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Under-five malaria cases drop in Western Region

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The availability of test kits and strict adherence to treatment protocols on malaria continue to yield positive results as the Western Region recorded 26.4 per cent cases in 2018 as against 26.9 in 2017.

Malaria case fatality rate for children under-five has also gone down with a 0.13 per cent in 2018 as against 0.16 per cent in 2017.
Also malaria mortality reduced from 2.1 per 1000 cases in 2016 through 1.3 in 2017 to 0.82 in 2018.

Dr Jacob Mahama, the Western Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, told the Ghana News Agency during the 2018 Regional Review Meeting that training on clinical management of malaria, coupled with rigorous monitoring and supervision, contributed to the down trend of cases.

He said the Region also adhered to the administration of the Intermittent Preventive Therapy against Malaria for pregnant women adding; “All indicators continue to improve across board with IPT-3 rising from 38 per cent in 2017 to 48 per cent in 2018.”

Dr Mahama, however, said TB case notification was still slow with a two per cent marginal increase from 56 per cent to 58 per cent in 2018.

Meanwhile, treatment success rate was still high at 93 per cent with cure rate at 88 per cent in 2018.

Defaulter rate stood at two per cent, the Regional Director of Health added.

On nutrition, the Region for the past five years recorded a drop in figures from 13 per cent to 1.8 per cent in terms of under-five malnutrition while breastfeeding climbed from 91 per cent in 2017 to 94 per cent with exclusive breastfeeding chalking 97.4 per cent.

Dr Mahama said no major outbreak of epidermic prone diseases were recorded in 2018 but surveillance activities were still hampered by the shortage of Child Health Records booklet and vaccines device, broken down vaccine refrigerators, shortage of fridge tags and thermometers.

The challenges, notwithstanding, the Region improved and overran all surveillance indicators except for Polio stool adequacy rate, which stood at 79.9 per cent below the target of 80 per cent.

The Region also did well in the coverages of antigens in 2018 despite challenges in some districts.

Source: GNA

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Malaria control to be derailed without support to Global Fund

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The need to step up domestic and international financing to fight malaria and also support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, would be the focus of stakeholders at the 6th Global Fund Replenishment Conference, scheduled for October this year, in France.

Currently an additional $1.4 billion and more is expected to be raised between now and 2020 to finance various aspects of malaria control.

Mr Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, referring to his background as a banker and also the urgent need to fund malaria, said there is a compelling moral and economic reason to get rid of malaria.

Mr Sands was speaking at a ministerial session on malaria at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, which was on theme: “Malaria: stepping up the fight to reach 2030 objectives”.

He explained that there are threats hanging over the malaria control efforts, therefore, there is urgent need to sustain malaria financing.

According to him, because of emerging threats such as insecticide and drugs resistance there is the need to make use of current tools to fight the disease, while researching for new ones to help solve potential threats and rein in malaria.

Mr Sands said the Global Fund is focusing on the malaria elimination agenda, helping the 11 countries with the highest malaria burden and ensuring that both international and domestic financing of the disease are sustained.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), addressed the gathering on malaria elimination milestones in the context of achieving the SDGs.

He used the occasion to also congratulate Argentina and Algeria for having been recently officially certified by WHO as malaria-free.

Both Dr Mohamed Miraoui, Minister of Health, Population and Hospital Reform of Algeria and Dr Miriam Burgos, Under-Secretary for Prevention and Control of Communicable and Vaccine-Prevention Diseases of the Ministry of Health of Argentina, spoke briefly on political engagement in malaria elimination.

By Eunice Menka, back from Geneva, Switzerland
Copyright ©2019 by Creative Imaginations Publicity
All rights reserved. This article or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in reviews.

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Government is determined to implement market friendly policies – Energy Minister

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Mr John-Peter Amewu, Minister of Energy, says government is determined to formulate and implement market friendly policies to make Ghana competitive.

He said as a Government committed to private sector development, we are prepared to change course. “This is particularly important because oil and gas projects have become very expensive, upstream investments are not increasing faster, and the threat of the green revolution to the prospects of hydrocarbon based economic development, have led us to reconsider our strategy for the accelerated growth of our oil and gas industry,” he said.

The Minister said this in an address at an Oil and Gas Legislative Review Stakeholders meeting held in Accra on Friday to examine a new strategy and to collate views of stakeholders in order to speed up growth of the Oil and Gas Industry.

