Let’s embrace all despite HIV status- Ameyibor


Mr Francis Ameyibor, the Executive Director of Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult), has urged Ghanaians to create a society that treats people living with HIV with dignity, respect, and compassion.

He emphasised a need for education, support and policy changes to combat stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.

Speaking at a sexual reproductive health conference in Accra, Mr Ameyibor proposed strategies for creating a supportive environment in schools, including education and awareness, support systems, confidentiality and inclusive policies to ensure Ghana broke barriers and built a society that embraced everyone, regardless of their HIV status.

The conference was organised by the Women’s Commission of the Association of Computing Students (ACS) of the Ghana Communication Technology University.

It was on the theme: ‘Breaking the Stigma: Empowering the Youth through STD Awareness.’

Mr Ameyibor said: ‘For too long, people living with HIV have faced discriminati
on, prejudice, and fear, leading to social isolation, low self-esteem, and poor health outcomes.’

‘But we can change this narrative. We can create a society where people living with HIV are treated with dignity, respect, and compassion.’

He called for self-education on HIV/AIDS, pointing out that, ‘HIV is a medical condition, not a moral failing. It’s transmitted through bodily fluids, not casual contact. Let’s dispel harmful myths and misconceptions.

‘Second, let’s use inclusive language. Avoid terms like HIV victim or AIDS sufferer. Instead, let’s say persons living with HIV or individual with HIV.’

‘Third, let’s support those affected. Listen to their stories, offer emotional support, and advocate their rights.

‘Fourth, let’s promote universal access to healthcare, including HIV testing, treatment, and care.’

Mr Ameyibor called for the creation of safe spaces for people to share their experiences without fear of judgment and engagement in awareness campaigns to combat stigma and promote acceptance.

‘Let’s support organizations working to address HIV-related issues. Let’s remember that people living with HIV deserve respect, love, and dignity.’

‘Together, we can break barriers and build a society that embraces everyone, regardless of their HIV status.’

Mr Richard Peter Yalley, Senior Nursing Officer in Charge of Public Health, TB and HIV Coordinator, Ga West Municipal Health Directorate, advised against unprotected sex, which could lead to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, with dire consequences as infertility, spontaneous abortion, and premature birth.

He noted that HIV attracted social stigma due to infertility and economic consequences and stressed that abstention from sex was the best protection from HIV.

‘Only a consistent and correct use of condoms can do a dual protection from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.’

‘You need to wash your hand well before wearing a condom, don’t use your teeth,’ Mr Yalley advised.

Rev Kenneth Ayeh Danso, Head, Strategic Informat
ion Unit, National AIDS and STI Control Programme, said about 330,00 people in Ghana were HIV positive.

‘Seventy per cent of the people know they have the disease, but 30 per cent don’t know they have it,’ he said.

He advised that people should go for HIV testing, but make sure to go for counselling before testing.

Rev Danso said HIV was not the end of the world and urged people with the infection to continue with their medication, exercise rightly, eat well and maintain their social interactions to ensure longevity.

Ms. Ethel Serwa Aidoo, Women’s Commissioner of ACS, urged society to advocate the rights of people living with HIV AIDS, saying; ‘Tomorrow it may be your turn.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

About 300 eye patients undergo free surgery at Sunyani SDA Hospital


About 300 patients suffering from eye-related disease are undergoing free surgery at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in the Sunyani Municipality.

The Hospital, in collaboration with the National Cataract Outreach (NCO) Programme with support from the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP), is conducting the five-day surgery from Monday June 10 to Friday June 14, 2024.

Beneficiaries are mostly drawn from the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Bono East Regions.

Dr. Louis Oteng-Gyimah, an eye surgeon and the head of the Head of the Eye Unit of the Hospital, who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani, said a team of 45 specialists were conducting the surgeries.

They comprise ophthalmologists, opticians, optometrist, ophthalmic and General Nurses, he added, saying they were from the Akwatia St. Dominic Hospital, Techiman Holy Family Hospital, Drobo St. Mary’s Hospital.

‘We are determined to ensure that patients with eye related diseases, especially cataracts, have their sight fully re
stored,’ Dr Oteng-Gyimah indicated.

