of the Union for 2021 amounted to Gh¢3, 478,945.62, against GH¢1, 350,525.59 recorded in 2019, representing 158 per cent.

They also paid interest of GH¢1, 715,926.62 in 2021 on members’ savings compared to GH¢808, 183.55 paid in 2019 depicting a progressive rise, whilst it was able to pay interest of GH¢1, 715,926.62 in 2021.

According to him, savings increased from GH¢14, 070,172.27 in 2019 to GH¢34, 203,614.54 in 2021, saying, despite the high increase in the savings portfolio, savings retention was 81.76 per cent in 2021.

The Union within two and half years was able to advance GH¢100,236,920.38 as loans to members as against GH¢19,427,249.44, granted in 2019.

He said despite the frequent withdrawals by members, the Union made significant strides in building its investment base after satisfying members’ loan demand.

“Our had investments forming 21.7 per cent of our total assets is in conformity with Bank of Ghana’s requirement of a minimum of 20 per cent, which translated to 10,718,568.20 against GH¢4,381,793.76 in 2019, the Chairman disclosed.

Dr Bingab stated that the total assets of the credit union within two and half years grew from GH¢49, 315,387.81 in 2019 to GH¢19, 697,846 in 2021, an increase of 150 per cent for the year under review.

He announced that, as a result, the UEW Co-operative Credit Union limited maintained its position as a large-size credit union and the 6th largest credit union out of 500 credit unions in Ghana in terms of asset size.

He commended the members for their continuous immeasurable support and contributions that had brought the Credit Union that far.

“We have also proposed 7.5 per cent and 17 per cent dividend on shares for the 2019 half-year to 2020 and 2021 financial year respectively, paying a dividend of 15 per cent on shares for 2018/2019 in October 2019,” the Board Chairman said.

A total of 14,454 members were with minimum shares as of December 31, 2021, with total sharers of GH¢5,707,783.38 an increase of 168 per cent over 2019 total shares of GH¢2,130,155.83, he stated.

He thanked members who bought more shares during the years under review and also encouraged those with less than the minimum share capital to buy at least the minimum, to enable the Union to continue to do business with them with regard to the Credit Union Law, LI 2225 (2015).

As part of the union’s corporate social responsibility during the year under review, the UEW Co-operative Credit Union donated some Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) to Effutu Municipal Health Directorate and Central Regional Hospital (Trauma and Specialist Hospital in Winneba).

“We also supported Akenteng Appiah Menkah University of Skills Training and Environment Development (AAMUSTED), Kumasi Campus with three 3-in-1 patient waiting chairs, Mampong Campus with eight 3-in-1 patient waiting chairs, and sponsored the best Business, Technology and Agricultural Student award at UEW,” Dr Bingab said.

It also sponsored the 2020/2021 farmers’ day in Effutu with an amount of GH¢67, 232.15, among others.

“Aside from our achievement the Credit Union has a number of challenges, which include, delays in the release of funds deducted from members on payroll on behalf of the union as this affected the income-generating capacity of the union throughout the year,” he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Tiler gets 7 years for defilement; claims victim forced him to have sex with her

Accra, Patrick Mawunyega, a 24-year-old Tiler, who defiled a 15-year-old girl after teaching her how to do her homework, has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment by an Adentan Circuit Court.

Mawunyega said it was the victim who forced him to have sex with her.

Charged with defilement, Mawunyega pleaded guilty.

The court presided over by Mrs Sedinam Awo Balokah convicted Mawunyega on his own plea and sentenced him accordingly.

Prosecuting Chief Inspector Maxwell Lanyo narrated that the complainant was the victim’s mother.

Chief Inspector Lanyo said the complainant used to live in the same compound with her family and Mawunyega at Teiman.

The prosecution said on April 3, this year, at about 1200 noon, the victim asked Mawunyega to teach her a homework assignment given to her at school.

It said Mawunyega in the process of teaching the victim, had sex with her.

The prosecution said the victim later informed the complainant about the act and that Mawunyega admitted the offence and on June 5, this year, the complainant reported the matter to the Police at the Adenta office of the Domestic Violence and Victim’s Support Unit, Ghana Police Service.

On June 22, Mawunyega was arrested by the Police and cautioned.

The prosecution said Mawunyega admitted to the office and told the Police that, “it is the victim who constantly put pressure on me to have sex with her.”

Source: Ghana News Agency

COVID-19 sparking Africa’s search for ‘homemade’ cure for other diseases

Accra, The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed gaps in the healthcare system in Africa and brought many lessons to the fore, but the swift response and containment of cases in almost all African countries are no mean achievement.

Thankfully, the pandemic did not only put pressure on Africa’s healthcare system or kill many Africans as predicted by some scientists in the Western world, but it surely has sparked some fire in science, healthcare and research into finding cures for the virus and other diseases in the last two years.

To authorities in the health sector, the prolonged uncertain nature of the pandemic has presented local opportunities and challenges at the same time.

Health workers and experts say the pressure on the global health systems, has revitalized the practice of many scientists and researchers to cultivate deeper research and connections to find a cure or vaccine for the COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, especially in Africa.

A document on vaccine manufacturing in Africa, published in March 2021 by the UK Aid shows that COVID- 19 and other outbreaks have led to a sense of urgency and renewed public commitments, creating unprecedented alignment around African vaccine manufacturing.

