Thursday, March 13, 2008

Change attitude to work — Baffour-Awuah

Story: Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
THE Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, has called on Ghanaians, especially operators of small- scale businesses, to change their working attitude in order to contribute their quota towards national development.
He was addressing a business and financial seminar in Sunyani for more than 40 small and medium-scale enterprise operators in the region.
African Assistant Plan, a Sunyani-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), and Global Business Assist (GBA), a US-based NGO dedicated to empowering the world’s powerless through micro development, jointly organised the seminar.
The participants, comprising farmers, traders, artisans, shopkeepers, among others, were taken through topics such as wealth creation, business building, tracking expenditure and how to take care of workers.  
Mr Baffour-Awuah urged the self-employed to eschew laziness and work hard to ensure the growth of their businesses.
He also asked the youth to grab every good opportunity that would come their way and make profitable use of their time.
He also commended the NGO for its immense support to the region.
The Executive Director of the African Assistant Plan, Bishop David Donkor, said the NGO had, since its establishment in 1996 as a Christian-based organisation, been assisting small and medium entrepreneurs, as well as providing communities with good drinking water, healthcare facilities, among others.
He said all the participants at the seminar would be given financial assistance to expand their businesses.
Bishop Donkor advised people who had the intention to invest to undertake the needed market research before entering into a particular line of business.
He urged operators of small and medium enterprises to promptly pay their taxes to the state and also endeavour to repay loans given to them for the expansion of their businesses so that they would become credit worthy.
The President of the GBA, Mr Douglas Mann, said his organisation was a non-profit one whose goal was to mobilise professionals and community groups to bring business development and relief to the world’s poor.    

22 Arrested for causing bush fires In Sunyani municipality

Story: Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
TWENTY-TWO people have so far been arrested and prosecuted in the Sunyani municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region for causing bush fires since the ban on hunting, bush burning, palm-wine tapping, distilling of akpeteshie and other related activities was imposed on the area this year.
The ban, which came into effect from November 1, last year to March 31, 2008, is to help curb the high incidence of bush fires in the municipality.
The Sunyani Municipal Fire Officer, Mr Kwasi Baffour-Awuah, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Sunyani, said the law also banned people from using chemicals for fishing purposes, farming within 50 metres of streams and rivers, as well as felling or destroying trees except for a justifiable cause or with the authority of the municipal assembly.
He said the law banning those activities had been captured in the Sunyani Municipal Environmental Protection Bye-Laws, 2006, which had been gazetted and was rigidly been enforced to ensure that the environment was protected, especially against bush fires, during the dry season.
Mr Baffour-Awuah, who is also a Divisional Officer Grade III of the Ghana National Fire Service, warned that any person who would contravene provisions in the bye-law on environmental protection would be liable to a fine of GH¢500 or in default serve a prison term not exceeding six months or to both.
“Notwithstanding any punishment under this bye-law, whoever causes damage to property as a result of fire shall not be immune to civil action by the owners of the property,” he stated. 
Mr Baffour-Awuah said despite the imposition of the ban, which would be lifted by the end of this month, food and cash crop farms and part of the forest reserves, especially the Tain One and Two forests, had been destroyed by fire, the cost of the destroyed items running into several millions of new Ghana cedis.
He appealed to the courts to impose severe punishment on offenders to serve as a deterrent to other recalcitrant people in the society.
Mr Baffour-Awuah said from January to February this year, 87 cases of fire outbreaks, ranging from domestic, industrial, bush and vehicular, were recorded in the municipality, adding that the figure was more than the 57 recorded during the same period last year.
He commended the Bush Fire Prevention, Monitoring and Enforcement Patrol Team, led by Assistant Divisional Fire Officer, Mr Emmanuel C. Ansong, and the fire volunteers from the various communities in the municipality for the assistance they provided the team in the patrols.
Mr Baffour-Awuah appealed to corporate bodies and individuals to assist the fire volunteers with items such as machetes, Wellington boots, Key soap and protective clothing to help them to fight bush fire.  

