Use research data in formulating policies to fastrack the attainment of universal health coverage – PharmAccess Foundation

The Minister of Health Kweku Agyeman Manu has said the quest to achieve universal health coverage can only be driven by research into health delivery, quality healthcare and access.

He has therefore charged policymakers, healthcare providers and academics in the health sector to utilize research data to formulate and implement effective healthcare policies to help fast-track the country’s attainment of universal health coverage UHC.

According to the World Bank, Universal health coverage (UHC) is about ensuring that people have access to the health care they need without suffering financial hardship.

Data from PharmAccess Foundation however shows that 43% of the African population still lacks access to basic health care while about 11?million people are driven into poverty every year due to spending household income to access basic health care.

In its attempt to change this, PharmAccess Foundation organized a maiden symposium aimed at helping bridge the gap between health research and policy formulation for healthcare.

The one-day conference which was under the theme, “Facing the facts for UHC, can research drive policy from innovation in health financing and delivery in Ghana; explored ways of leveraging technology to improve health care delivery across Africa.

In attendance were officials from the Ministry of Health, the National Health Insurance Authority NHIA, the Norwegian and Netherlands embassies, and pharmaceutical companies among others.

Speaking via a video conferencing, the Director of Research, at PharmAccess Foundation Professor Global Health, University of Amsterdam Prof. Tobias Rinke de Wit emphasized the need for factoring independent research findings into innovative ways of making healthcare accessible to all especially those in remote communities. According to her, PharmAccess Foundation is earnestly enhancing the capacities of young researchers across Africa to help generate useful data in developing effective policies to accelerate the attainment of Universal Health Coverage UHC.

“PharmAccess Foundation is building capacity for young researchers across Africa to help inform and guide policy formulation in innovative healthcare financing.”

Speaking at the opening of the conference, the minister of health Kweku Agyeman Manu said the government remained committed to ensuring universal health coverage UHC for 80 percent of the country’s population by the year 2030.

“The overall UHC goal for Ghana is to at least attain 80 percent of Ghanaians have access to essential health services by the year 2030”

According to him, the government has developed a comprehensive UHC roadmap towards making this a possibility. Other speakers took turns to stress the need for bringing the research, policy formulation, innovation, and finance delivery gaps in health care delivery in the country.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority Dr. Okoe Boye noted that outcomes of the symposium will help the NHIA in formulating effective policies to expand its current coverage rate from 50 percent to 70 percent.

“Ninety-five percent of diseases in the country are covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme. But beyond, the ninety-five percent, fifty percent of Ghana’s population is actively benefiting from the NHIS.”

He added, “However, we are working to raise that figure to about seventy-five percent by the close of the year, so the outcome of this symposium would come in handy in that regard.”

On her part, the operations manager for PharmAccess Foundation Dr. Gifty Sonkwa-Mills believes effective implementation of research findings would go a long way to fast-track the attainment of the Universal Health Coverage across the continent.

“The objective of this symposium is to ensure that research policies are implemented to the latter to benefit the average person in Ghana.”

She explained that PharmAccess focuses on the root causes that hamper healthcare financing and investments toward equitable and quality healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. “We are working as an innovator and catalyst for pragmatic solutions that can be adopted, adapted, and scaled by partners. Dr. Gifty added.

She said the PharmAccess integrated approach addresses both the demand and supply side of the health care system and uses the opportunities that mobile technology and data provide to leapfrog development in health markets in sub-Saharan Africa. With the aim to inspire viable and resilient health markets that provide access to care for millions of people in Africa.

According to her, through public-private partnerships, PharmAccess focuses on; promoting basic health insurance plans and other innovative demand-side financing options to protect people from financial hardship; introducing quality standards and improvement methodologies for health care providers to increase transparency and stimulate efficiencies; facilitating and stimulating loans, business support, and investments for private health care providers, and innovating value-based health care solutions and financing, using data to empower health care consumers, patients, doctors and financiers alike.

Source: Ghana Web

Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Todd D. Robinson Travels to Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa, and Accra, Ghana

Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Todd D. Robinson will travel to Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa from May 4-6, where he will meet with South African officials and attend an International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) event, with approximately 80 ILEA Gaborone Alumni from the Republic of South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Botswana.

From May 7-9, Assistant Secretary Robinson will travel to Accra, Ghana, for meetings with INL partners and Ghanaian officials.