In November 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal government of Nigeria announced plans to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.

Morocco and China National Biotec Group Company Limited (CNBG) in August 2020 signed two cooperation agreements on COVID-19 vaccine trials to allow Morocco to produce a vaccine and in November 2020 Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) signed a deal with the Moroccan pharmaceutical manufacturer Galenica to produce the Russian COVID-19 vaccine locally.

Similarly in 2021: Aspen Pharmacare started the production of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa. For the first time, with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Ghana and Rwanda are collaborating to build a whole production process for COVID-19 vaccines in Africa; the vaccines would be produced in Rwanda, and it would be filled-and- finished in Ghana.

In Ghana, for instance, the COVID-19 pandemic served the pharmaceutical and medical products production industry to innovate in the production of hand sanitisers, nose masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and disinfectants to aid the observation of safety protocol and protection at the onset of the pandemic while the world battles to find a cure.

Despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) for the first time in 2020, registered 349 different types of locally made medical devices like syringes, examination gloves and nose masks.

Records from the FDA show that within the period, the number of drugs and nutraceuticals: cosmetics and household chemicals, herbal products and food supplements, zinc and vitamins produced locally, increased from 2,717 in 2019 to 5,187 in 2020.

Mrs Delese A.A. Darko, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FDA, told Ghana News Agency (GNA) that before the pandemic, the Authority had registered only 19 hand sanitisers in Ghana but in 2020, amidst the outbreak, there were over 1,200 registered sanitisers on the markets, all made locally.

Obviously, while the highest priority goals were treatment and prevention of the COVID-19, scientific and technological knowledge and resources have never been greater leveraging globally to perform COVID-19 research at warp speed.

On January 5, 2020, just weeks after the first cases of illness were reported, the genetic sequence, which identified the pathogen as a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was released, providing information essential for identifying and developing treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics.

It would not be wrong to say that while Ghana counts the costs, COVID-19 also inspired domestic manufacturing capabilities, and deepened self-reliance.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, said in his 28th televised update to Ghanaians on measures taken against the spread of the COVID-19, that his quest to ensure that Ghana achieves self-sufficiency and boosts health security lead to the set up of a vaccine manufacturing institute to foresee the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute in Ghana.

“We shall not then, in the future, be at the mercy of foreign vaccine nationalism and geopolitics,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic made it possible for Ghana to commit USD 25 million to develop its domestic vaccine production capability and facilitate the capacity of domestic pharmaceutical companies to fill, finish and package mRNA COVID-19, malaria, tuberculosis, and other vaccines, as the first step towards vaccine production, by early 2024.

Professor Mikey Osei-Atweneboana, a Scientist at the Biomedical and Public Health Research Unit of the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) told the Ghana News Agency that the COVID-19 pandemic led to the establishment of the CSIR COVID-19 research lab to facilitate testing, research into the virus and possibly find a cure to the disease.

He said the COVID-19 laboratory has a Pharmacology Department that presently assesses herbal medication, its formulation, and its life span to make it more efficient.

The Professor said the Unit was presently doing a repurposing of drugs to test the efficiency of some existing drugs to cure COVID-19 and other diseases.

“Since the outbreak of the virus, there has been a lot of scientific and technological knowledge and resources that were never available, lots of scientific resources and infrastructure have been developed because of COVID-19,” said.

Prof Osei-Atweneboana said due to COVI D-19, the CSIR received equipment, which they would not have, a strong base of research into the virus has been developed, and the level of collaboration between external institutions, within and outside Ghana was deepened.

The Scientist stressed the need for the world to keep up the great level of collaboration and cooperation built in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine to find cures and medications for other diseases.

“Even in Ghana and across Africa, lots of immune boosters were produced locally, COVID-19 has taught the world lots of lessons and Ghana must take advantage of experience and translate them into finding cures for infectious diseases, which are threats to public health as well as finding more efficacious medications for Non-Communicable Disease and Neglected Tropical Diseases, ” he said.

Prof. Osei-Atweneboana says Africa must leverage on opportunities presented by the pandemic and venture into producing medications for diseases of much concern to Africans.

He said COVID-19 has revealed gaps in the national health systems and brought many lessons to the fore and called for a close collaboration between scientists and herbal practitioners to discover and find herbal medications for diseases affecting Africans.

The Centre for Plant Medicine Research (CPMR) at Mampong in the Eastern Region of Ghana also conducted research to help understand the virus and how it can be contained.

Dr Kofi Bobi Barimah, the Executive Director of CPMR says the centre amidst the pandemic developed two medications Immune and Ampoforte as a cure to the virus, the medications are presently registered as herbal supplements for boosting immunity.

“Together with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), we produced and administered Nidiema, a locally produced COVID-19 herbal medicine to COVID-19 patients to test its efficacy as part of the treatment plan for infected patients.”

The result of this trial he said is yet to be published.

Dr Barimah said the Ministry of Health had also presented 33 herbal products from The Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Associations (GHAFTRAM) to be tested as a cure for the COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic according to Dr Barimah has hastened and reposed the public’s confidence in herbal medicine in Ghana.

The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the need for African countries to invest in the development of their own capacity to create the necessary instruments which are essential to guaranteeing the health of their population.

Source: Ghana News Agency