Friday, 26 April 2013

Malaria Prevention In Ghana

Ghana yesterday celebrated the success story of the hang up campaign which has seen the distribution of more than 12 million treated nets between 2010 and 2012.   Perhaps the 1st Lady  Mrs Lordina Mahama hit the nail right on the head when she entreated people with the treated nets not to make  them a show piece but use them for the intended purpose, in order   to prevent contracting malaria and possible deaths.  Indeed the interventions rolled up by the  National Malaria Control Programme and partners are yielding some results in that records are now showing  reduction in malaria deaths.  The WHO says 16 thousand deaths have ben averted nationwide.  Again according to the Multi Indicator Cluster Survey ,malaria prevalence in children has also reduced.  All these are as a result of multi faceted interventions.    

The interventions are the hang-up campaign where insecticide bed nets are hung in peoples rooms to make sure they sleep under them.  Use of Rapid Diagnostics Tests (RTDs)  to confirm malaria before diagnosing and the use of Artemisinin - Based Combination Therapy (ACTs).  In order to maintain and further deepen the gains made through the Hang-up strategy,  Ghana has adopted the Continuous Distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide NETs.  The continuous distribution concept seeks to utilize existing structures and channels and will see  children in Primary 2  and 6 nationwide receiving  free nets  to be rolled out in June.  This is significant because malaria can cause absenteeism from school and low academic performance due to poor brain function, including permanent brain damage, epilepsy and other crippling physical disability.  This initiative perhaps sums up the theme for this year 2013 up to 2015,  Invest in the future to defeat malaria.   The WHO, says the use of the Long Lasting Insecticide Nets is the best way to prevent malaria as they protect people from being bitten by the female anopheles mosquito.  It is therefore important for people to take very good care of the Insecticide treated nets.   Up to 20 gentle washes with mild soap, dried in a shade away from direct sunlight is all that is needed as well as sewing   when they get torn.  This will make them to last longer.  A lot of people have complained of heat when they sleep in the nets.  While some may consider this as  a flimsy excuse,  it is equally important to  reconsider the materials  used for the nets since in our part of the world there are high temperatures. 

We also welcome the initiative of Corporate bodies in the nation's sustained drive to fight malaria.  These Organisations are rising to the challenge of helping to prevent malaria as they have realised that contracting malaria tends to have dire consequences on productivity.  These organisations with support from the Johns Hopkins Malaria Project have  developed and launched Malaria Control Strategies for their workers and families.  They include the VRA, GRA and the  Volta River Estates Limited.  It is hoped other  organisations will come on board so that there will be concerted effort to help fight malaria.  The issue of fake  anti-malarial drugs should not be taken lightly  because of the major threat  they pose to effective treatment of malaria.  Health authorities say malaria is becoming difficult to treat due to drug resistance and counterfeit or substandard malaria drugs.  It is therefore heart warming  that Ghana's long standing partner,  the US,  is ready to help deal with the fake drug issue.  

The US Ambassador Gene Cretz at yesterday's World Malaria Day celebration  said  Ghana,  will be supported with a  Counterfeit Detective Device known as CD-3.  This is a hand held, battery operated tool designed to detect counterfeit or substandard anti-malarial drugs.  The device is expected in Ghana this year. Now that the rains have set in,  it is necessary to ensure that the environment is free of stagnant water which remains one of the breeding grounds for anopheles mosquitoes.  We need to turn attention to prevent stagnant water in  open gutters, potholes and  flower pots at home.    Open storage water tanks should be covered.  Let's all join hands to ensure a malaria free society.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Let Us Maintain The Peace

PEACE is only a five letter word and yet, how powerful is its influence! Peace is an indispensable ingredient in development. Peace in the home between family members - what a blessing! Peace in the neighbourhood - how desirable! Peace at the workplace - how refreshing! Peace in our schools - what a catalyst for academic progress! And peace within the nation - how priceless!