For more information, please contact INL-PAPD@state.gov and follow INL on Twitter, @StateINL.

Source: EMM/ U.S. Department of State

Traditional rulers to take part in decision making process – Chieftaincy Minister

Stephen Asamoah Boateng, the minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, has hinted of plans by the ministry to amend parts of the Chieftaincy Act, to allow for Chiefs and Queen mothers to participate in the country’s decision-making process.

According to him, traditional rulers played a pivotal role in the shaping of national discourses and cohesion, hence the need to include them in the formulation of policies and programs towards national development and cohesion.

Asamoah Boateng gave the hint at the final funeral rights of the late Paramount Chief of Adele traditional Area, Nana Opoku Anto III, at Tutukpene in the Nkwanta South district of the Oti region.

The minister commended the chiefs and people for maintaining peace in the area over the years and pledged his ministry’s continuous collaboration with the chiefs and queens of the area to ensure development.

He said his outfit was aware of the processes begun by the late chief to get all his sub-chiefs gazetted before his demise and promised the ministry’s commitment in ensuring that the process continued.

Source: Ghana Web

The hunter will equally get exhausted as the hunted – NPP

There is a clear manifestation of the Akan proverb, “Otwen bebre, na 3b3fo3 nso bebre” currently going on in the Kumawu constituency with respect to the pending parliamentary by-election scheduled for 23 May 2023. The proverb as stated in Twi language can be translated into English as “both the hunter and the hunted will suffer exhaustion” as in, “the antelope keeps running away to save his life while the hunter chases him to kill”

Both the antelope (the hunted) and the hunter are suffering in one way or the other. Each is trying their hardest to gain the upper hand over the other. The hunter wants to kill the antelope for food, stealthily shadowing him with his gun wherever he runs while the antelope at the slightest noise raises his ears in the air and begins to run away to save his life.

Are both of them not suffering in a sense?

Again, the Akan says, “3bafan se oreye oni na nso onnim se ne to na 3re seye no” to wit, “the cripple thinks he is doing his mum injustice by dragging his buttocks along the floor without knowing he is rather damaging his own buttocks”.

Furthermore, there is this Akan adage that goes, “3bofo3 nnim se 3bewe aboa tiri a, anka 3hwe hoo ne yie”, meaning in English as “If the wicked person knew he would end up eating the head of the animal, he would have taken time to roast it properly”

All the above proverbs have come to torment the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as regards their collusive mistreatment of the late Philip Basoah (Hon.), the member of parliament for Kumawu Constituency. Their intentional or otherwise, discrimination against him coupled with the persistent victimisation of his political position to the point of the president having an undeniable passionate dislike for him, had a toll on his health to finally resulting in his untimely death on 21 April 2023.

I will not like to delve into why and how he was criminally disowned by many of the Executives of NPP but all for obviously stupid reasons. They saw him as standing in their way, making it difficult for them to execute their selfish agenda for their personal interests to the detriment of the constituents hence lying about him to the president who sadly swallowed whatever he was told line, hook and sinker.

Following his death, a vacuum has been created that needs filling hence the pending by-election.

The NPP would not have bothered much about his death and how the by-election goes if it were not for the current state of Ghana’s 8th parliament in the 4th republic. Ghana now has a hung parliament with both NPP and NDC having 137 legislators each in the house with one independent candidate (Asiamah) who aligns with NPP.

Therefore, the NPP cannot afford to lose Kumawu Constituency to either the NDC or to the independent candidate to relegate them to opposition.

The independent candidate in the person of Kwaku Duah gave Philip Basoah (Hon) a tough chase for his post during election 2020.

For the NPP government denying Basoah any requests he made for development projects for his Kumawu Constituency, the independent candidate campaigned on the importance of Basoah acquiring anything for Kumawu to turn the electorates against him.

The independent candidate could not have come so close to the votes garnered by Basoah to win the seat if the NPP had not side-lined him in the distribution of the national development projects to turn many a constituent against him, accusing him of doing fuck all for the constituency for all the years he had been in parliament.

Now that a by-election is about to take place with NPP scared of losing it, they have started doing the Kumawu urban streets to win over the heart of the electorates. The leaders are also trooping to Kumawu as never before to campaign in support of their candidate Ernest Anim.

