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27.05.2004 General News

US Ambassador calls on Volta Regional Minister

By GNA

Ho, May 27, GNA - The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mary Carlin Yates on Thursday observed that Ghana's current status as a "Shinning Star of Democracy in the Sub-Region" would be rewarded by more investments to boost its economy.

She made the comments in Ho during a courtesy call on Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, Volta Regional Minister, on the first day of her two-day working visit to the Region.

Ambassador Yates said democracy started in the country more than 10 years ago and "there is every indication that democracy is here to stay".

Mr Owusu-Yeboa briefed the Ambassador on the demography of the Region, which he said was physically and ethnically diverse, but largely peaceful.

He said the Region was a little fragmented traditionally, with many traditional areas having paramount status.

Mr Owusu-Yeboa said land acquisition for development was a problem since land unlike some other traditional areas, was owned by families and individuals.

He said in order to reduce disputes over land that delayed project implementation, District Assemblies now identified and prepared documents on lands and put them in "Land Banks" for prospective investors.

The Regional Minister said the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) was using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods to solve some of the land and chieftaincy disputes in the Region.

Ambassador Yates later visited the Ho District Hospital to interact with Child Welfare and Antenatal Clinic staff operating the Insecticide Treated Mosquito Net (ITN) Voucher Discount Programme. Beneficiaries of the programme pay half the price of nets at designated shops.

Dr MacDamien Dedzo, Head of the Public Health at the Volta Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the scheme, which is running on pilot basis in the Region, was targeting between 60,000 and 70,000 nets this year.

Dr Margaret Kwaku, Ho District Director of the GHS, said Nurses and Midwives at the Antenatal Clinic had a duty under the programme to counsel pregnant women to buy and use the nets.

She said there was a built-in follow-up under the programme to monitor those who were given the vouchers to ensure that they understood the need of the nets.

The voucher scheme is a private - public collaboration and is being supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development of UK (DFID) and NetMark.

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