It has been said that we do not appreciate what we have until we lose it. May this never be true of Ghana. Investors from around the world are flocking in to Ghana. Some multinational companies are already making Ghana their West African headquarters. Tourists continue to arrive within our borders in their numbers. Why are they all converging on Ghana, from President Barack Obama of the US, through business tycoons, to the globe-trotting tourist? They all resound in unison, "Ghana is a peaceful country". As a bonus, they add: "Ghanaians are friendly", Do we appreciate what we have in the comity of nations? Ghanaians have often been reminded not to take the peace for granted. This is a timely reminder, but are we sincere when we sound such reminders? Granted, we are all different: We have different cultures and varied educational and social backgrounds, and there are differences in political and religious opinions. But must our differences divide us? Is it worth it? Must the maxim be, "My family, right or wrong", "my friend, right or wrong", "my party, right or wrong"? We do well to remember that the things that unite us outnumber and outweigh those that seem to divide us. We all have one thing in common, Nation-wide we enjoy relative peace. Let us make every effort to maintain the peace. Easier said than done. Still, no matter how challenging the attainment of peace might be, let's make the effort. We owe it to ourselves and to posterity to do so. 

Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, if we find that the situation is becoming explosive, then before trouble starts, let's take our leave. If we learn to leave the scene before the worst happens, then there will be no conflicts or near conflicts at home, at school, at the workplace or at Parliament House, when court is in session or hearing is over. Yes, graciously leaving the scene will avert confrontation. After all, it takes two to tango. Another way we can maintain the peace is by imitating the Good Samaritan who did good to a total stranger, a man of another nation, a Jew. In the same way, may we act in the best interest of one another regardless of where the other person comes from. The greatest formula for peace is LOVE. Jesus could not have expressed it better; "Love you neighbour as yourself." Your neighbour is your fellow human being. First Corinthians chapter 13, verses 4 to 7 explains love as follows: "love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous,it does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things". Let us bear in mind that if we love our neighbours as ourselves our peace will be long-lasting. Let's give love a chance and reap its priceless by-product peace.

TEL: 0207 617166, P. O. BOX RF 58, MADINA. 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Quality Leadership Being Provided by the Mahama - Amissah-Arthur Administration

The  Mahama-Amissah Arthur administration seems to be redefining leadership in the country as per some decisions taken in the area of corruption and arrogance in public service. President Mahama and Vice President Amissah-Arthur are fast establishing themselves as people who can be counted upon to clean the stables with regard  to safeguarding the public purse in the pursuit of probity and accountability. 

Recently the Chief Executive of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre, MASLOC, Mrs. Bertha Sogah was asked to proceed on leave to pave the way for investigations into allegations of conflict of interest levelled  against her.  Mrs Sogah was alleged to have taken 500 thousand Ghana cedis from the accounts of the State-run organisation and  given it to a private company owned by her husband. Also in the news is government setting up a five member committee to investigate  some corruption issues in the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Agency, GYEEDA formerly known as the National Youth Employment Programme. 

On the heels of this is another presidential directive to the Board of the National Service Scheme for the Executive Director,  Vincent Kuagbenu to take his accumulated leave.  Mr. Kuagbenu is expected to report to the office of the President for reassignment after the expiration of his leave.  Even though it is  acknowledged  that Mr. Kuagbenu has been hardworking, some people did have issues with him with regard to his human relations.  This is not all, the Chief Executive of the Driver, Vehicle and Licensing Authority, Justice Amegashie, has been given four weeks to prepare his  handing over notes.  No reasons were again assigned for such an action.  It is advised that reasons should be given for such removals since silence gives cause for speculations. 

The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice recently launch investigations into the operations of the Savanah Accelerated Development Authority, SADA following revelations that  the authority was implicated in operations involving huge amounts of money invested in alleged non-existent projects.  The long and short of it all is that people are being investigated or have been sacked for acts which are at variance with their calling as Public Servants.  Sometime back this was not the case.  There has been an instance where a former Head of State refused to reprimand his appointees publicly since that could make his government.   unpopular. 

One problem former President Rawlings had with previous NDC administrations was the non-adherence to the principle of probity and accountability.  Mr. Rawlings has never hidden the fact that he is passionate about probity and accountability which are the tenets for the formation of the NDC .  President Mahama has acknowledged that the first 100 days of his administration have been turbulent but the government has been focused in checking blatant acts of corruption.  Nevertheless, there is the need to cast the net wider.  Several government appointees seem to have lost touch with reality.  They seem to be lording it over the people instead of serving them.  Others are engaged in publicity stunts without getting the job  done.  The District Assemblies are typical areas where the President needs  to direct his focus.  Revelations from the Public Accounts Committee sittings indicted  some MMDAS over malfeasance including misuse of the common fund, embezzlement and award of contracts without regard to the Public Procurement Act.  Now that efforts are underway to have Chief Executives of MMDAs elected through universal adult suffrage, it is hoped the President will be meticulous in the choice of people who will manage the Assemblies because they are the fulcrum around which the decentralisation programme revolves.