Now, the NPP leadership is compelled to quicken up to provide the Constituency with its share of the projects it has been denied for all these years because of its hatred for Basoah.

If they knew Basoah would die in this period of Ghana having a hung parliament and with a strong independent candidate lurking in the dark to spring out to seize the seat, they would have treated Basoah fairly for him to continue to live.

From the headache presently created for the NPP and all that they are frantically doing to appease the constituents in terms of the road construction, I can only say that the proverbs above are practically in a clear demonstration for all eyes to see.

Basoah, the hunted, had suffered but the NPP leadership as the hunter is currently suffering.

Read an online publication titled, “Kumawu election: “You are a greedy person” – Wontumi slams Kwaku Duah over alleged sabotage”. It says it all about how the NPP is fearful of losing the election to the independent candidate. They are sweating.

I will do my bit to help them retain the seat. This will be a bitter lesson for them to desist from some of their unhelpful attitudes that I have already written about.

Source: Ghana Web

Taxi services to go digital similar to Uber and Bolt – VP Bawumia

The Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia, has hinted that commercial taxi drivers in the Greater Accra Region will soon be connected to a digital system, similar to the electronic platforms used by Uber and Bolt, allowing the public to access their services from any location in the region.

According to graphic.com.gh, the vice president indicated that the entire public and private transport sectors in the region will soon transition to a “Tap and Go” system accessible with oyster cards by the end of the year.

Speaking at the opening of the 46th Session of the General Council Meeting of the Church of Pentecost at the Pentecost Convention Centre, Gomoa-Fetteh, in the Central Region, he said he believes this is a practical solution to a practical problems.

The vice president also used the opportunity to urge Ghanaians to be problem solvers rather than engage in insults and propaganda.

Meanwhile, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on May 2, met the majority caucus in parliament to inform them about his decision to contest the flagbearerhsip on the ticket of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

This comes after the party announced the opening of nominations for the flagbearship slot contest which will begin on May 26 and end on June 24, 2023.

The New Patriotic Party has scheduled its presidential primaries for November 2023.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s inclusion in the NPP presidential candidate race brings the official number of people who have declared their intentions to contest to nine.

They include the former Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen; the former Minister of Food and Agric, Dr. Owusu Akoto Afriyie; Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong; former MP for Essikado-Ketan, Joe Ghartey; and a former MP for Mampong, Francis Addai-Nimoh.

Source: Ghana Web

Supreme Court clears Receiver of UniBank to testify

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Receiver of defunct UniBank, Nii Amanoo Dodoo, can testify in the trial of Kwabena Duffour, and eight others.

Defence lawyers of the accused persons indicated that Nii Dodoo should not be allowed to testify.

They argued that the Receiver had breached sections of the Banks and Specialised Deposit Act, 2016.

The lawyers explained that he was appointed as Receiver of UniBank after being a partner of KPMG which audited the accounts of the bank.

But the State opposed the objection.

Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution, admitted that Nii Dodoo was previously a partner of KPMG.

She, however, argued that his appointment as the Receiver was lawful.

Attakora Obuobisa urged the court to dismiss the objection since the witness met the requirement for qualifying to testify.

Bright Mensah, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting as an additional High Court judge dismissed the objection and upheld the Director of Public Prosecution’s arguments.

The judge said that Section 59 of the Evidence Act explains who was not qualified to testify.

It includes someone who was incapable of coherent expression to be understood, directly or through interpretation by another person

who can understand that person; or is incapable of understanding the duty of a witness to tell the truth.

Source: Ghana Web

Significant drop in cocoa production worrying – Duffuor

Former Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, has said the significant drop in Ghana’s cocoa production is worrying given that the commodity is the backbone of the economy.

Ghana achieved a historic feat of more than 1.14 million tons of cocoa production, about 45% increase in the 2020/2021 crop season.

However, dropped significantly in the 2021/2022 crop season though COCOBOD was yet to provide official figures.

The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) recent report said cocoa production during 2021/2022 dropped in the two world leading cocoa countries – Cote D’Ivoire (-6%) and Ghana (-34%) owing to multiple factors including devastating effect of swollen shoot disease and climate change.

Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has forecasting about 750,000 tons of cocoa production in the 2022/2023 crop season higher than the 2021/2022 production.

According to Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, his sources indicate Ghana may not meet this target for the season.

