ISD News File - Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2004
TODAY IS WORLD AIDS DAY
President Kufuor is expected to deliver the World AIDS Day address today at the Mawuli School Park in Ho.
World AIDS Day, which falls today, has “Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS” as its global theme, but the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) has crafted out of the global theme a sub-theme “Protecting Women and Girls From the Spread of HIV/AIDS” – to suit the local situation.
The involvement of President Kufuor demonstrate the high level of political commitment to the campaign against HIV/AIDS. He will take advantage of the occasion to launch a national HIV/AIDS policy.
PRESIDENT KUFUOR INAUGURATES DISTRICT POLICE HEADQUARTERS BUILDING AT AMASAMAN
President Kufuor yesterday inaugurated a ¢300 million District Police headquarters building at Amasaman in the Greater Accra Region.
The single-storey building was financed jointly by the Ga West District Assembly and the Ghana Police Service.
President Kufuor expressed regret that the Police Service, which was supposed to be the anchor of peace and security in Ghana, has been so heavily undermined “by some past regimes”.
He said, under good governance and rule of law, the Police Service should be a body that provided the people, “warmth and a sense of security”.
The President said, it was the policy of his government “to carry good governance to the door-step of every Ghanaian”, adding that the government was determined to improve the Police Service to enable it to play its proper role in the development of the nation.
VICE PRESIDENT INAUGURATES TRANSMISSION STATION
The Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, has inaugurated a five kilowatt radio and television satellite transmission station at Wa in the Upper West Region.
In a brief address, Alhaji Mahama said, with the inauguration of the facility, television transmission from Accra would no longer pass through Ghana Telecom.
He said, the remote areas in the region which, hitherto, did not have access to television transmission, could now listen to news from other parts of the country.
Alhaji Mahama charged staff of the GBC in Wa not to relent in their duties but handle the equipment carefully.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Mr. Mogtari Sahanum, said he was happy that the problem of link failures had become a thing of the past.
The Director-General of the GBC, Miss. Eva Lokko, was grateful for the support in putting up the station. She announced that more equipment would be provided for the corporation to enhance its work.
NOGUCHI MEDICAL RESEARCH TESTS NEW SERUM
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has embarked on an experiment to ascertain the efficacy of a biological extract for the management of HIV/AIDS, known as goat serum.
This follows the signing of a contract between the institute and Grace Eureka Bio-medical Research Products International, the local laboratory working with the inventor, Dr. Gary Randalph Davis, in collaboration with the American National Institute of Health.
The head of the Virology Unit of NMIMR, Professor Nana K. Ayisi, said the experiment was to confirm earlier ones conducted by the universities of Tuskegee and Alabama, both in the USA, in 1995.
Dr. Gary Davies said, the earlier experiments indicated that the extract, BB: 7075, stopped the HIV virus from entering the human T cell, one of the main immune cells responsible for fighting all microbes that invaded the body.
He further said, the extract also selectively eliminated infected cells and spared normal ones. The experiment would take between four and six weeks to complete, he added.
MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR TACKLES CASE OF REMAND PRISONERS
The Ministry of the Interior has tasked the Attorney-General's Department, the Ghana Prisons Service and the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to rid the prisons of remand prisoners who are being held in custody without sound justification.
This is part of an effort to decongest the prisons, Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, the Interior Minister, stated in Accra yesterday while opening the annual Prisons Regional Commanders' Conference.
Mr. Owusu-Agyeman announced that a committee made up of representatives from the Ghana Police Service, CID and the Attorney-General's Department had been constituted to look urgently into the cases of over 2,000 remand prisoners, most of whom were being held under expired warrants.
The Minister said, plans were afoot for the construction of a modern remand prison at Kasoa, in the Central Region, to accommodate remand prisoners from the southern half of Ghana.
He promised that soon 75 motor vehicles would be made available to the service, training programmes for both inmates and prisons staff would be stepped up and prison workshops would be re-equipped to facilitate the reform of inmates.
The Director-General of Ghana Prisons Service, Mr. William K. Asiedu, said that during the past year, the Prisons Service had chalked up remarkable successes in the area of human resource development, as it has shifted from its rigid stance to a more flexible and people centred approach.
Mr. Asiedu thanked the government for allocating ¢9.9 billion from the HIPC Fund for the Service, which had enable it to undertake a number of rehabilitation and construction projects, and for the provision of logistics, which had ameliorated prison conditions.
WATER FILTERS FOR GUINEA WORM INFESTED COMMUNITIES
The President of the Rotary Club of Ho, Rotarian Joseph Achana, has presented Aqua Filter boxes to two guinea worm endemic communities in the Ho municipality. They are Wumenu and Kpogadzi.
The Aqua Filters, valued at ¢38 million and can filter 500 litres of water per hour, were donated by St. Albert Rotary International District 5370 Canada and Rotary Club of Stainbuuora, UK.
According to Rotarian Achana, the filters were purposely manufactured for the two communities by a company in the UK.
MILITARY HOSPITAL GETS EYE DIAGNOSTIC EQUIPMENT
The 37 Military Hospital has acquired an equipment used in the measurement of refractive errors in the eye.
The instrument, a refractometer, was donated by the US government, through the US Embassy in Accra and forms part of the US Military European command outreach programme in Ghana.