 It is good the Chief Executives are now being made to sign performance contracts so that those who do not measure up will be kicked out.  John Rockefeller once said "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.  The House cleaning embarked upon by government must not be a flash in the tea cup.  Politicians are paid with our  taxes, so we need to exact accountability from them.  People entrusted with public office need not use it for private gain  else they defeat the confidence people have in them.  Corruption and arrogance by public office holders retard development because the state is denied revenue to undertake infrastructural development and to deepen social intervention programmes.  Corruption is negative and we need to all join in eradicating it.


Friday, 12 April 2013

The Continuous Unrest On The Labour Front

 The recent agitation, on the labour front, does not augur well for stability and cohesion needed  to build the  nation. Various worker organizations are on strike to back home their demand for enhanced service conditions as required by law, while others have also given signals of their readiness to withdraw their services. Though industrial actions are legitimate tools adopted by labour unions to press home demands, it is the last resort after exhausting all laid down rules. This is because of the negative consequences such decisions have on the nation’s socio-economic development. Human resource  is a great asset to every nation, as such it is important to do everything humanly possible to protect and preserve their interest at all times. 

Even in situation where robots are  to be used for any activity, they are manipulated by human beings. Steps being taken to handle the industrial agitation by government and those concerned have not been the best under the circumstances.  This is because in the heat of such agitation where distribution of resources created by the working class appear not be to distributed equitably you expected nothing less than agitation to express their positions. And again, in a situation where the ability to pay which is the considerable factor in labour negotiations has been skewed towards another group of people to the neglect of others only goes to fuel the crisis. 

The implementation of the Single Spine Pay Salary policy by government was received as welcome news to address the inequities in the public pay structure. It was also  aimed at bridging the wide remuneration gap between the public and private sector workers. Just as with all policies and programmes, the implementation is definitely confronted with serious challenges that will require time to handle. 

Negotiation in the labour front which  is a process through which parties move from their divergent positions to a point where agreement may be reached seems to have been thrown into the gutter. Now when ideal positions of the two sides in negotiations and the likely settlement position diverge greatly as we are witnessing now between labour organizations such as the doctors and the University lecturers, the chances of an impasse, breakdown and subsequent industrial unrest looms. Parties at the  negotiating table to resolve labour disputes have instead of sticking to flexibility, collectivism, and voluntarism,  are now rather sticking to entrenched positions. 

This has never helped in any negotiations. What has even compounded the situation is the resorting to the media in resolving sensitive labour issues when organizations such as medical doctors who are classified under essential services are involved. A show of inexperience by some media commentators and remarks by politicians over the issue is so disturbing and they only succeed in adding more insult to  injury. In situations like this, people tend to forget, they are dealing with human beings who after all can be forced to rescind their decision under protest but cannot be compelled to deliver at a point of work.

As we add our voice to the call on striking workers and other category of staff to rescind their decision and resume work, similar  appeal goes to the government and all those who have a stake in finding solution to the ongoing industrial actions to act now.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Developments On The Labour Front and The National Economy

Recent happenings on the industrial front makes one shudder as to whither the country is drifting in its development agenda.  Let us look at a scenario where some people have declared that the sitting President is illegitimate and therefore will not do anything to fester his Presidency, yet when that same President orders the payment of ex-gratia, they collect it with glee. There is another case where the ruling party is regularly accused of dissipating state revenue to the bones, yet when the same administration doles out laptop computers, the same people collect them with the best of praise.  

Teachers go on strike for non-payment of Single Spine premiums. Some of them are alleged to have converted their vehicles to taxis yet expect to be given maintenance allowances on them. Striking medical doctors in government hospitals leave patients to their fate yet go on private practice to earn a living.  Government Hospital Pharmacists have withdrawn their services but are ready   to be paid at the end of the month. The Workers of the Judicial  Service go on strike with the over all objective of grinding the dispensation of justice to a halt quite against the ethics of their profession, and we have people arguing they see nothing wrong with that.  The list is endless but suffice it to say that the strike phenomenon is becoming one too many.   If the intention of all these industrial boycotts are meant to grind the national economy to a halt then we may be doing the country a great disservice in the long run.  

