Written by Kofi Akosah-Sarpong - EXPO TIMES Ottawa, Canada
Tuesday, 30 January 2007 10:27
EXPO TIMES Ottawa-based Kofi Akosah-Sarpong examines how open appropriation of traditional healers in Ghana's Upper West Region will help correct some of the inadequacies in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The World Bank funding the Northern Savannah Biodiversity Conservation Project so as to “empower traditional healers to come out with more potent and well packaged drugs to instil confidence in their preparations” (Ghana News Agency, January 21, 2006 as carried by ghanaweb.com) raises not only the on-going attempts to balance the huge imbalances in Ghana's developing process, from practically indigenous values point, but righting the inadequacies embedded in the much touted United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), reasonable parts of which deal with international health and development.
The growing imbalances in the Ghanaian health sector, like almost all the other development sectors, have come about because from the start of the nation-state called Ghana , health policies have not been driven from indigenous medicine fronts, of which many Ghanaians access, but from the newly introduced Western medicine. It is in this background that the attempt to empower traditional healers in the northern parts of Ghana demonstrates not only right thinking and developmental reality but also authentic attempts to open and re-orientate national policies that balance the colonial values with Ghana 's indigenous values. Also openly appropriating 500 traditional healers by somehow partnering them and giving them periodic training into the formal health sector will not only help resolve some of the shortcomings of the ambitious health MDGs such as the chronic shortage of health workers but help refine some of known inhibitions in traditional medicine and give it the needed confidence and respect. Of particular lesson to Ghanaian health policy-makers is the involvement of the World Bank in the biodiversity project which aims to support the traditional healers to “acquire land to cultivate medicinal tree species so as to have constant supply of raw materials and to sell part of it to others.” The World Bank was among the international development institutions that created the health MDGs and by helping to bring the traditional healers openly into the formal health sector, it is also helping to correct pretty much of the errors committed long time ago.
When in September 2000, 147 heads of state, the largest such gathering in the history of the world, met at the United Nations headquarters in New York to take action to solve the most pressing development problems facing humanity (interpreted: much more in Africa) today, they came out with an international development road map called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which set out arithmetical targets and deadlines to measure human development performances. The MDGs measurements was that by the year 2015 poverty, the key driver of most of the global development troubles, especially in the poor countries, of which Africa leads, will be resolved.
Among the most serious parts of the MDGs is international health and development that deals with diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis (TB), maternal mortality, infant mortality, universal primary health, and the combating of HIV/AIDS. The idea of tying health to development, as Dr. Jeffrey D. Sach, of Columbia University's Earth Institute and who led in the presentation of “Macroeconomics and Health: Investing in Health for Economic Development (World Health Organization, 2001), is to emphasis that better health is the motor of economic development, and at the centre of this is resolving poverty. But the trouble with the MDGs, like most international development goals before it, is not only that it suffers “from a worrying lack of scientifically valid data,” as Dr. Amir Attaran, of Canada's University of Ottawa's Population Health and Global Development Policy, argues, but that the MDGs is also too macro, too Western world driven and less developing world influenced, perhaps for power and monetary reasons, and does not reflect the adequately the picture of the micro, what obtains, say, on the ground in Damongo, in Ghana's Northern Region, where most people access traditional medicine.
For long time, it is not only the MDGs that do not reflect the real health needs of most Ghanaians/Africans; it is also the health policies of African governments, too. This is as a result of Ghanaian health elites who have weak sense of balances of the local and world in the development process. Also the result of colonialism that suppressed Africa's indigenous values, touted it, wrongly, as “primitive,” and so not only de-emphasis African values in her education system, including her formal medical schools, but did not appropriate African values in policy-making but the colonialist's. It is in this situation that African traditional medicine, among other Africa's rich traditional attributes, finds itself, unlike the Japanese and the Chinese who have been able to balance their rich indigenous medicine with that of the West.
Ghana 's Health Minister, Courage Quashigah, a front-runner in the attempts to refine some of the deadly inhibitions in Ghana 's values for progress, captures the attempts to correct this long-running situation which has beclouded Ghana 's development process. Expectedly because of Ghana 's education system, which is heavily Western-driven, Quashigah has revealed how his bureaucrats have attempted to stifle his attempts to factor into Ghana 's health openly and respectfully traditional medicine as obtains in India and China . The bureaucrats at the Health Ministry are reflecting a deep-centred problem in Ghana 's education system that does not fully and respectfully emphasise Ghana 's traditions, culture, and experiences but rather the ex-colonialist, Britain . The interpretation is that the bureaucrats and other policy developers and implementers not only do not understand their very environment and culture, as the basis of Ghana's development process, but also the fact that most of their policy-making do not reflect properly the elements and problems on the ground.
The World Bank funded Northern Savannah Biodiversity Conservation Project reveals attempts to correct many developmental errors committed years ago. But the attempts to correct the development wrongs of yesteryears should first start from Ghanaian policy-makers and implementers, driven by the culture and experiences of Ghana , and then mixed with those of international development programs.
2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul
The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th IPRA conference in Turkey, at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th IPRA conference in Istanbul to serve a second term of two years.
In Sierra Leone, the notion of corporate social responsibility has always been associated with the private sector. No wonder some people see the active involvement of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in corporate social activities as strange, and many have opined that a tax collecting body should not be engaged in corporate social responsibility activities.
However, the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on corporate image is immense, even for tax collecting bodies. The perception that tax collectors are monsters vigorously bent on collecting people's earnings with no care for the environment or the vulnerable in the community they operate is evolving. Indeed, many revenue authorities in Africa are today socially responsible.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) in an article in its website argues that "the nature of Revenue Collectors' mandate makes them the hill of the nation such that whatever they do is mirrored and echoed by many".