Jaman North NHIS registers more clients

Story: Samuel Duodu, Sampa
THE Jaman North District Health Insurance Scheme at Sampa in the Brong Ahafo Region had, as of December last year, registered 66,853 clients, representing 65 per cent of the district’s population.
The registration was in response to a directive by the National Health Insurance Authority to ensure that 50 per cent of the population subscribed to it within that year.
The Board Chairman of the scheme, Mr James Yaw Peh, disclosed this at the fifth annual general meeting of the scheme at Sampa, the district capital.
He said the scheme also realised a total amount of GH¢1,062,920 from both registration and premium, adding that it had settled all bills and claims with service providers up to the end of January this year, which involved an amount of GH¢954,692 for 113,00 clients who visited the various health facilities in the district.
He expressed concern about the way some clients attended health facilities more often than necessary.
Mr Peh said during the period under review, the government released quarterly funds to the tune of GH¢1,062,920, covering the premium of the exempted groups, made up of SSNIT contributors, pensioners and those below the age of 18, which was more than 50 per cent of the total enrolment.
The board chairman, however, called on beneficiaries of the scheme who had derived its immense benefits to be the ambassadors of the scheme to encourage people who had not yet subscribed to it to do so.
Mr Peh expressed appreciation to the government, the Jaman North District Assembly, health providers, as well as a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Nipa Ba Brew Geriatic Centre, for supporting the scheme to achieve the 65 per cent coverage.
The Scheme Manager, Mr Joseph Mensah, attributed the success of the scheme to the quality service provided for clients by health providers, coupled with the professionalism and friendless of the staff in dealing with clients.
He pledged that the scheme would intensify its campaign to achieve 80 per cent coverage by the next meeting.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, stressed the need for health insurance agents to adopt what he described as “effective and efficient means” of convincing people to join the scheme.
The District Chief Executive (DCE), Madam Elizabeth Obah, entreated people who had registered under the Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to resist the temptation of accessing health care under the scheme when there was no need to do so.
She observed that many people had the wrong impression that once they had paid their premium, they must visit a health facility at all cost before the year ended, whether sick or not.
Madam Obah stated that the practice of recouping one’s premium at all cost defeated the risk sharing principle of the health insurance scheme, which ensures that the sick got quality health care at minimum cost.
She commended the management and staff of the scheme for their good work
The DCE, however, stressed the need for the NHIS staff to attend refresher courses in order to update their skills.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Nduom to place premium on healthy environment

Story: Samuel Duodu, Sunyani

THE flag bearer of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, has said he will place premium on a clean and healthy environment during his first 100 days in office.
“I pledged that when elected as the President of Ghana, I would make a clean and healthy environment an urgent issue to be given high priority,” he told a group of journalists during a working visit of the region at the weekend.
He said under his watch as President, he would use the full powers of the state to engage in a broad, countrywide education on the importance of a clean environment and, more important, provide the law enforcement agencies the support and the logistics needed for them to be strong in ensuring adherence to the laws in this area.
Addressing journalists in Sunyani on his vision and stance on the environment, as part of his two-day tour of the Brong Ahafo Region, Dr Nduom stated that he would make collection of garbage and its disposal the number one priority of all the metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs), adding that anyone who failed to comply would be promptly replaced.
He said this could be done only when Ghanaians got the right to elect their own MMDCEs; they would also demand better performance from these leaders, saying ‘I know the demand for better performance will be there, because I have experienced it as an elected member of a district assembly”.
Dr Nduom cited the cases of some other countries where Mayors of towns and cities were elected. He said regular and timely collection of garbage, clean streets and beautiful gardens were important requirements for re-election to buttress his point on the need for MMDCEs to be elected in Ghana to ensure a better performance for a clean environment.
He explained that under his presidency, he would engage the Legislature and all other stakeholders for the laws to be reviewed for the MMDCEs to be elected by the people so that they could demand better performance from them. 
The flag bearer added that in situations where the state had awarded contract to a private company for garbage collection, the state would still retain the responsibility for managing the work to determine quality and timeliness of the work performed.
This, he said, would require capability, commitment and willingness on the part of the state to deal with the problem.
He said the state needed to enact appropriate laws, monitor performance, and this required the need to reform the state’s bureaucracy.
“Experience tells us that when the environment is clean, people tend to keep it that way. When garbage is already there, they tend to add to it. Insects, mosquitoes and other harmful germs thrive on unclean circumstances. When our clothes are clean and we smell good, we tend to have confidence to enable us to deal with others. When our beaches are clean, more tourists will visit our country,” Dr Nduom stressed.
“A safe and clean environment is a prerequisite for having a significant tourist programme. In the same way, our national psyche will be enhanced significantly if our environment is clean and healthy. We will gain more respect from our neighbours and from the international community,” he added.
“I have the will and the commitment to ensure that we have a clean and healthy environment that will benefit the nation and the next President of the Republic of Ghana,” Dr Nduom stated.
He also pledged that under his rule as the President of the nation, he would make sure that the environment was always clean to ensure that “we have a healthy people and become a highly productive nation”.
He stated that the Rawlings-led NDC administration and the Kufuor-led administration did a lot to ensure a clean environment in the country, but the inability of these past and present well-meaning efforts to deal with the problem of sanitation and to bring about a clean and healthy environment meant that “we need to find a different solution from the very one we tried in recent times”.
Dr Nduom, who said he was a devout Catholic as part of his campaign tour of the region, earlier in the day attended the second Mass at the Christ the King Cathedral in Sunyani, where he wished Ghanaians a happy 51st independence anniversary, and pledged that he would not engage in politics of insults and blame game during the electioneering.
He said his campaign would be based on issues, and also called for debates among the other flag bearers of the other political parties.
Dr Nduom later addressed a meeting of regional and constituency executives of the party, and urged them to work extra hard to enable the CPP clinch victory in the 2008 elections to form the next government.
He also paid a courtesy call on the Sunyanihene, Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri, at his palace in to formally introduce himself to the chief and his elders as the flag bearer of the CPP.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Story: Samuel Duodu, Dormaa-Ahenkro