 The Minister of Finance, Seth Tekper in a candid opinion did indicate  that if labour unions remain entrenched in their demands for lump sum payments over alleged Single Spine infractions there will  be dire consequences for the  economy.  According to the Minister, government could not immediately pay outstanding public sector allowances without borrowing, as this will affect interest rates.  What is worrying in all these developments is the stone silence of the Ghana Trades Union Congress, an  umbrella workers organisation, leading opposition parties and the clergy.  Many Ghanaians expect the opposition NPP to offer an alternative in the on-going brouhaha over Single Spine demands. The opposition NPP should not think it cannot find itself in the situation that the NDC government currently finds itself.  We need not cut our nose to spite our face.  

It is disturbing the National Labour Commission  is being seen as a toothless bull dog in the whole matter,  because its directives are not being adhered to. We must admit government committed a blunder in paying Article 71 office holders the whooping ex-gratia when negotiations with striking workers were on-going.   But two wrongs they say do not make a right.   In the foregoing debate, let no profession think high of itself because its members perform essential services.   Every job is important for the national economy.  It is good former Member of Parliament, Maxwell  Kofi Jumah had to eat the humble pie for asking teachers not to compare themselves to Members of Parliament.  We need to take another look at the wage rationalisation policy.  As legendary musician, Bob Marley once sang," until the philosophy which makes one race inferior and another superior is abolished, there will not be peace."  We need peace on the labour front to prosecute the national development agenda.  It is a general belief  development partners and investors  have taken a cautious stance over the current electoral challenge before the Supreme Court.  Let us not worsen matters by taking the nation further down the abyss.  

Striking workers must accept the offer by Fair Wages  and Salaries Commission to pay their outstanding allowances in  instalments.  The intransigent stance taken by doctors and university teachers will not help matters.  Life is like an egg, once it  falls it can never be retrieved.  We need to have a win-win situation for all parties at the negotiating table.  It will be unconscionable to lose a single life because of the doctors strike which has been described as illegal by the  National Labour Commission.  

The National labour Commission should go to the court to get its decision enforced to the letter.  Efforts by government to mitigate the strike by medical doctors is so far commendable.  NHIS card holders in the current situation have no option than to look out for the list of private clinics that accept National Health Insurance Cards to access their services.  Government must stand its grounds and not yield to the whims and caprices of any individual organisation else it opens the floodgates for more agitations.  Strikes should be the last resort to seek redress once precious lives are concerned.  The Ghana Medical Assocaition and other labour groups insisting on their pound of flesh before backing down on their demands must rethink their action for enough is enough.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Declining Interest In Reading Among The Youth

One issue that may endanger the future prosperity of Ghana is the declining interest in reading among youths. Students are addicted to the internet and cellular phones which they believe are the best tools and excellent means of research and entertainment. Libraries throughout the nations’ institutions are poorly patronised. Unfortunately students describe most of the books as archaic. Indeed, we are living in an age where reading habit is fast becoming elusive. One will have expected that the advancement in technology should have enhanced reading  among the youth, but they are rather misapplying it. With the exposure of  students to video game, computers, television and now the internet, it is not surprising  that reading is dying away. Although, the use of the internet by students for research and studies in schools is not a bad thing, its misapplication can greatly undermine national development.

 The use of the internet as a main tool for reading to the neglect of books is an impediment to the mental development of students. The human resource of Ghana cannot be sustained in the future if students  do not take reading seriously. One can attribute the poor academic performance of students both in the basic and tertiary schools  to the apathetic culture towards reading. Thousands of students in many schools are struggling to make common expressions in the Queen’s language which is English. The future of the nation is highly dependent on how students take their reading seriously. Great leaders are those who devote themselves to  reading. President John Mahama often said; “The youth are today’s leaders but not the future leaders” The youth in this regard should not think of becoming leaders one day, but should consider themselves as today’s leaders.

Great leaders are those who make great speeches, irrespective of their age identify problems in society and put forward ideas to  solve them with ease. Reading is the weapon to the mental and social development of the individual. Much as it makes the mind active, the knowledge acquired from reading empowers the individual to deal with any given situation. Indeed, the more you read the more you know.  We often hear people talk of Karl Max, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Mensa Otabil, William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar among others    being called great speakers and leaders. These were people who were committed to reading.  No one is born great! Great persons are those who think of becoming great and strive for it through reading.

