KNUST Parasitologist to lead discussions at Ninth UN General Assembly Science Summit

Professor Alexander Yaw Debrah, a Professor of Parasitology and Global Health at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has been selected as a key speaker at the Ninth United Nations (UN) General Assembly Science Summit in New York City.

A statement issued by KNUST, copied to the Ghana News Agency said the summit, which is being organised by ISC Intelligence in Science, would bring together global thought leaders, scientists, policymakers, and experts from various fields across the world on 12th September 2023.

It said the Summit, which is on the theme: ‘The Role of Science in Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,’ was to address critical scientific challenges that impacted the planet.

It said Prof. Debrah was acknowledged for his leadership as the Director of the TAKeOFF project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which was expected to contribute valuable insights to enrich discussions and guide participants in a significant session titled, ‘Research Networks for Health Innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa (RHISSA) with DLR-PT.’

This interactive platform would allow him to engage in meaningful conversations with other research networks and experts from diverse fields and foster collaboration for sustainable development.

Professor Alexander Yaw Debrah holds a PhD in Medical Parasitology.

His primary research focused is on Neglected Tropical Diseases, particularly filariasis, and he has established research partnerships with international institutions such as the University of Bonn, Case Western Reserve University of Cleveland, the University of Buea in Cameroon, The Task Force for Global Health in the US, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, among others.

His impactful work had secured grants exceeding 15 million euros from significant entities, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Commission, BMBF, and the German Research Foundation.

Prof. Debrah has over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has been recognised with awards such as the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Travel Award, a nomination by the VW Foundation of Germany to attend a forum of Nobel laureates, and young promising scientists in Lindau, Germany, the prestigious bi-annual main prize of the German Paul-Ehrlich-Society for anti-infective therapy, and the German ‘Momento Research’ Prize.

He had held several positions at KNUST, including Examinations Officer, Head of Department, Dean of the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, and Acting Provost of the College of Health Sciences.

He is the Chairman of the Graduate Committee of the College of Health Sciences, a member of the School of Graduate Studies Board, and a member of the Academic Board of KNUST.

He also holds National and International positions, including Chair of the Planning Committee of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy of the American Society of Microbiology (the first African to be appointed to this committee since its formation over 65 years ago), the statement said.

The University Management commended Professor Alexander Yaw Debrah for these accomplishments.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Awadada, five others sued over mismanagement of Hogbetsotsoza proceeds

Togbi Agbesi Awusu II, the Awadada of Anlo Kingdom and some five others have been sued at the Sogakope High Court over proceeds from celebrations of the annual cultural festival, Hogbetsotsoza.

The five others were Togbi Zewu III, Mr G.A.S. Ladzekpo, Mr Silas Aidam, Mr Dan Abodakpi and Agbotadua Kumassah, who are members of the Hogbetsotsoza Local Planning Committee.

The plaintiffs- Mr Albert Ahialengor and Mr Atsu Tetteh, Convenor and Chairman respectively of a group, Anlo Progressive Youth for Accountability and Development- in a suit filed on August 16, 2023, and available to the Ghana News Agency, claimed among others that the defendants, who had been in charge of the organisation, planning and celebration of the festival since 2011, never rendered accounts to the people.

The suit said: ‘Plaintiffs also contend that defendants tenure has also been characterised by misappropriation of funds belonging to the Anlo Kingdom/State; resources which should have been channeled into projects in the Kingdom found their way into defendants private pockets.’

The writ said numerous attempts by the plaintiffs to get defendants to render accounts for their stewardship failed hence their action, seeking from the court ‘a declaration that defendants are trustees and fiduciaries of funds raised annually in the name and on behalf of the Anlo Kingdom/State.

‘An order for full disclosure of all accounts opened/operated in the name of Hogbetsotsoza and its affiliate from 2011 till date… An order for forensic audit of the income and expenditure accounts of the 2011 Hogbetsotsoza celebration from a reputable auditing firm.’