He added the patients would be screened and those with serious eye problems would undergo the surgery free of charge, saying so far about 70 patients had undergone the surgery.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Qatar Charity Commissions 250Sqm Clinic and Borehole in Wawasa, Agona Swedru


Qatar Charity, an international non-governmental organization, has commissioned a equipped clinic and a borehole with a 5,000-liter overhead tank in Wawasa, Agona Swedru, in Agona West of the Central Region.

Mr. Ismail Laary, Project Manager of Qatar Charity, who led the commissioning alongside local dignitaries, including sheiks, chiefs, and municipal health directors on behalf of the Director of Qatar Charity Ghana, reiterated Qatar Charity’s commitment to supporting rural communities in need of health facilities and other amenities.

He also highlighted the role this newly established health facility would play to enhance the quality of life and overall well-being of the local population by appreciating the dignitaries for donating the land for clinic.

Mrs. Bertha Attah, Municipal Health Director, applauded Qatar Charity for the impressive health facility and assured her departmental support for its operation and maintenance for sustainability.

She pledged to convert the new clinic into a health centre
for curative services while the old facility would operate as providing preventive health services because of the densely populated case-load.

Mr. Bashiru Saeed, Municipal Finance Officer, and representative of the Municipal Chief Executive praised the project as a timely and crucial intervention for the community’s health needs.

He commended Qatar Charity for the significant facility along with provision of safe drinking water, which he said would greatly enhance health services in this most vulnerable population.

Mr. Bashiru on behalf pf Municipal Chief Executive, also pledged to provide 24/7 security and proper maintenance for the facility in collaboration with other stakeholders and donated GHS 1,000 as seed money for maintenance.

He acknowledged the efforts of founding fathers of Nana Khadija School, like Sheikh Nasir and Sheikh Shartut, whose collective efforts drove the project’s goals.

Sheik Jawara, Central Regional Chief Imam of Ahlu Suna and management member of Nana Khadija School, provided a
brief history of the facility and praised Qatar Charity for their contribution.

Sheik Jawara also commended the nurse in charge of the old facility for her dedication and sacrifices, urging the school management and other stakeholders to maintain the new facility.

The other dignitaries at the event included the Chief Imam of Ahlu Suna, Sheik Jawara; Chief Tahiru Daafi V, Chief of Old Zongo and head of Agonaman Zongo Chiefs; Chief Alhaji Bashiru of Yalwa Zongo; and Issah Gyamfi, Nkosuohene of Zongo and entire community expressed their gratitude to Qatar Charity, vowing to manage and maintain the new facilities properly.

The Qatar Charity’s new clinic and borehole are essential for good health and for achieving national goals and objectives.

It significantly contributes to international targets such as the Millennium Development Goals by ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their geographical boundaries, have access to healthcare services in Ghana.

Above all, the project represents a significant st
ep towards improving health services in the area, and a best example of the community participatory approach, where community and all other stakeholders are ready to provide full support and maintenance for its existing, new and ongoing projects.

Source: Ghana News Agency

MoH Chief Director supports allocation of percentage of tax collections from health-harming products


Alhaji Hafiz Adam, Chief Director of the Ministry of Health (MoH), has expressed support for the earmarking of a percentage of the tax collections on health harming products such as alcohol, tobacco and sugar-sweetened beverages to the health sector.

He said this would greatly help the sector to support people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) who could not afford the huge cost of treatment.

He commended the Vision for Alternative Development Ghana and other CSOs for their consistency in the roles they played in the passage of the Excise Duty Amendment Act, 2023 (1093).

‘Your numerous advocacy roles in 2023, notable among them is your consistent advocacy role that led to the passing of the Excise Duty Amendment Act, 2023 (Act 1093) which imposes a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Ghana.

‘This is a great milestone that will help us in our fight against NCDs in Ghana.’

Alhaji Adam expressed the support in his address at the 2024 Health Summit in Accra.

‘I must say that the work is not y
et done and that we will need you to advocate for the allocation of a percentage of the tax collectibles to the health sector to support our combat against NCDs which have become a menace to public health,’ he stated.

He said Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was a priority of health systems worldwide and central to Sustainable Development Goal ‘3’ (target 3,8).

‘Critical to the achievement of UHC is quality of care. However, a joint report by the Organisation for facilities or practice, or providers who lack adequate training and expertise Economic Co-operation and Development, the WHO, and the World Bank has suggested that poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels.

‘Today, inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, inappropriate treatment, inadequate or unsafe clinical prevail in all countries,’ the Chief Director stated.