Our media personnel are very fluent in their reportage, presentation, and expression. This is due to their commitment to reading. Students are therefore encouraged to strive hard to take the mantle of leadership from the old folks by emulating their reading  culture. Active mind, vocabulary improvement, creativity, stress bust, confidence building and self-esteem are all dividends of reading. Ghana is an enterprise of which everyone is a shareholder. Instilling the reading discipline into the youth is therefore, a shared responsibility of every Ghanaian. It is an appeal to every stakeholder to rise up to deal with the canker of poor reading habit.  It is good news to learn that the  Ghana Education Service in collaboration with government is putting measures in place  to rekindle the dying  reading habit among the youth. We can help raise great leaders for Ghana if we pay serious attention to reading.  Let us rise up and deal with the situation now! 


Monday, 8 April 2013

Giving Priority To The Health Needs Of Older Persons

The choice of theme for this year's celebrations of World Health Day "High Blood Pressure" is most exciting because Cardiovascular ailments are the major  one causes  of death Globally, they account for about 17 million deaths in the world each year. Complications of high blood pressure, also called hypertension or BP for short account for more than nine million of these deaths including about half of all deaths from heart disease and stroke. 

One in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure.  This proportion increases with age, from one in 10 people in their 20s and 30s to five to ten people in their 50s.;  This makes it imperative that appropriate and accessible preventive healthcare services are put in place to help reduce health risks to this segment of society especially those associated with hypertension.  This is against the background that old age and health are  key challenges  in the yet to be implemented National Ageing Policy.

 Absolute numbers of older people, that is those 60 years and above have been increasing rapidly in recent times due mainly to improved health care which has translated into increasing life expectancy. The greatest beneficiaries being women who now enjoy life expectancy above 60 years.  High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure.  If left uncontrolled, it can also cause blindness, irregularities of the heart  beat and heart failure.  

There is a social cost to this problem too, millions of people forgo seeking care for high blood pressure in the early stages because they cannot afford it.  This results in early deaths, disability, personal and household disruption, loss of income, a diminished work force and high  medical care expenditures. Older people will benefit a lot if appropriate and accessible preventive and curative healthcare measures  are put in place. This will  help reduce health risks including those associated with hypertension, given the fact that old age and health are challenges in the yet to be implemented National Ageing Policy. 

This makes it imperative for the Ministry of Health and appropriate   institutions to intensify health promotion programmes aimed at reducing occurrence of preventable diseases.  One priority area should be  early detection and treatment of high blood pressure along with public polices and primary health care services that educate and support people to prevent them from developing high blood pressure.  Those who have developed the disease must be helped to manage it effectively.  The offices of the National health Insurance Scheme owe it a responsibility to embark on community awareness campaigns to increase the understanding of the rights and entitlements enshrined under the National health Insurance Act, Act 852 its benefits and the process of accessing these.  Particular efforts should be made to package the awareness messages in a form that would be easier for older people especially women to understand. The age of exemption form the payment of premium should be reduced from 70 years to 60 to improve enrolment of non-SSNIT Pensioners on the scheme. 

The fact that majority of older persons are not on a pension scheme means that many older people below age 70 are being partially denied the opportunity to enroll on the National Health Insurance Scheme due to Financial Constraints.  Government should therefore heed   to recommendations in the AU Policy Framework and Plan of Action on Ageing which requires member states to develop and review health budgets to ensure that adequate funding is devoted to the provision of older people taking into account their higher per capita requirement.  It will also be prudent if benefit packages under the scheme are made more relevant to the health care needs of older people. 

The general window opened for the use of the fund under sections of the Act establishing the scheme should be invested in improving the capacity of health professionals to provide geriatric medical services under the scheme.  Section 30 (3) partially  mandates the National Health Insurance Authority to assess benefit packages under the scheme every six months and advice the sector Minister accordingly.  Some diseases to consider in expanding health care services under the NHIS for older people include urine retention, eye care, colon cancer, prostate cancer and Ear-Nose and Throat ailments. 

Health data should be disaggregated by age to include people above sixty years.  This will ensure ready availability of data to at least monitor changes in the health care needs of older people.  We need to use the celebration of World Health Day this year to advance the cause of the aged because they have paid their dues to the motherland. It would therefore be at the height of ingratitude to allow older people to die from preventable ailments like hypertension.