The Omanhene of Dormaa Traditional Area and a member of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, Osagyefo Osedeayo Agyeman Badu II has challenged claims by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II that ‘people should not make the mistake that Asanteman exercised authority over certain paramountcies in the Brong Ahafo Region’.
He stated that that claims by the Asantehene that Brong Ahafo Region falls under his customary authority was palpably false and deceptive and, therefore, the chiefs and people of Dormaa wish to emphatically state that the Dormaa Traditional Area does not fall within Asanteman.
The Dormaahene who reacted to the claims purported to have been made by the Asantehene during the first meeting of the Asanteman Council held at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on February 18, 2008 and carried on page 14 of the Daily Graphic of February 20, 2008, described the statement attributed to the Asantehene as unfortunate.
Nana Agyeman Badu, who is also the President of the Dormaa Traditional Council, said this after an emergency meeting of the traditional council held at the Ambrapedease Palace at Dormaa-Ahenkro in the Brong Ahafo Region last Thursday.
The Dormaahene asked the Asantehene to go to court as he was prepared to meet him in that forum to settle the matter.
He stated that the Dormaa Traditional Area stretching from Bomaa in the Tano North District, Abesim, Chiraa, part of Sunyani, Dormaa Municipality and Dormaa East District Assembly fell under his customary jurisdiction and had been in his absolute control since time immemorial.
The Dormaahene stated further that it was also a fact that other major areas of the Brong Ahafo Region fell within the customary domain of certain paramount chiefs in Brong Ahafo, with the Asantehene having no customary authority over them.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


From Samuel Duodu, Fiapre.

The Fiapre Circuit Court near Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region has granted Charles Bediako, an officer with the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), bail in the sum of Gh¢90,000 with two sureties to be justified.
The accused, who is also the second-in-command of the Border Patrol Unit of the GIS at Aflao in the Volta Region, appeared before the court for defrauding Madam Regina Asiraa, unemployed, of £4,500 with a promise to secure her a visa and air ticket to enable her travel to the United Kingdom (UK) in July, 2004.
Bediako, who pleaded not guilty to the counts of intention to defraud and defrauding, would reappear before the court presided over by Mr John Kwadwo Owusu Gyamfi on March 10, 2008.
Chief Inspector Kingsley Baafi told the court that in July 2004, the complainant decided to travel to abroad and, therefore, discussed it with a witness in the case.
He said during the same period, the witness invited the complainant to his office where she was introduced to the accused as someone who intended to travel abroad.
The accused accepted to assist the complainant in her mission and asked her to pay a sum of £4,500 for a visa and air ticket to the UK, which the complainant did.
He said in December of the same year the accused secured the visa and ticket for the complainant, but unknown to her, the accused used another person’s invitation letter to prepare the visa but on reaching UK the complainant was arrested and repatriated to Ghana.
Chief Inspector Baafi said on her arrival, the complainant contacted the accused who promised to prepare another document for her but failed to do so.
The prosecutor said all attempts by the complainant to retrieve her money from the accused also proved futile.
He said the matter was, therefore, reported to the Brong Ahafo Regional Police.


From Samuel Duodu, Sunyani

The acting Dean of the Faculty of Public Health and Allied Sciences of the Catholic University College of Ghana, Fiapre, near Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, Dr Kofi Bobi Barimah, has called for the integration of traditional healing practices into the healthcare delivery system of the country.
According to him, when this is done, these healing practices can play a role in the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
“It is rather unfortunate that although traditional healers service the needs of nearly 70 per cent of the population, they have been left out in the implementation of the NHIS. I am calling on the government to allow known traditional healers with registered and tested drugs to practise in each district and bill the NHIS,” he stated.
Dr Barimah made the call at the first matriculation ceremony of the Sunyani Nursing and Health Assistants Training School in Sunyani.
Sixty students, made up of 20 males and 40 females, were admitted to pursue the Registered General Nursing (RGN) programme and 52 students for the Health Assistants Training programme swore the matriculation oath administered by Mr Felix Nyante, the Deputy Registrar of the Nurses and Midwives Council of Ghana (NMCG).
Dr Barimah also called on nurses to be patriotic and stay in the country to see to the health needs of Ghanaians.
The acting dean also suggested to the Ministry of Health (MoH) to consider training more nurses and export some of them to get money to train more nurses for the local market.
Mr Francis Omono Asamoah, the Principal of the Sunyani NTC and HATS, disclosed that 1,520 candidates applied for admission in the 2007/08 academic year but only 400 qualified, out of which only 60 were offered admission to offer the RGN course at the school as a result of the lack of classroom accommodation, adding that there would be a similar problem next academic.
He said the college needed a large classroom, an auditorium, a demonstration room and teaching/learning materials to stand on its feet.
The Sunyani NTC Principal, therefore, appealed for the amendment of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) Law to enable nursing training colleges to access the fund, saying that after all the entire fund was aimed at improving education in Ghana.
Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, in his address, noted that while the government was doing everything possible to improve healthcare delivery and make it accessible to all Ghanaians, it was disturbing to observe that health workers, both professional and paramedics, had time and again sought to twist the arms of the government to accede to their persistent demands for improved conditions of service.
He urged health workers not to use strike as a means to address their grievances, since at times such actions had led to the death of many patients.
Mr Baffour Awuah also appealed to health workers not to refuse posting to rural communities when they passed out, adding that they should always remember that they had been trained to provide services for humanity and the nation and that no matter where they were located, they should perform the same services.


From Samuel Duodu,

Ghana Chapter of the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA) has organised a day’s workshop for about 40 drinking bar operators, managers, and secretaries of hotels and guest houses in the Nkoranza township to sensitise them to reproductive health issues and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Ms Josephine Agbo, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) focal person of the society, who addressed the participants, stressed the need for participants to promote the use of condoms among their customers them and to help in the campaign against the spread of the disease.
Ms Agbo expressed regret at the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS among the youth in the communities, and said it was rather unfortunate that a number of the youth were dying from the menace.
She said SWAA had targeted women, more especially the illiterates and those in the rural areas, who would not open up and listen to any education, and would also not change from negative practices. She added that the society would also reach out to such women and sensitise them to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS.
She described drinking bars as well as hotels and the guest houses as the “hot spots”, and said volunteers of SWAA were to join hands with the managers of such areas to help in the campaign against HIV/AIDS and the promotion of condom use.
The focal person deplored the practices and attitudes of some people who pointed accusing fingers at people living with HIV/AIDS and, therefore, shun their company, adding that it was wrong to stigmatise the victims since every one was at risk in contracting the disease.
SWAA is to create 38 non-traditional outlets for condom sale in the area by encouraging chop bar operators, hawkers, mobile phone unit transfer operators and market women to promote the use of both male and female condoms among their customers.