The Talented Young Award-Winning Journalist Needs To Be More Responsible
I have been following the apparent outbreak of a deadly epidemic that has taken the lives of at least a dozen high school students around the country with grave concern. In the latest report of such fatal incidents, a student at the Koforidua Secondary Technical School, in the capital of my home region, the Eastern Region, that is, one student was reported to have died as a result of what was believed to have been a case of meningitis. But the bulk of media spotlight has been focused on the Kumasi Academy High School, in the capital of the Asante Region, where, we are informed, most of the student deaths have occurred. It turns out, as of this writing, that the Koforidua incident may be a case of Influenza, or the Flu, technically designated as H1N1 (See “Rejoinder: Koforidua Sec Tech Student Dies of Meningitis” Ghanaweb.com 12/9/17).
Well, in a press release signed by Mr. Scofray Nana Yaw Yeboah, President of the Koforidua Sec Tech Old Students’ Association, we are categorically informed that there is absolutely no medically diagnosed evidence indicating that, indeed, Master Dennis Acheampong had died of any causes relating to meningitis, as originally alleged by a Mr. Okoampa. The latter’s official capacity or institutional affiliation was not provided in the press release. I was, however, intrigued by the name “Okoampa” because, by and large, most of the Okoampas that I have come across, both in Ghana and right here in the United States, have turned out to be relatives, however “remote” such relationship may be deemed to be. I had a paternal uncle, by way of Akyem-Asiakwa, who was a longtime resident of Koforidua, Uncle Kwame Okoampa, the Chief of Akyem-Saaman, who recently returned to his eternal ancestral village, as it were.
I have every good reason to believe that the Mr. Okoampa mentioned in connection with the Koforidua Sec Tech’s student death may be a relative. But, of course, that is not the point of this column, rather, it has to do with that young award-winning Joy-Fm broadcast journalist who obliquely announced recently that he is poised to clinching another professional trophy by making President Addo DankwaAkufo-Addo the prime target of his derogatory fare. The grievance of the young award-winning Joy-Fm broadcast journalist was that President Akufo-Addo had not been the first responder to arrive on the campus of the Kumasi Academy High School, in the wake of the outbreak of what was alleged to be swine flu and the deaths of some students at the aforementioned school who were initially suspected to have been killed by a bout of meningitis, some 8 of them in about as many months.
Now, I find this imperious stance to be nothing short of the inexcusably preposterous because the President had promptly followed all the steps that he needed to follow, which included calling on his Health Minister and personnel of all the leading scientific research establishments in the country to get on top of finding the cause or causes of the apparent epidemic outbreak, and the most effective solution to the same. Indeed, as of this writing, the President had already been to the campus of the school to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of Kumasi Academy, or KUMACA, as the school is popularly known. The cynical beef of the Joy-Fm critic is that the deaths of two students in the latest onslaught of the epidemic at the school had been hidden from Nana Akufo-Addo, whom the Joy-Fm journalist, nevertheless, faults for having failed to highlight the latest bout of tragedy to have struck the school. What chutzpah!
Maybe the President needs to redefine precisely what he means, when he calls on Ghanaians to behave like “citizens” and not “spectators” as one that includes intelligent analyses of issues of social significance and the decorous dissemination of the same. At the end of all the frenzy and gratuitous throwing of tantrums in the wake of these apparently epidemic-oriented campus deaths, is the obvious need for the Health Ministry to embark on the periodic vaccination of our youths, the very young and the very old against the seasonal outbreak of deadly epidemics like meningitis and the flu.
A couple, or so, years ago, we had an even more scandalous deadly outbreak of cholera at the country’s foremost teacher-training academy, the University of Cape Coast, that also claimed nearly a dozen lives. Several other teacher-training colleges around the country were hit nearly as hard as the Cape Coast case; and yet, I don’t remember the young award-winning Joy-FM broadcastt journalist taking then-President John Dramani Mahama to task for having failed to personally rush to the scene before even a team of medical personnel had been assembled. You see, hypocritical self-righteousness is not one of the best practices of good journalism, young man.
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