School Management Committee (SMC) Networks in the Kpandai District of the Northern Region have appealed to the Assembly to pass a by-law to jail any man who impregnates a basic school girl in the area.
The Kpandai SMC Networks have also proposed that as part of the by-law any parent who, would decline to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to prosecute men, who impregnate their basic school girls, should face sanctions.
This move, according to Kpandai SMC Networks, was aimed at punishing men in the area, who has made it a hobby to impregnate young school girls, knowing very well that the girl’s parents would opt for out of court settlement to avoid embarrassment.
This formed part of decisions taken at a district education forum held at Kpandai by the Kpandai SMC Networks in partnership with Choice Ghana, a non-governmental organization.
The forum attended by stakeholders in education in the district was to share, discuss and come out with innovative strategies to improve learning outcomes amongst children in the area and to ensure that no child of school going age was left behind.
It was also to share findings of a survey conducted in 2018 by the Kpandai SMC Networks in partnership with Choice Ghana on factors affecting children’s learning outcomes in the district.
According to the survey, socio-cultural factors such as poverty, early marriages, engagement of children in sexual intercourse, children attending funerals, engagement of children in economic activities, children attending music shows amongst others were responsible for low learning outcomes amongst them.
A 2016 and 2017 citizen led assessments on children’s learning competencies in literacy and numeracy in the district conducted by the Kpandai SMC Networks in partnership with Choice Ghana with support from Oxfam revealed that low learning outcomes among children and the overall competency levels of children stood at 11 per cent and 31% respectively.
Mr Emmanuel Kofi Issifa, Chairman of Kpandai SMC Networks, who summarized the position of stakeholders at the forum, said many girls were getting pregnant and dropping out of school but there was no sanction for the men, who impregnated the girls hence the proposal to the Assembly to pass such a by-law.
Mr Issifa said the Kpandai SMC Networks would intensify sensitization in communities for parents to allow their children especially the girl-child to enjoy their full rights to education to ensure that no child of school going age was left behind.
Other decision taken at the forum were to stop children from attending music shows as well as well intensify sex education for children to know how to protect themselves against pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
Mr Emmanuel Tatablata, District Chief Executive for Kpandai appealed to chiefs and community members in the district to support circuit supervisors and teachers as they put in their best to improve education in the area.
Madam Faustina Nayan, Kpandai District Director of Education said, most schools in the district does not have adequate furniture leaving pupils to lie on the bare floor during classes, adding that, most of the schools also does not have accommodation for teachers and appealed to Kpandai SMC Networks to help improve the situation.
Mr Mohammed Seidu, Executive Director of Choice Ghana called for effective collaboration between the District Directorate of Education and SMC Networks to promote education in the area.
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Government to address Agbogbloshie e-waste and open defecation
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that the construction of a state-of-the-art recycling facility at Agbogbloshie will commence in April.
The move, he said would help to solve the problem of waste disposal in an environmentally-friendly manner and create over 20,000 direct jobs, through the establishment of associated holding centres in each regional capital and collection centres in each district.
President Akufo-Addo, said this when delivering the State of the Nation’s Address in Accra on Thursday.
He stated that the facility formed part of government’s efforts towards addressing the problem of electronic waste comprehensively.
“On August 20, 2018, I launched the National E-waste Programme to mark the commencement of two key provisions of the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, Act 917.
“These provisions empower the External Service Provider to verify, assess and collect the advance recycle eco fee on all electrical and electronic equipment from all exporting countries”.
Touching on open defecation, the President said it was unfortunate that, in 2019, the country had to revisit this topic saying open defecation could not be a characteristic of a country that was working to be transformed economically and to be counted amongst the developed nations of the world.
President Akufo-Addo, said government together with stakeholders last year, built 35,862 household toilets to ensure access to toilet and reduce open defecation.
At the district level, he said the Community Led Total Sanitation Programme was being implemented in over 4,500 communities in 130 districts to achieve Open Defecation Free Communities.
President Akufo-Addo stated that the government and partners would continue to educate and sensitise people, on the need to stop open defecation as well as enforce the bye-laws to ensure cleanliness.
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President urges Ghanaians to eat healthy diet
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says that apart from exercising and taking regular health check-ups seriously, it is imperative that Ghanaians eat healthy diets to prevent diseases that are caused by poor choices of nutrition.