He said current happenings in the cocoa sector will ultimately affect the economy and cocoa farmers.

“Our leaders have failed us. What I am hearing is that Ghana may not be able to get 500,000 metric tons of cocoa this year. In 2010/2011, we had one million metric tons. We decided to sustain the gains and increase it so we become number one producer of cocoa in the world. We came up with a policy to distribute 20 million free cocoa seedlings to farmers annually. It was captured in the 2011 budget and we started implementing it. So hearing that we may not get 500,000 metric tons saddens me. It means cocoa farmers are going to suffer,” he said.

Dr. Duffuor stated that “NDC is going to win the election at all cost and when we assume power, we will resume the distribution of 20 million free cocoa seedlings annually so we beat Ivory Coast to occupy the top spot as world largest producer of cocoa. We can’t let the cocoa industry collapse. It is the backbone of the economy”.

Dr. Kwabena Duffuor said this when addressing delegates of the NDC in Akim Manso in Asene Manso Akroso constituency in the Eastern region as part of his 4-day campaign tour.

At Upper West Akyem Constituency, Dr. Duffuor assured Cocoa farmers in the area that the next NDC government will help bring to life an abandoned 48-million-dollar Jute Factory at Adeiso.

The factory established by an Indian group call Ganges in partnership with government in 2008 sits on a 12-acre size land at the Upper West Akyem District.

When completed would be the largest jute factory in Africa with a monthly capacity of 600,000 sacks. This would have reduced Ghana’s $215million annual spending on importation of jute sacks to about $70 million.

Again, the factory was expected to provide job opportunities for 2,000 people.

Successive governments after President Kuffuor made efforts to ensure the project is completed for operationalization of the factory, however, the Akufo-Addo led government has failed to pay attention to the final stage of completion leaving the fledging factory to rot in the bush.

Chiefs, cocoa farmers and youth in the area continue to demand state attention to the factory but to no avail.

Source: Ghana Web

Software engineer charged for stealing rented vehicles remanded

Eugene Kyei- Yeboah, aka Sparrow, who allegedly rented two vehicles from two rental companies and sold them to a mechanic, has been remanded into custody by an Adentan Circuit Court.

Kyei-Yeboah, a 26-year-old Software Engineer, has been charged with stealing, forgery of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) Form A and C, and two counts of defrauding by false pretences.

The prosecution led by Inspector Eric Ransford Abban prayed the court not to take the plea of the accused person, pending further investigations into the matter.

The prosecution, therefore, prayed the court to grant them two weeks.

The court presided over by Sedinam Awo Balokah remanded Kyei-Yeboah into lawful custody to reappear on May 11, 2023.

The case of the prosecution is that Kyei-Yeboah resides in Tema while the first complainant, a mechanic, resides in Kokomlemle, Accra.

It said on February 9, 2023, the first complainant reported to the Police that on January 12, 2023, he went to a car garage at Okponglo to buy a car.

The prosecution said the complainant identified a Toyota Corolla with registration number GN 4926-21 and after negotiations, he bought the vehicle and paid a cash sum of GHC68,000 for it.

It said Kyei-Yeboah handed over a DVLA Form A and C with serial numbers to the complainant as documents covering the vehicle to do the “change of ownership.”

The prosecution said on February 8, 2023, the complainant bought an unregistered Toyota Camry which was brought to another garage at La Bawaleshie by Kyei-Yeboah at a cost of GHC50,000.

It said the complainant paid cash in the sum of C35,000 and presented a cheque of GHC15,000 to Kyei-Yeboah for the balance of the transaction.

The prosecution said Kyei-Yeboah handed over a Customs Declaration document to the complainant.

In February, this year while the complainant was driving the Toyota Corolla, the vehicle was tracked and intercepted at Anyaa by the Police who said it had been stolen from the rightful owner.

The complainant later drove the Toyota Camry to the Legon District Police and lodged a complaint.

It said Kyei-Yeboah was handed over to the Legon Police and during investigations disclosed that he rented both vehicles from two rental companies and later sold them to the complainant without the knowledge of the companies.

The prosecution said the investigation revealed that the Toyota Camry was already registered in the name of Mantey Patience Aku.

It said Kyei-Yeboah was released on a Police inquiry bail whilst investigations were underway.

Source: Ghana Web