The Embassy also donated 50 copies of 'pre hospital emergency care and crisis intervention' medical course books and associated work books.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony in Accra yesterday, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Ms. Mary Carlin Yates, said the instrument was similar to the one used during last year's bi-annual West Africa Training Cruise Medical Outreach Programme conducted between the United States Navy and the Ghana Armed Forces in some villages in the Western Region in September 2003.
“I recall the joy of watching some of these villagers” total delight when, after an instant diagnosis by the autorefractor, they received pairs of glasses and could see colours, faces and their surroundings”, she said, and commended the Minister of Defence and the Military for their support in the programme.
The Minister of Defence, Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, expressed appreciation and said the machine was very important and would enhance efficiency at the eye department of the hospital, since it allowed for accurate and quick diagnosis refractive errors in the eye.
CONFERENCE OF COMMONWEALTH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION ENDS IN CAPE COAST
The Chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), Mr. James Johnson, has condemned the recruitment of health personnel from developing countries to developed nations.
Speaking at the opening of the 20th Joint Triennial Conference of the Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) and the 46th Annual General Meeting of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) in Cape Coast yesterday, Mr. Johnson described the practice as unfair and stated that attracting health professionals, particularly, doctors and nurses from developing countries negatively affected that state of the health sectors in those countries.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Health Minister, Dr. Kweku Afriyie, President Kufuor, called for discussions on a sustainable solution to the problem, which, he said would prove a win-win situation for the health workers, their own countries and the host countries.
The GMA awarded the highest honour of the Fellow of the Ghana Medical Association, to three persons including the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Dr. Edward Ganydor of the Wa Regional Hospital and Professor David Ofori Adjei, Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.
Professor Akosa was also elected the President of the CMA for 2004/2007.
BORDER OPERATIVES URGED TO IMPLEMENT ECOWAS PROTOCOLS
The Minister for Regional Co-operation and NEPAD, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, has asked all border operatives, private sector and other stakeholders to implement the new protocol relating to the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme and the protocol on free movement of persons, goods and services.
Dr. Apraku made the call when he addressed the CEPS, Immigration, Police and other border operatives at Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region.
He said, the government was committed to the implementation of the ECOWAS protocols so that people could feel comfortable in carrying out their legitimate duties.
The Minister said the workshop, which was the fourth in the series, was to sensitise them, not only to the essential protocols but also to the new initiatives and assured them that the heads of state were committed to overcoming obstacles that affected the sub-region in its development agenda.
Dr. Apraku noted that the ECOWAS countries were working assiduously to integrate their economies and therefore their role in achieving such laudable idea was paramount.
METHODIST CHURCH TO ASSIST KORLE-BU BURNS CENTRE
The Methodist Church of Ghana has asked the Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre (RPSBC) of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to furnish it with areas where the church could assist.
The request was made by the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, the Most Rev. Dr. Robert Aboagye-Mensah, when he visited the RPSBC and saw the state of patients and the nature of the work being done by the doctors and nurses.
The visit also afforded the Presiding Bishop the opportunity to interact with Mr. Thomas Sackey, 30 a Buruli Ulcer patient, who is also a church member and a youth leader at Onyansana in the Ga mission circuit of the Ga District. The Methodist Church bore the cost of Mr. Sackey's treatment estimated at over ¢6 million.
Dr. Albert Painstil, Director of the RPSBC commended the efforts of the church and suggested that helping patients like Mr. Sackey was one way the church could be of help to the centre and mentioned education and engendering an awareness programme in the areas where the disease was endemic as another form of help.
GHANA RAISES $90 MILLION TOWARDS GAS PIPELINE PROJECT
Ghana has raised its equity share equivalence of $90 million towards the construction of the West African Gas Pipeline Project which starts this year.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria provided $40 million of the amount as an interest-free loan, while the remaining amount was contracted from a local bank with international affiliation.
The Minister of Energy, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, who said this in an interview, explained that the Ministry of Finance was expected to factor the repayment of the loan from Nigeria in subsequent national budgets to ensure that payment was made on time.
Dr. Nduom hinted that the sod-cutting ceremony for the project had been fixed for November 30, this year, by the Council of Ministers of Energy of the countries involved in the project, namely Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Ghana.
SPORTS DAGBON PEACE MATCH
Abedi Pele and George Weah, will this weekend attempt to use the powerful, global language of football as a unifying force to help deepen peace in the Dagbon traditional area.
Concerned about the protracted conflict between the Dagomba families – Andanis and Abudus – Abedi and Weah want to give true meaning to their ambassadorial status as they face each other in an exhibition match in Tamale.
The match, which features other celebrated soccer starts like Mohammed Polo, Nii Odartey Lamptey, among others, seeks to silence the war drums ahead of the December 7 polls.
With experience of playing in similar matches on other conflict areas of the world, Abedi and Weah decided to use their influence to preach peace in Dagbon, and the initiative has received the support of the UNDP, Maracuja Passion Drink and Alpha Lotto who have put together resources to fly the Stars to Tamale.
At a press briefing yesterday, the UNDP's advisor on Peace and Governance, Mr. Ozonia Ajielo, said his organisation's support of the peace match was rooted in the UNDP's active interest in different peace initiatives in Dagbon.
Thus, the match offers an important opportunity to consolidate peace in northern Ghana.