He said Ghana’s hardworking nurses and doctors would do their best, as they had always done, to make sure Ghanaians get the best health care; however, it behoves on everyone to look after themselves better.
President Akufo-Addo made the remarks on Thursday in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered to Parliament.
“When our children master the connection between science and their everyday lives, we would reach the stage in Ghana where we would be rid of the many diseases, borne of filth and poor hygiene, that are still part of our lives,” he said.
“In pursuing these goals, we need to remind ourselves repeatedly that health is wealth, and it is only a healthy population that can make Ghana prosperous.”
He noted that in May 2018, Ghana won accolades at the World Health Assembly for having eradicated Trachoma, an eye disease that had plagued Ghanaians for a long time.
He said today, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was buoyant; adding that the Government had paid up the GH¢1.2 billion arrears, which it inherited, and brought the operations of the NHIS back to life.
He recounted that on 19th December, 2018, the introduction of mobile renewal of membership was launched.
President Akufo-Addo said since then, there had been, on average, seventy thousand (70,000) members renewing their membership every week, by dialling *929# on any mobile phone network.
He said soon, in collaboration with the National Identification Authority, Ghanaians would be able to register, renew and access health care services using the Ghana Card.
“We have to thank Dr. Samuel Annor’s brief, but productive stewardship as Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority for that. I wish him well in his retirement,” the President stated.
President Akufo-Addo said to deliver healthcare to Ghanaians more efficiently, in 2018, Government granted financial clearance for the recruitment of 11,018 health personnel to increase existing clinical staff.
He said to augment the efforts of clinical staff, in September, 2018, the Ministry of Health received further financial clearance to employ 14,254 Nurse Assistants (Clinical and Preventive).
He said these nurse assistants belong to the tranche that passed their exams in 2016 from Government Health Training Institutions, and have commenced work by 1st February, 2019.
President Akufo-Addo said the Ministry of Health was working to obtain financial clearance for the recruitment of the 2017 and 2018 graduates.
He said the health delivery system would be significantly strengthened by the expected arrival in June of 275 ambulances; that is one per constituency, to make treatment of emergency cases more effective.
He said drone technology had also been introduced into that system to help deliver essential medicine, blood and blood products to remote communities.
“We still face problems of inadequate infrastructure in our health establishments. We have problems of numerous structures at various stages of completion that cannot be finished and brought into use, because newer structures are being started, and there is no money to finish the ones started earlier.”
He said again, this was a long-standing problem that was a mark of our underdevelopment.
“We will not ignore or sweep the problem under the carpet. We are dealing with it, and will complete them,” he said.
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World Bank supports Ghana tourism with $40m grant
President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo has announced that the World Bank has approved a $40 million grant to support the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts and its agencies to help upgrade tourist facilities.
The President said the Ghana Tourism Authority recorded a 20 per cent growth, recording over 600,000 visitations to various tourist sites under the “See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana campaign”.
The campaign was to encourage the consumption locally manufactured beverages in the country to boost the economy.
The President made the announcement on Thursday in Accra in his third State of the Nation Address to Parliament.
He said the country had finalised the Creative Arts Bill, leading to the setting up of the Creative Arts Fund, adding that, in 2018, government provided support to the Creative Arts Council, and the Creative Arts Masterclass, to build capacity of Creative Arts practitioners in the sector.
“The Eastern Regional Theatre had been completed, and work was ongoing towards the construction of the Kumasi theatre”, he added.
He said the Hospitality Training Institute had been renovated, and re-opened in July 2018 to provide the needed training in the hospitality and tourism sectors.
“Under a Tourism Attractions Upgrade Project, several tourist sites, including Elmina Heritage Bay, Axim Fort St. Antonio, Assin Manso Slave River, Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm, Bunso Arboretum, Kintampo Water Falls, are undergoing upgrades”.
He said a draft Legislative Instrument on Sites and Attractions was currently undergoing final stakeholder consultations to ensure that world-class standards were set and maintained at all tourism sites.
Touching on support to persons with disabilities, President Akufo-Addo announced an increase share of the District Assemblies Common Fund to Persons with Disabilities from 2 per cent to 3 per cent.
He added that, government had ensured the implementation of its pledge of employing 50 per cent of the persons who manage the country’s toll booths from amongst Persons with Disabilities.
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