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Addressing Carnage On Our Roads

It is rather unfortunate Ghana is gradually consolidating an unenviable position where road accident is seen as a major cause of death in the country. That the number of lives perished on our roads is higher than those killed by malaria and HIV/AIDS gives credence to this assertion. It is sad that Ghana even though is not engaged in any conventional war with any enemy, the roads have been and continue to be the fiercest battle ground one can think of. That is to say, the carnage on the roads is the worst common enemy of Ghanaians. Some of the vehicles that ply our roads can aptly be described as walking chimneys. If one is unfortunate to trail one of them on a busy highway in a car without air conditioner over a long time, the amount of poison one will inhale can damage ones system more than what a life- long chain smoker will suffer.

The causes of accidents on our roads are not far-fetched. They can broadly be put under these sub groupings such as human, mechanical and structural errors. There is no doubt that human error constitutes the most prevalent cause of accidents on our roads. What we even normally call accidents are not accidents in the right sense of the word but rather negligence, carelessness and sometimes plain foolhardiness on the part of the roads users. For instance, the law says that, if you drink, don’t drive and if you drive don’t drink. This has become a common cliché but people drink, drive and demonstrate madness on our roads and when there is accident they attribute it to the making of spiritual forces. One cannot talk of accidents on our roads without talking about what one may term ``the devil of the three overs`` namely, over speeding, over loading and wrong over taking. All these become prevalent during special occasions like Christmas and Easter. One thing that has been causing fatal accidents on our roads is broken down vehicles on our roads without proper warning signs. It is rather very sad and the same time funny to see that leaves are used as warning signs on our roads; a language understood by only Ghanaians. These leaves are not reflective and visible enough to be seen from afar especially, in the night apart from the fact that they can easily get dried up and be blown away by wind. Even those who have the correct triangle signs sometimes wrongly place them. Either they are placed very close to the stationary vehicles or sometimes on top of it. In that case the driver of the on-coming vehicle can only sport it when it is too late. Again, most of our roads do not have road signs and road markings. Unfortunately, the few roads signs are either overgrown with weeds, stolen or have fallen down. One dangerous structural error that causes a lot of accidents is potholes on tarred roads some of which can best be described as manholes. As a matter of fact, human errors cut across other causes of accidents. What we even call mechanical faults can many a time be further traced to human negligence. For instance, transport owners telling their drivers to go to work one more time when they know the tyres of their vehicles are worn out.

Preventing accidents should be seen as collective responsibility of all well-meaning Ghanaians because everybody runs the risks of being victims. The fight must start from the remotest cause to the most immediate ones. For example, importation of inferior auto parts into the country should be checked with all the seriousness it deserves as is done in the case of fake drugs. If a mechanic does shoddy work on a vehicle and he is found out he should be dealt with as a criminal. The executive of transport organization and station masters should be educated to be interested not only in the booking fees but in the lives of innocent passengers. It is their duty to make sure that the vehicles and drives they load at their lorry parks are in good condition to convey the passengers safely to their destination. Every district should acquire a towing truck so that when a vehicle breaks down on any road, it is towed as soon as possible to a safe place for a fee. There should be frequent maintenance of roads by the authorities concerned. Let us all with unity of purpose reduce to the barest minimum the carnages on our roads or eliminates it completely before it eliminate us.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Post 2015 Development Agenda

Poverty, disease, inadequate shelter, hunger, gender disparity, child mortality among others without doubt hamper development. Since the UN General Assembly began to set priorities to deal with these setbacks the Millennium Development Goals have proven to be worthwhile benchmarks for ensuring development.
They are said to be the most broadly supported, comprehensive, and specific poverty reduction targets the world has ever established. For the international political system, the millennium development goals are described as the fulcrum on which development policy is based.

For the billion-plus people living in extreme poverty, they represent the means to a productive life. The Goals point to targets of public investment, water, sanitation, slum upgrading, education, health, environmental issues among others. 2015 which is the target year for the achievement of the Millennium development goals is just around the corner. Ghana’s performance in striving towards these millennium goals have overtime been documented in series of reports. The reports show some significant success in the goals of halving poverty, ensuring universal basic education and ensuring gender parity at the primary school level among others.

Ahead of the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UN Secretary General requested an inclusive national consultation process in selected countries including Ghana to stimulate the debate on the post-2015 development agenda. This initiative is based on the conviction that the post 2015 development framework will have the greatest development impact if it emerges from an open inclusive transparent process.

The national consultations for the Post 2015 Development allow for everybody's input into this basic decision-making process, rather than leaving decisions to government representatives or experts. The outcome of the consultations will inform the report of the UN High Level Panel on Post 2015 as well as the subsequent UN Secretary Generals official report to the 2013 UN General Assembly.