Press freedom has come under severe attack in West Africa as security agencies, particularly the police, appear to be on rampage against journalists and media workers. In a space of 38 days (January 5-February 12, 2017), 30 media workers have been arrested, detained and/or assaulted by security forces, prompting fears that the gains that have been made in recent years on press freedom and freedom of expression could be eroded.
The 30 victims, made up of 15 journalists and 15 media technicians, were arrested, detained and/or assaulted in 10 separate incidents in four countries namely Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo. Nigeria recorded six incidents, Cote d’Ivoire recorded two incidents while Guinea and Togo recorded an incident each.
In Nigeria, seven journalists were arrested and detained during the period. In Cote d’Ivoire, six journalists were arrested and detained in a single incident while one journalist each was affected in Guinea and Togo, bringing the total number of journalists affected to 15. In respect of the other media workers, nine staff of a newspaper printing firm were arrested in single incident. In Cote d’Ivoire, six technicians working with the state-owned television station were also arrested in a single incident.
Dr. David Tam-Baryoh: A New Broom in Sierra Leone Politics
Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is a household name in Sierra Leone, mostly because of his“Good Governance” popular radio programme called monologue. In fact the programme has become sopopular that most people prefer to call the presenter “Mr. Monologue”. Recently Mr. Monologue said in two or three of his programmes that he would be going intopolitics. It looked like a joke the first time he said it. But after saying it over threeor four times it is no longer a joke.
So Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is going into politics in 2018. Those who are very closeto him will tell you that this is a fact. The Doctor has made up his mind. Afterdiscussing and editing serious national issues on newspaper pages and on the airwaves for almost twenty five years, hehas decided that he cannot achieve much for the people behind the microphone and the pen. He now wants toengage into something that will make a direct impact on the lives of Sierra Leoneans.
And the Doctor thinks politics is the best way to do this, if we look at politics as“the authoritative allocation of scarce resources within a nation state.” He wants tobe part of the allocation of Sierra Leone’s scarce resources.
Precious Minerals, Public Trust and Government’s Openness
By late 2001, the Anti Corruption Commission arrested then Sierra Leone's transport and communications minister, together with his wife, “for involvement in illegal diamond mining” in Kenema district. Large quantum of illicit diamonds had been found in their possession, according to a BBC report at the time.
With some diamonds said to have been smuggled out of the country by the minister, the incident happened at a time when the rebel war was raging and the key perpetrators- the RUF were also seriously involved in illicit mining and smuggling. The minister was later jailed in 2003 for two years for illegal possession of diamonds.
Amongst other factors, Sierra Leone’s civil war was fuelled mainly by diamond, specifically “conflict diamonds”- those diamonds that originated from territories controlled by rebel forces (UN definition).
The Legal Aid Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution on Tuesday, 7 March 2017 resolved a long standing dispute in respect of a property on Newcastle Street, in Kissy, Freetown between one Mr. Solomon Samba Mansaray and his seventy-seven year old elder sister Madam Marian Kamara who is in the country on holiday from the United States of America.
The two who had not been on speaking terms were reconciled. Both promised to work together in the interest of peace in the family. In this vein, Madam Marian Kamara agreed to cancel a U$ 400 debt owed by Mr. Mansaray.
While the tension between the two had been lingering several years,Mr. Mansaray decided to report the matter to the Board in Freetown when he got information that Madam Marian Kamara was planning to sell theproperty. The owner of the property who is the sister of both parties had died over a decade ago without leaving a will.
As the Legal Aid Board prepares to provide legal assistance to indigents and children engaged in election related violence, it has successfully secured the discharge of a twenty-five old from Wilberforce in the West of Freetown charged with violence.
The Legal Aid Defence Counsel Hadiru Daboh secured the discharge after drawing the court’s attention to the failure of the complainant to attend court sittings for seven consecutive adjournments. What’s more, the complainant has not furnished the court with any reasons for his absence. Magistrate I.S. Bangura agreed with the Defence Counsel and discharged the matter. He noted that discharge would not stop the prosecution from reinstating the matter in future.
The accused, Alpha Kanuwho plied his trade as driver and apprentice at the Wilberforce lorry park got involved in a fight with his boss Michael Aruna in February 2017. He was arrested and taken to the Congo Cross Police station following a complaint by his boss. According to Alpha Kanu, his injuries were ignored by the police even though they were more serious. He spent fifteen days at the Congo police station before the matter was charged to court.
U.S. Africa Command Launches a 33-Nation Maritime Exercise: Sierra Leone Maritime “Full Speed Ahead”
During March 23-31, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) issponsoring “Obangame Express”, an in-port Command Post exerciseand at-sea maritime exercise designed to enhance maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.The exercise includes 33 partner nations, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
The exercise is designed to improve cooperation andinformation sharing, and to refine tactics, techniques and procedures among participating nations.
The “Obangame Express”exercise will be based on realistic modern-day scenarios such as piracy, illegal fishing and hijacking. During the exercise,Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs) will be challenged to recognize illicit acts and share trackinginformation with other MOCs throughout the region.
The winner of the Pride of Australia Award, Ansumana Usman Koroma popularly known as AUK has called on all Sierra Leoneans within and outside Sierra Leone to support and fully participate in both the ongoing voter registration that has started March 20 to end April 19 2017 and the forthcoming nationwide civil registration process slated April 24 to June 11 2017.
AUK who is a Political and Policy Analyst working in Australia said the mass registration of every citizen is a very important process in the development agenda of the country. He therefore appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to put politics aside and understand that the process would help government consolidate citizens’ data and enhance effective service delivery and improve monitoring of government programmes and policies.
He stressed that the national civil registration authority is created to promote a greater sense of nationalism and common identity.