The plaintiffs prayed to the court to order defendants to refund monies found to be misappropriated resulting from the audit.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Aflao-Agblekpui Basic School appeals for classrooms, fence wall

Mr Kwabla Atigah, Parent, Teacher Association (PTA) Chairman of Agblekui Basic School in Aflao, has on behalf of the School Management Committee (SMC) and the community, appealed to government through the Ketu South Municipal Assembly to assist the school with additional classroom blocks and a fence wall.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after a visit to the school premises, Mr Atigah said the school lacked adequate classrooms and a fence wall, which was hampering smooth teaching and learning activities in the school.

The GNA observed that many learners took their lessons under mango trees due to inadequate classrooms.

The three-unit classroom block built for the school by Pencils of Promise, a Non-governmental Organization (NGO) was also in bad shape.

The school also lacked a hygienic place of convenience, posing a health hazard to the learners and their teachers.

According to the PTA Chairman, the school authorities have been appealing to the Assembly to assist in fixing these challenges, but those appeals have over the years gone unheeded, compelling the school management and the community to initiate a self-help project to construct a 3- unit classroom block for the school, which was currently under roofing level.

‘We have been appealing to the Ketu South Municipal Assembly to help in addressing our infrastructure challenges for a very long time now but because we are not getting any meaningful response, we took it upon ourselves to build this three-unit classroom block to augment the shortfall.’

The new classroom you are seeing here under construction is from the benevolence and contributions of the people of this community and some well-meaning individuals. The building as you can see has reached roofing level, but our only challenge now is how to raise additional funding to acquire the remaining materials to complete the project,’ the PTA Chairman lamented.

He, therefore, appealed to benevolent organizations and well-meaning individuals to assist in raising the needed funds to complete the project for smooth academic work to continue in the school.

Mr Mickson Akpavor, Headmaster of the school also called on the relevant institutions to come to the aid of the school in helping to address the challenges.

He appealed for the construction of a fence wall around the school to prevent loitering and encroachment on the school land.

He further appealed for the provision of a proper and hygienic place of convenience for the learners and teachers of the school.

Mr Akpavor expressed gratitude to the Agblekui community for their communal spirit and all those who supported in diverse ways to construct the new classroom block for the school and called for further assistance towards desired teaching and learning outcomes.

Source: Ghana News Agency

More than two million vulnerable groups to benefit from SIGRA project

More than two million vulnerable groups from the Northern and Volta Regions are to benefit from a gender-responsive adaptation project on climate change.

The project dubbed: ‘Strengthening Investments in Gender Responsive Adaptation’, (SIGRA) is being implemented in three Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the Northern Region and two Assemblies in the Volta Region.

It focuses on soil conservation and restoration, irrigation, forestry and land management, rainfall patterns, and promotion of relevant climate change technologies, among others.

It is a five-year project, funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by Cowater International and Network for Women’s Rights Ghana (NETRIGHT).

Ms Cynthia Sunu, Senior Programmes Officer at NETRIGHT, speaking at an information briefing session on the project with stakeholders in Tamale, said about 219,000 females and 214,000 males in the Northern Region, and 900,000 females and 800,000 males in the Volta Region would directly benefit from the project.

She said: ‘Apart from the direct beneficiaries, some 1.2 million females and 1.1 million males in the Northern Region will also indirectly benefit from the project.’

The meeting, organised by NETRIGHT and Cowater International in collaboration with Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency (SWIDA – GH), was attended by women advocacy groups, youth groups and persons living with disabilities.

They discussed climate change challenges in the Northern Region.

Ms Sunu said the project sought to intervene and improve the resilience of Ghanaian citizens, particularly women, girls, and other vulnerable groups by increasing investments in Inclusive and gender-responsive climate adaptation initiatives.

She said it would also help to improve the planning and execution of climate adaptation projects by the MMDAs as well as enhance the voices and influence of vulnerable groups in the areas of government expenditure priorities in the regions.

Madam Elham Mumuni, Technical Specialist on Gender and CSOs for Cowater in Ghana, said climate change presented a complex challenge that required vulnerable groups to join forces in demanding immediate intervention.

Ms Khadija Abdul-Samed Communication and Gender Desk Officer at SWIDA – GH, encouraged women groups not to shy away from issues of climate change, adding its impact could worsen their vulnerabilities.