From a development perspective, having a post-2015 framework provides a positive signal that the international community is coming together as one to solve some of the global challenges. This could lead to a real partnership of nations and a new vision of the future of international cooperation. In Ghana the official launch of the national consultations on the post 2015 development agenda took place in Tamale last year and was followed by stakeholder workshop which targeted stakeholders principally from the three northern Regions. Task teams were thereafter sent to selected deprived and marginalized communities in Ghana to hold focus group discussion with people in slum , farming and other remote communities. A number of different outreach modalities such us social networks including face book text messaging, were also employed to facilitate this process throughout the Country.

As we get to the climax of the consultation process it is important for us to unite behind a common nationalistic development agenda that will ensure sustained nationalist development planning efforts even after 2015. To quote the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “We need everyone to work together to create the future we want, eradicate poverty and promote inclusive growth. The Post 2015 national consultative process is priceless since consensus building is a strong ingredient for national development.

It is important in today's interconnected society where many problems exist that affect diverse groups of people with different interests. Such an exercise promotes democratic principle enshrined in the constitution and enhances Ghana’s international commitments to good governance and accountability. As the current MDGs expires in 2015, it is important that the whole world has started looking ahead to imagine what the new development agenda could and should look like.

The decision as to the world we want after 2015 is indeed a shared one. For us in Ghana the post 2015 national consultations should be a reference point for a non partisan consensus building towards the preparation of a long term strategic framework which will carry the development vision of the entire nation from generation to generation. Indeed the only way to ensure a progressive nation that we will all cherish is for a strong partnership of ideas devoid of partisan consideration even after 2015.


Significance Of Good Friday

The Christian world celebrates Good Friday, the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Here in Ghana, many people attend church services and organize religious events to mark the day. As Christians go through these spiritual activities and try to relieve the most significant event in the life and ministry of Jesus, they should endeavour to manifest the effects of Jesus sacrificial act in their lives, so that it reflects on the rest of the Ghanaian society. After all, nearly seventy percent of Ghanaians identify themselves as Christians. One can only imagine what blessings will come upon our land if all Christians in Ghana would truly live by the teachings of Jesus. The significance of Jesus death on the cross, a wooden construction made up of a vertical and a horizontal beam, that intersect is that, Jesus has restored the link between God and humanity, and the divisions that exist between societies and nations. The celebration of Good Friday, coming on the heels of Ghana's 56th Independence anniversary which focused on national unity, should not go without some thought. It is expected that Christians will draw inspiration from the redemptive act of Jesus to embrace all to promote unity among Ghanaians irrespective of the ethnic, political, religious and social differences. Certainly we have come a long way in our efforts at living together as one people. But the recurrent flashes of communal and inter-ethnic conflicts should remind us constantly that true national unity is a goal we must continually work towards.

Again by his passion and death on the cross, Jesus has brought meaning to human pain, suffering and death. The passion of Jesus should remind us all that no one can go through life without experiencing some pain and suffering whether self-inflicted or brought on by others. While striving to live more comfortable lives we need to exercise patience and persevere because nothing worthwhile comes easy. Jesus by his death on the cross turned it into an altar of holy sacrifice on which he offered himself as a holocaust for the salvation of fallen humanity. The example of Jesus is a testimony of fellow feeling which Christians need to exhibit always. Social and economic transformation is slowly making the Ghanaian society more consumerist and individualistic. Christians need to rediscover and return to such esteemed cultural values as care and concern especially for the vulnerable children, the aged and destitute, respect for elders and above all being patriotic. At a time like this, Christian love will also mean showing respect for the lives on the road that motorists and pedestrians adhere to road safety rules. Again the symbolism of the cross of Calvary may be likened to the red in our national flag that represents the blood and sacrifice of our fore bears who gained gain liberty and independence for us. Many of the nation’s sporting heroes have talked about how the Ghana flag and national anthem gave courage and strength to fight for laurels in international sporting arena. Let the cross of Christ spur Christians on to do a little for God and country. The celebration of Good Friday reminds us that it is only through hard work, discipline and sacrifice that Ghana will become a really great and prosperous nation. The pain that comes from toil and sacrifice will in time yield the rewards of glory and honour among other nations. May the prayers and other spiritual exercises that many Christians embarked upon during the season of lent leading to Good Friday see a renewal in our lives and a re-dedication to the national cause. To our Christian brothers and sisters, we say a Happy Easter.