He said according to the WHO Fact Sheet on Quality of Care, between 5.7 and 8.4 million deaths are attributed to poor qua
lity care each year in Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), which represents up to 15 per cent of overall deaths in these countries.

‘Moreover, inadequate quality of care imposes costs of US$ 1.4-1.6 trillion each year in lost productivity in LMICs.

‘In our Ghanaian context, the end-term evaluation of the implementation of the National Healthcare Quality Strategy (NHQS, 2017 – 2021) has observed that weaknesses exist in all the components of the health systems building blocks which posed significant barriers to the successful implementation of the strategy and the achievement of its desired overarching goal.

‘This therefore suggests that it cannot be business as usual, and the time to act is now,’ Alhaji Adam stated.

He expressed happiness that this year’s Health Summit was focused on how to improve the quality of care across the Ghanaian health system for better health outcomes for all.

He said the theme for this year’s summit was ‘Quality Healthcare Delivery; A Catalyst for Achieving Universal Heal
th Coverage in Ghana.’

He said the theme was carefully thought out and it recognised the need to continuously enhance the quality of the care delivered to people of Ghana ‘if we are to stand a chance of achieving our national UHC targets by 2030.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

MoH Chief Director supports allocation of percentage of tax collections from health-harming products


Alhaji Hafiz Adam, Chief Director of the Ministry of Health (MoH), has expressed support for the earmarking of a percentage of the tax collections on health harming products such as alcohol, tobacco and sugar-sweetened beverages to the health sector.

He said this would greatly help the sector to support people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) who could not afford the huge cost of treatment.

He commended the Vision for Alternative Development Ghana and other CSOs for their consistency in the roles they played in the passage of the Excise Duty Amendment Act, 2023 (1093).

‘Your numerous advocacy roles in 2023, notable among them is your consistent advocacy role that led to the passing of the Excise Duty Amendment Act, 2023 (Act 1093) which imposes a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Ghana.

‘This is a great milestone that will help us in our fight against NCDs in Ghana.’

Alhaji Adam expressed the support in his address at the 2024 Health Summit in Accra.

‘I must say that the work is not y
et done and that we will need you to advocate for the allocation of a percentage of the tax collectibles to the health sector to support our combat against NCDs which have become a menace to public health,’ he stated.

He said Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was a priority of health systems worldwide and central to Sustainable Development Goal ‘3’ (target 3,8).

‘Critical to the achievement of UHC is quality of care. However, a joint report by the Organisation for facilities or practice, or providers who lack adequate training and expertise Economic Co-operation and Development, the WHO, and the World Bank has suggested that poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels.

‘Today, inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, inappropriate treatment, inadequate or unsafe clinical prevail in all countries,’ the Chief Director stated.

He said according to the WHO Fact Sheet on Quality of Care, between 5.7 and 8.4 million deaths are attributed to poor qua
lity care each year in Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), which represents up to 15 per cent of overall deaths in these countries.

‘Moreover, inadequate quality of care imposes costs of US$ 1.4-1.6 trillion each year in lost productivity in LMICs.

‘In our Ghanaian context, the end-term evaluation of the implementation of the National Healthcare Quality Strategy (NHQS, 2017 – 2021) has observed that weaknesses exist in all the components of the health systems building blocks which posed significant barriers to the successful implementation of the strategy and the achievement of its desired overarching goal.

‘This therefore suggests that it cannot be business as usual, and the time to act is now,’ Alhaji Adam stated.

He expressed happiness that this year’s Health Summit was focused on how to improve the quality of care across the Ghanaian health system for better health outcomes for all.

He said the theme for this year’s summit was ‘Quality Healthcare Delivery; A Catalyst for Achieving Universal Heal
th Coverage in Ghana.’

He said the theme was carefully thought out and it recognised the need to continuously enhance the quality of the care delivered to people of Ghana ‘if we are to stand a chance of achieving our national UHC targets by 2030.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

GIZ donates servers to FDA to support vaccine manufacturing

The German Development Cooperation (GIZ) on Friday presented four Integrated Regulatory Information Management System (IRIMS) servers to the Food and Drugs and Authority (FDA) to enhance its regulatory and administrative functions.

The IRIMS system servers are expected to digitalise FDA’s regulatory operations and lot release for vaccine manufacturing.

Mr. Wilhelm Hugo, Cluster Coordinator of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), who presented the severs, said it would also allow clients to submit and track applications online.