Miss Abdul-Rashid Salma, Communication Manager at Urban Agricultural Network urged womenups to eschew various superstitious concepts on climate change and endeavour to work towards safeguarding the environment.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Saint Mary Theresa Hospital records zero maternal mortality for three consecutive years

Dr Victory Ametepe, the Medical Director of St. Mary Theresa Hospital, says the Hospital has recorded zero maternal mortality for the years 2021, 2022 and mid-year of 2023.

He attributed this success story to good stakeholder collaboration, excellent maternal care for prevention and timely treatment of complications and teamwork among staff in the hospital.

Dr Ametepe made this disclosure at the Mid-year Performance Review Meeting of the Kadjebi District Directorate of the Ghana Health Service at Kadjebi in the Oti Region.

For under five-year death, he said, 8 were recorded in the same period, 6 in 2022 and 17 in 2021, while infant deaths were 8 during the period, 4 in 2022 and 11 in 2021.

On stillbirth, Dr Ametepe said, 8 cases were recorded as of mid-year 2023, while 2022 and 2021 recorded 13 cases each and that the fresh stillbirth was 3 in 2023, 4 in 2022 and 2 in 2021.

The Medical Director says on supervised delivery, they were 337 deliveries as of mid-year 2023, 352 in 2022 and 383 in 2021, while that of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) was zero for both years 2023 and 2022, whereas six TBA deliveries were recorded in 2021.

He said ANC registration within the period under review was 211 in 2023, 229 in 2022 and 310 in 2021, while mothers with a fourth ANC visit were 197, 177 and 181, respectively.

Mr Damasus Ayangba, Deputy Regional Director, Administration, Oti Regional Health Directorate, commended the Hospital for being the Overall Best Performing Hospital in the Oti Region for the year 2022 and promised that the regional directorate would continue to support them with logistics.

He charged the health workers to improve their performance as service to mankind is a service to God.

Mr Eric Nana Takyi, Kadjebi District Director of Health Services, said the mid-year performance review was meant to identify gaps and strategist how to fix them.

He said stillbirth had reduced from 18 per cent in 2022 to 8 per cent during the half-year of 2023, teenage pregnancy also dropped from 16 per cent to 10 per cent during the period and that neonatal death has, however, rose to 8 per cent from 2 per cent in the same period.

Nana Takyi said substance and alcohol abuse were on the rise in the district and called for change, saying, if not, mental health challenges would shoot up.

Four individuals and two sub-districts were awarded for being the Best COVID-19 Vaccinators helping the district to achieve the 70 per cent target. There were presentations from the Health Promotion, Mental Health, Public Health, Nutrition and Disease Control Units.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Sanitation Ministry begins nationwide evacuation of refuse dumps?

The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resource has begun a nationwide refuse dump evacuation exercise to avert possible outbreaks of communicable diseases in rural communities, cities, and other urban centres.

According to Dr Freda Prempeh, Sector Minister, the Ministry was partnering with Zoomlion Ghana Limited, private waste management and sanitation company to undertake the exercise.

The Ministry would place enough waste bins and refuse containers at vantage points across the country for proper waste disposal to promote best sanitation practices and environmental cleanliness.

Dr Prempeh, also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tano North Constituency disclosed this when she interacted with the media after her inspection of refuse dumps evacuation at Bourkrukruwa, Terchire, Nsesreso and Jerusalem in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region.

She said the Ministry was worried about the widespread refuse dumps left in ‘centuries’ in some rural communities and urban areas, which were serving as fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes, rodents, reptiles and other dangerous animals.

These refuse dumps also serve as places of convenience, where some unscrupulous people eased themselves, a situation contributing to poor sanitation practices.

Dr Prempeh emphasised that proper waste management and environmental cleanliness remained shared and collective responsibility and appealed to Ghanaians to support the Ministry.

She said the public could support if they desisted from indiscriminate dumping of refuse and plastic waste materials and littering around.

Dr Prempeh said the Ministry had also prioritised waste segregation and recycling of plastic waste materials for other purposes and called on households to endeavour to segregate waste materials.

She emphasised households which failed to segregate their waste before dumping them into refuse containers and bins would be made to pay additional fees.

Mr Sampson Akwettey, the Acting Director of Environmental Health and Sanitation at the Ministry said the nation spent huge sums of money for waste management every year and called on everybody to help keep the environment clean at all times.

Source: Ghana News Agency