He said the strategy would pave way for a review of the existing regulatory frameworks and practices, and would include the development of new regulations and amendments of some provisions.

“These changes will ensure that the regulations are aligned to our policies and strategies. Laws must be informed by policies and strategies and not the other way. Therefore, with an evolving industry and changing policies, our laws must be effectively responsive,” he added.

Mr Amewu noted that Ghana’s Oil and Gas Industry had grown in size and in activity from a long period of zero rig to about four rigs, working at the same time to determine the potential of the basins.

“In terms of the fiscal impact, we have seen growth from 1,400 barrels per day in 2009/10 to 214,000 barrels per day in 2019,” he added.

He stated that many Ghanaians had been impacted through employment opportunities and service contracts, adding that, the country now largely used gas for most of the electricity generated, hence the industry’s value addition to the economy had been well established.

The Minister, however, said the Oil and Gas Industry continued to face significant challenges and risks, adding that, basins were largely not de-risked.
According to him, significant data gaps and low data quality still existed, and many companies continued to site the industry’s fiscal regime as disincentives.

“As a country, we have concerns about the operations of industry players, and therefore our policies and regulations have been designed to maximize value for the country and our people,” he added.

Mr Amewu assured stakeholders and potential investors that Government was willing to travel the journey of providing laws that supported the growth of the industry.

‘‘Industry legislation and regulatory institutions must exist to facilitate growth of the industry, not become constraints on its potential; attract credible investors, not scare them away; and improve on the application of advanced technology, not maintain the status quo,” he said.

Government will do everything possible to reposition our oil industry to take its rightful place in the competitive oil market; and increase the contributions of the oil industry to the overall growth of the Ghanaian economy,” he added.

He said government’s desire to improve on the investment climate for the oil industry was mainly to provide certainty and predictability to investors, and to reward investors that were willing to invest and meet their work obligations.

However, this should not be misconstrued to mean that government is going to give away freebies but that the ministry is opened to work with investors that obeyed the rule of law governing the sector’s operations.

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Minister in charge of Petroleum, said the event was significant in moving from current policies and approaches to formulating new plans to boost development of the growing sector.

Deputy Minister in charge of Finance and Infrastructure, Mr  Joseph Cudjoe, expressed optimism that the objectives for the consultation would be achieved, to set the roadmap for further inputs for the regulatory framework in the sector.

The meeting brought together participants, including International Oil Companies, indigenous companies, investors, regulatory authorities, civil society organizations, the media and other key players in the oil and gas sector.

Companies present were Tullow Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Cosmos Energy, Petroleum Commission and Exxon Mobil.

Source: GNA

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Passing of RTI law is a plus for President Akufo-Addo – Dr Opuni-Frimpong

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Rev Opuni-Frimpong

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has been commended for giving Presidential assent to the Right to Information law, which was recently passed by Parliament under his tenure of office.

Reverend Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, a former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, and a Lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, on Friday said the President deserved “congratulations for having this long journey coming to an end under his leadership”.

He has however cautioned that the zeal and enthusiasm that brought the RTI bill into law must not die with the giving of Presidential assent to the bill, adding that the law must become a household concept through intensified public education.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Rev Opuni-Frimpong said the passing of the RTI law “is indeed a victory for Democracy in Ghana. The law is a clear demonstration of what a determined and purposeful people can achieve in the midst of delays, frustrations and attacks”.

He expressed his happiness that the Right to Information Bill (RTI) that was drafted in 1999, after going through several reviews over the years was finally given Presidential assent by the President.

The RTI law, which would be operationlized in 2020, would enable citizens to hold governments accountable, to ensure that there was a high level of transparency in the governance of the country through having access to relevant information.

Rev Opuni-Frimpong acknowledged the many Civil Society Organisations, Media Houses, Members of Parliament, Donor Organisations, Faith Based Leaders and many more who identified themselves with the process of getting the Bill passed into law and signed by the President.

He said such entities and people, whether “dead or alive, truly ‘defended forever the cause of freedom and of right, and must be celebrated as dedicated sons and daughters of Ghana”.

He said by that law, Ghana now joined other African countries like South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Liberia, and Guinea that had already adopted such law.

He urged churches, mosques, academic institutions and the media to provide “oxygen to the new law for it to offer us transparency, accountability, and good governance”.

The campaign for the effective implementation of the RTI law must start now, Rev Opuni-Frimpong stated.

Source: GNA

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