He said the donation was to support the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) to create an enabling environment for vaccine production in Ghana.

‘With this new management system and additional technical equipment, our Ghanaian partners can continue working towards their objective of turning Ghana into a pharmaceutical producer,’ he said.

Mr. Hugo said Ghana’s ambition to become one of Africa’s leading vaccine and pharmaceutical manufacturers would enhance bo
th the health security of the Ghanaian population and the economy.

He said the European Union (EU) and German Development Cooperation would continue to support and strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of the FDA.

‘This will help the FDA to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standards which includes a pharmaceutical-microbiological laboratory and a Clean Room, where contamination from dust, airborne germs, aerosol particles and chemical vapours is prevented,’ he said.

Dr Delese Mimi Darko, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FDA, said by November 2024, the FDA would have a Clean Room that met specified biosafety standards.

‘This effort underscores our commitment to building the critical infrastructure to regulate locally produced vaccines for the ECOWAS region,’ she said.

Dr Darko thanked GIZ for the support stating that Ghana would succeed in local vaccine manufacturing to improve the health status of the people of West Africa.

She said the vaccine manufacturing initiative woul
d create jobs, generate taxes and dividends and promote sustainable and balanced economic growth.

Source: Ghana News Agency

World Food Safety Day: FDA urges market women to observe food safety

As Ghana joined the rest of the world to mark 2024 World Food Safety Day, the Ashanti Regional office of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) educated women at the Tafo market on food safety.

World Food Safety Day is celebrated across the globe annually on June 7 to raise awareness about the importance of food safety and to encourage actions that help prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks.

‘Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected,’ which is the theme for the 2024 celebration underlines the importance of being prepared for food safety incidents, no matter how mild or severe they can be.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in 10 people worldwide fall ill from contaminated food each year with over 200 diseases being caused by contaminated food.

This year’s celebration will, therefore, draw attention to food safety incidents globally.

It is for this reason that the FDA in the Ashanti Region visited the Tafo market in collaboration with the Old Tafo Municipal Environmental Health Directo
rate, to sensitise the women on the importance of food safety in commemoration of the day.

The three different teams moved from shop to shop, stall to stall, and table to table to engage them on best practices in handling food to keep them safe for consumption.

With the aid of leaflets and posters containing simple messages on how to keep food safe, the teams encouraged the women to prioritise the safety of customers in their businesses.

As the team traversed the market to engage the women, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), FDA Ashanti, Mr. Daniel Geraldo also engaged them on the Information Centre in the market.

He told them to be conscious of how they stored food and other items meant for consumption to ensure their qualities were not compromised.

They should also ensure that goods are sold out before expiry while those expired disposed off immediately in collaborarion with environmental health officials.

Mr. Geraldo reminded the market women that as key players in the food supply chain, they had a
critical role to play in food safety and public health.

‘You have a duty not to expose food items and other products meant for human consumption to dust and flies in order not to put the health of your customers at risk,’ he implored them.

Ms. Linda Fowaa Owusu, Assistant Environmental Health Analyst, Old Tafo Municipal Assembly, commended the market women for their cooperation, and urged them to adhere to the messages shared with them in the interest of public safety.

‘Beyond this exercise, we always engage the market women when it comes to market sanitation, food safety and hygiene to ensure the safety of the public,’ she noted.

Source: Ghana News Agency

FDA urges public to promote food safety for healthy lives

Mr Zakaria Braimah, Northern Regional Head, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), has urged the citizenry to promote food safety through good hygiene practices to ensure healthy lifestyle.

He said mostly, people fell ill due to food contamination as a result of unhygienic practices, especially from food sellers in the market.

He was speaking during World Food Safety Day, which was marked on June 7, in Tamale, and organised by the FDA.

It was on the theme: ‘Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected’.

The event was to draw attention to food safety incidents in the country and to also create awareness on the importance of food safety.

Mr Braimah said access to safe and nutritious food was key to sustaining life and promoting good health.

He advised members of the public to be conscious of food safety by checking labels for expiry dates and packages of the food they consumed.

He advised food vendors and consumers to always sell or buy food from clean environments only, and also avoid street food sold under unhygie
nic conditions.

Dr Ernest Bonah, Principal Regulatory Officer at FDA, called for dedicated efforts from policy-makers, food safety authorities, food business operators, farmers, and consumers to be conscious about their roles to promote food safety in the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency