Wednesday, December 30, 2009


IN view of the high school drop out rate among the youth in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern Region due to poverty, the Mamprugu Youth Association (MAYA) has proposed the establishment of a sustainable education fund for brilliant needy children in the area.
The association also said the fund should be tailored towards assisting students who are pursuing science courses since the area lacked the needed human resource.
The Interim Chairman of MAYA, Mr Adam Yussif, who explained MAYA’s proposals at Walewale during the Home Coming Summit of the association also appealed to the respective district assemblies to commit a percentage of their common fund as seed money to the fund for at least five years.
Mr Yussif further suggested to the Overlord of Mamprugu, Nayiri Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga, for a percentage of the sale of the land in Mamprugu to be added to the fund.
“The principal goal of our education towards our communities should be aimed at creating men capable of doing new things and not repeating what other generations have done” he pointed out.
The chairman suggested the indentification of a common festival to be known as GBEWAA festival for Mamprugu, besides the Damba and Bugum festivals.
“The proposed festival should signify the movement of GBEWAA children from Pusiga to our present location; this festival could become more vibrant such that sons and daughters will identify and honour this day for reunion”Mr Yussif noted.
The Overlord of Mamprugu encouraged the youth to eschew all forms of lawlessness that could bring instability to the area.
He observed that some of the youth were into drugs and alcoholism, saying “we have to develop Mamprugu with a healthy youth and not a sick youth”.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Nayina, announced that the Dutch Government had released a grant of seven million Euros to help construct five bridges to link the overseas areas in the district to the Upper West Region.
According to him the project was expected to start next year adding that some of the equipment for the project were being shipped into the country.
The minister commended MAYA for reviving the association after it had been dormant for some years.
He, therefore, urged the youth in the area to actively participate in the decision making process in their respective communities.
Mr Nayina urged residents to let education be their top priority by sending their children to school.
The West Mamprusi District Chief Executive, Mr Lord Zakaria noted that it was important for citizens of the area to brainstorm on how best to promote the accelerated development of the area instead of engaging in divisiveness.
“It is good we are gathered here as a tribe not as political enemies; the revival of MAYA was timely as there are a lot of development challenges confronting this district” he pointed out.

Monday, December 28, 2009


THE Ministry of Communications is to facilitate the establishment of an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre of excellence in four regions.
They are the Northern, Upper East, Western and Volta regions.
Additionally, feasibility studies are to be carried out to find out the possibility of establishing internet connectivity at the Tamale Senior High School (TAMASCO) and one other school in the country by the close of 2010.
The Minister of Communications, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, made this known at the 18th Speech and Prize-giving day of TAMASCO recently.
Mr Iddrisu intimated that the government would not renege on its promises to bridge the educational gap between the north and south, as well as the disparities that existed between public and private institutions and rural and urban communities.
According to him the government was equally committed to ensuring that teachers were well motivated, as well as adequate teaching and learning materials provided to schools.
“Government is not ashamed of taking affirmative action to bridge the development gap through the implementation of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA); we also recognise the historical imbalances in our development agenda,” he pointed out.
Mr Iddrisu entreated parents and opinion leaders to avoid interfering with disciplinary actions taken by school authorities, saying “they must know that educational institutions are incubators for the moulding of our youth and that our institutions form the best platform for the training of our youth to become responsible adults in the future”.
He said “when you hear of fraud and misappropriation of funds, it is a mark of indiscipline and I advise the youth to be professional in the performance of their respective duties”.
He announced that the government was likely to ensure that between 2010 and 2011, TAMASCO enjoyed some facilities under the contingency fund of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).
He equally pledged his commitment to ensure that the Ministry of Energy facilitated the provision of reliable electricity to TAMASCO.
He pledged GH¢2.000 for the provision of places of convenience and the general improvement in sanitation at the school.
The Headmaster of the school, Alhaji Tahiru Mahama, said TAMASCO was a premier institution established in 1951 to provide opportunities for the youth.
According to him, but for the efforts of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) the government alone could not have provided some of the facilities in the school.


THE Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has banned the celebration of the Bugum (Fire) Festival in Yendi and Sang in the Yendi municipality.
This year’s celebration was scheduled for yesterday, December 27, 2009.
A statement signed and issued in Tamale by the Deputy Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabengba, did not, however, state the reason for the ban, but it is believed to be linked to security issues.
It stated that “the Fire Festival may be celebrated in other parts of the Dagbon Traditional Area”.
The statement warned that its celebration should be observed within the confines of the laws of the country.
It further admonished security agencies to deal ruthlessly with “any miscreants who take the law into their own hands”.
Although the REGSEC placed a ban on the celebration of the festival in Dagbon in 2007, including Tamale, Nanum and the Central Gonja District, for fear that it could lead to a breach of the peace, the youth poured out in their numbers in defiance of the ban. However, there were no reported incidents of violence or injury.
Following the murder of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and 40 others in March 2002, coupled with the subsequent imposition of a curfew and a state of emergency, the festival was suspended for three years.
Dagombas and other ethnic groups in the north mostly celebrate the festival on the 10th day of the new Lunar month. It is believed to mark the edict of a prominent Dagomba chief who, in tracing his lost son, ordered the lighting of thatches in search of his son. The festival is also celebrated for its Islamic religious significance.
In modern times, however, the revellers dispose of their thatches in a thicket, while knowledgeable Mallams later reveal the events which are likely to occur in the New Year to the chiefs, who in turn announce them to the people.

Friday, December 18, 2009


ONE significant achievement of this year’s National Farmers Day celebration is, perhaps, the introduction of an exhibition that afforded local small and medium- scale enterprises in the Northern Region the opportunity to showcase their potential and market them to the outside world.
The celebration, the 25th in the series, brought together 69 exhibitors including individuals, research institutions, farmers and entrepreneurs who showcased various types of farm produce and farming equipment during the week-long exhibition.
One thing that must not pass without comments was the manufacture of local equipment to support farming activities in Northern Ghana.
A poutry incubator, locally produced by Ometech, a Tamale-based incubator production firm, was the toast of both visitors and residents of the region who converged at the Jubilee Park to witness the exhibition.
The Managing Director of Ometech and Producer, Mr Jonathan Akpalu, told the Daily Graphic that the machines were in different shapes, sizes and capacities.
He explained that the incubators mounted at the stand had the capacity to hatch 200 eggs at a time with a 400 egg capacity chamber.
Mr Akpalu said the facility was produced to cater for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.
According to him, the equipment was being powered by electricity and kerosene, adding that it cost between GH¢500 and GH¢700, depending on its lifespan.
He, however, said his company could produce all types and sizes of incubators, depending on customers’ request.
The facility has an owner’s manual to facilitate its usage and help prolong its lifespan.
“This facility can hatch 200 set of eggs twice every month and it caters for all kinds of birds like guinea fowls, fowls, turkeys and ducks among others” he pointed out.
Other companies, like the Golden Stork Ghana Limited, producers of agro chemicals, displayed fertilisers and knapsack machines to support rural farmers.
Indeed, production of motor tricycles with a bucket at the rear to facilitate carting of farm produce from the farming communities to the marketing centres was also showcased by Zoomlion Ghana Limited.
A tricycle is being sold for GH¢3,500, but officials of the Zoomlion indicated that farmers who were willing to acquire the facility could pay in instalments.
Solar dryers for the drying of fruits, pepper, ginger and fish were among the locally made equipment mounted at the exhibition.
The dryers were produced by the Market Oriented Agricultural Programme of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in collaboration with the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) in Tamale.
The Crop Services Directorate of the MoFA in collaboration with the Export Marketing and Quality Awareness Project (EMQAP) displayed food items like the golden variety of pawpaw, the Baby Ravaya another variety of pawpaw, red chilli and the bird eye both varieties of pepper. The Cashew Development Project under the MoFA with sponsorship from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government of Ghana (GOG) also displayed varieties of cashew products such as the vacuum packed, cashew kernels, roasted, salted and spiced kernels, cashew brandy, gin, and juice.
According to the Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Nayina, the “biggest limiting factor to increased production of agricultural commodities is lack of market”.
A cursory look, however, at the various stands showed that derivatives of the sheanut, which arguably formed one of the most viable industries in the north was not well represented at the exhibition.
It is, however, hoped that with the inauguration of the $10 million ultra-modern sheanut processing factory at Buipe in the Central Gonja District, more will be achieved in that sector in the near future.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


THE King of Mamprugu, Nayiri Na Bohagu Mahami Abdulai, has reiterated the need for the media not to link the alleged murder of the late Moses Alando Banaba, the parliamentary candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC) last month at Nalerigu to the Bawku conflict.
He also denied reports that seemed to suggest that the Mamprugu youth were mobilising themselves in the Mamprusi area for reprisals in the current Bawku conflict.
The Nayiri was speaking at Nalerigu when President John Evans Atta Mills recently called on him during his tour of the northern region.
The chief, however, acknowledged that the incident was barbaric and that it should be condemned in no uncertain terms.
In a related development, the Mamprusi Youth of Bawku have entreated the Government to evolve effective strategies to stop the Bawku conflict and restore peace to the area.
It noted that “if more pragmatic and very urgent steps are not taken to stop the conflict it has the potential to degenerate into a full fledge war on most parts of Northern Ghana”.
A statement signed and issued in Tamale by the secretary to the association, Mr Bukari Rahman, stressed that the failure of the numerous government intervention in the Bawku conflicts was due largely to the alleged “lack of commitment and neutrality on the part of those who were supposed to act and exhibit the highest standard of professionalism required of them”.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Government so far to restore peace to Bawku but our repeated calls are due to the fact that the Government’s interventions so far in the conflict have failed to yield any meaningful peace besides making it more sophisticated and complex,” Mr Rahman further explained.


THE New Life Clinic and Diagnostic Laboratory located in Tamale, together with the Dartah Pharmacy Limited at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, has been graded as A+ (Excellent) by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
According to the results of the first batch of the NHIS Accreditation Programme released this month, the top two health facilities were among 618 that were screened by the authority’s programme.
The objectives of the NHIA Accreditation Programme is to, among other things, promote the provision and delivery of quality, safe, efficient, effective and acceptable health care services for persons living in Ghana.
The exercise ensures that health facilities are in the position to provide healthcare services in accordance with the Benefit Packages of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The Director of the New Life Clinic and Diagnostic Laboratory, Dr Isaiah Aklaku, told the Daily Graphic that he was highly elated by the accreditation.
He said the laboratory started operating in 2002 after he had conceived the idea in the 1980s.
“I specialised in laboratory investigation and people from Upper West and Upper East regions have been patronising my services,” he stated.
The laboratory renders such services as proctology, haematology, serology, biochemistry and urinalysis.
According to Dr Aklaku, a staff member of the laboratory, the laboratory had also been rendering services in antenatal cases in communities such as Tolon, Savelugu, Diare and Nanton.
He explained that the laboratory carried out services for the Tamale West and Savelugu hospitals.
“We also assist in doing medical examinations for institutions and students while we carry out clinical services too,” Dr Aklaku further stated.
The laboratory has a staff strength of 18, made up of laboratory technologists, laboratory assistants and others rendering support services.
“This laboratory would soon be equipped with hi-tech computerised diagnostic equipment in addition to the other high-profile equipment like chemistry analysers and the haematology analysers,” the director said.
According to him, the future was bright and the greatest challenge facing the laboratory was how best to maintain the high standards and improve upon them as the years went by because “many of our clients are looking up to us”.
Dr Aklaku, therefore, said as a way of boosting its services to residents of northern Ghana, the management had decided to acquire the latest equipment for tumour diagnosis for breast cancer patients.
Touching on issues affecting the implementation of the NHIS, Dr Aklaku observed that the only challenge facing the scheme was the delay in reimbursing healthcare service providers.
He, however, expressed optimism that with time the scheme would stabilise.


THE New Life Clinic and Diagnostic Laboratory located in Tamale, together with the Dartah Pharmacy Limited at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, has been graded as A+ (Excellent) by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
According to the results of the first batch of the NHIS Accreditation Programme released this month, the top two health facilities were among 618 that were screened by the authority’s programme.
The objectives of the NHIA Accreditation Programme is to, among other things, promote the provision and delivery of quality, safe, efficient, effective and acceptable health care services for persons living in Ghana.
The exercise ensures that health facilities are in the position to provide healthcare services in accordance with the Benefit Packages of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The Director of the New Life Clinic and Diagnostic Laboratory, Dr Isaiah Aklaku, told the Daily Graphic that he was highly elated by the accreditation.
He said the laboratory started operating in 2002 after he had conceived the idea in the 1980s.
“I specialised in laboratory investigation and people from Upper West and Upper East regions have been patronising my services,” he stated.
The laboratory renders such services as proctology, haematology, serology, biochemistry and urinalysis.
According to Dr Aklaku, a staff member of the laboratory, the laboratory had also been rendering services in antenatal cases in communities such as Tolon, Savelugu, Diare and Nanton.
He explained that the laboratory carried out services for the Tamale West and Savelugu hospitals.
“We also assist in doing medical examinations for institutions and students while we carry out clinical services too,” Dr Aklaku further stated.
The laboratory has a staff strength of 18, made up of laboratory technologists, laboratory assistants and others rendering support services.
“This laboratory would soon be equipped with hi-tech computerised diagnostic equipment in addition to the other high-profile equipment like chemistry analysers and the haematology analysers,” the director said.
According to him, the future was bright and the greatest challenge facing the laboratory was how best to maintain the high standards and improve upon them as the years went by because “many of our clients are looking up to us”.
Dr Aklaku, therefore, said as a way of boosting its services to residents of northern Ghana, the management had decided to acquire the latest equipment for tumour diagnosis for breast cancer patients.
Touching on issues affecting the implementation of the NHIS, Dr Aklaku observed that the only challenge facing the scheme was the delay in reimbursing healthcare service providers.
He, however, expressed optimism that with time the scheme would stabilise.


SAVE the Mothers’ Trust (SMT), a non-governmental organisation based in Brandford in the United Kingdom, has extended its humanitarian services to communities in the Tamale metropolis and its environs.
The organisation is into water delivery, the provision of educational facilities and provision of food distribution programmes to vulnerable persons in the beneficiary communities.
At one of its service delivery sessions in the metropolis, the SMT donated new clothing worth over £2,000 to 100 people made up of 60 orphans and 40 widows and widowers.
The items included clothing, sweets and stationery for selected schools in the metropolis.
The Manager of SMT, Mr Mohammed Shahid, said the stationery would be distributed to two schools: Nagbago-Yapala and Ibn Abass Primary schools in the metropolis.
He said the organisation had a number of educational projects located in countries such as the United Kingdom and Pakistan. SMT started working in Ghana in 2006.
Two of the beneficiaries who are orphans aged 12 and 7, shared their experiences with the Daily Graphic, and said their father and mother died in year 2004 and 2008 respectively.
They indicated that although they got support from their relatives, they still missed their parents. The orphans, who are currently attending the Arabic and English Primary School in Tamale, expressed their gratitude to the SMT for supporting them with the items.


WHEN the world celebrated the Human Rights Day on December 10, 2009, many civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in northern Ghana intensified their respective advocacy programmes to ensure the fundamental human rights of the individual.
Basic Needs is one non-governmental organisaion (NGO) in Ghana that has over the years initiated programmes to satisfy the needs and safeguard the basic rights of mentally-ill persons, their carers and families.
It called for increased government intervention in the area of mental health, a sector that it believes has been neglected for too long.
In that regard, the organisation outlined a number of educational activities to mark the Day and to draw the attention of the Government towards the quick passage of the Mental Health Bill into law to ensure increased government commitment to mental health.
Through funding from the Assisting Communities Together (ACT) project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Basic Needs drew up a number of activities aimed at raising awareness among school pupils about the rights of mentally ill people.
Debates, training programmes, distribution of literature with messages about human rights issues involving particularly mentally ill persons were carried out.
A training programme was organised for 40 students from senior high schools in the Tamale metropolis.
The beneficiary schools were the Tamale Senior High (TAMASCO), Ghana Senior High (GHANASCO), Northern Business Senior High (NOBISCO), Business Senior High (BISCO), Vitting Senior High, St. Charles Senior High, Kalpohini Senior High, Islamic Senior High, and Presbyterian Senior High Schools.
Other activities the organisation carried as part of the celebration of the day included radio discussion programmes for children affected by mental illness and abuse.
The discussion programme was aimed at educating the public on human rights issues and would be aired on radio once every week for four weeks.
Basic Needs has so far supported 18,186 persons with mental illness and epilepsy to enable them to organise themselves into self-help groups.
According to the Knowledge and Communications Officer of Basic Needs in Tamale, Mr Bernard Alando, 160 Community Based self help groups and 23 district associations had been formed in the three northern regions and Accra.
“We believe, as we mark the Human Rights Day every year, we need to safeguard the rights of the mentally ill persons,” he pointed out.
The promotion and protection of human rights has been a major preoccupation of the United Nations since 1945, when the organisations’ founding nations resolved that the horrors of the Second World War should never be allowed to recur.
The Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
Over the years, a network of human rights instruments and mechanisms has been developed to ensure the primacy of human rights and to confront human rights violations wherever they occur.
This year’s theme: “Embrace diversity end discrimination” is apt, considering the level of stigma attached to the vulnerable in the society.
The UN General Assembly’s resolution 46/119 of December 17, 1991 talks about the principles for the protection of persons with mental illness and the improvement of mental health care.
Article six of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law”.
It, therefore, behoves the Government, stakeholders, individuals, civil society groups and non-governmental organisations to put in place effective mechanisms that would safeguard the rights of the mentally-ill as well as the physically challenged persons.


THE first Medical Superintendent of the Tamale West Hospital, Dr Sam Obeng-Agyei, is dead. He was 53. He died on December 6, 2009 at his home in Konongo Odumase in the Ashanti Region after he had returned from a funeral in Kumasi .
He served in various capacities at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital from 1988 to 1992, Tamale Teaching Hospital from 1992 to 1998 and the Tamale West Hospital from 1998 until his death.
He served the Northern Region in various capacities in the medical field for 19 years, and was instrumental in facilitating the upgrading of the Tamale West Hospital from a polyclinic status to a district hospital and finally to its current status.
Under his administration, the West Hospital expanded its facilities, enabling it to ease pressure on the Tamale Teaching and Central hospitals in the metropolis.
The late Dr Obeng-Agyei read medicine at the Kharkov Medical Institution in the Ukraine from 1981 to 1987. He also read a Master of Science programme in Tropical Paediatrics at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine from 2005 to 2006.
His colleagues, friends and patients described him as a “nice man” who had a cordial relationship with people he came across while performing his duties.
He is survived by a wife and six children.

Friday, December 11, 2009


A conflict resolution agenda has been launched in Tamale with the view to securing lasting peace in the strife-prone areas of the three northern regions.
The programme, dubbed “promoting human security in northern Ghana”, would be implemented over a three-year period in 16 beneficiary communities of the four conflict areas such as Bawku in the Upper East Region, Wa in the Upper West Region and Yendi and Tamale in the Northern Region.
It is to be implemented with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the United Nations University (UNU).
The Japanese Government, through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security, is funding the programme at the cost of $3.053 million.
Among other things, the programme would adopt a multi-dimensional approach, which will focus on local capacity development, conflict prevention mechanism, income generation, food security and the human security concept.
Activities such as peace building and promotion of human security by recognising the complex relationships between poverty and conflict, as well as education and conflict prevention would be carried out in the beneficiary communities.
The Vice President, Mr John Mahama, who launched the programme, expressed optimism that northern Ghana would no longer be seen as a conflict area but would be known as a “model of peace, development and human security.”
“It is now in our hands to build and sustain peace for development and entrench human security as part of our national development effort,” the Vice President stated.
According to Mr Mahama, by establishing the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), the Government would embark on a series of co-ordinated development interventions to create sustainable employment, re-orient agriculture towards improving assets for the poor while adding value to basic food and economic tree crops.
He intimated that the programme was timely for Ghana in the light of the rekindled commitment to the holistic development of northern Ghana.
He expressed the country’s gratitude to the Japanese Government for its support, and expressed the hope that it would continue to assist the country in its quest to address human security challenges.
“Human security cannot be achieved unless the good people in Bawku, Wa, Yendi and Tamale are serious about ending conflicts and sustaining peace,” he stressed.
The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, Mr Daouda Toure, noted that research had shown a correlation between peace and development, and that “we need to be mindful of the fact that the poor economic situation which breeds poverty remains a threat to human security.”
“The Human Security programme has been built on a long tradition of UN support to northern Ghana,” he noted.
Mr Toure announced the commencement of a complementary Recovery Project for Northern Ghana, which would support national efforts at disaster management and response through enhancing national capacity to effectively plan, prevent and respond to the perennial disasters confronting the three northern regions.
“I am pleased that the initial support by the UN to create a platform for dialogue on a Northern Development Plan has paid off and we now have the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA),” he observed.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Nayina, said the programme would undoubtedly complement and enrich advocacy to strengthen the resolve to flush out avoidable issues of conflicts in the three northern regions
The Head of the Sustainable Livelihoods and Employment Creation Unit of the UNDP, Madam Christy Ahenkora Banya, who gave an overview of the programme, noted that the UN system in Ghana affirmed its commitment to support the Government of Ghana in promoting the development of northern Ghana.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


THE northern sector is to recapture its glory as the nation’s food basket with the inauguration of a 17.3 million euro rice project dubbed “Rice Sector Support Project”(RSSP) in Tamale yesterday.
Among other objectives, The RSSP is aimed at developing lowland rice production in the Northern, Upper East and West regions, and northern parts of the Volta Region.
An estimated 2,500 farms representing 15,000 people are expected to benefit from the project that would equally help reduce the importation of rice in the country. It was financed by Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and the Government of Ghana.
The Vice-President, who performed the inaugural ceremony, intimated that the government was determined to modernise agriculture through the importation of 2000 tractors from Brazil to support food production among other interventions.
He indicated that the perennial shortage of combine harvesters for rice farmers would soon be a thing of the past when the next batch of combine harvesters were delivered from Thailand before the close of the year.
“Government is determined to ensure that this country is able to meet its domestic food requirement from local production. To achieve this, we are determined to modernise agriculture with the view to increasing the scale of production and productivity by enhancing food security,” the Vice-President indicated.
He expressed regret that over $600 million was annually used to import rice, meat products and fish, among others, while the country had a comparative advantage in the production of major staples especially rice and maize.
Mr Mahama explained that the RSSP was one of the several strategies the government was embarking upon to revamp the production of local rice to meet the country’s domestic rice requirements.
“Rice is the second most important cereal crop next to maize in Ghana with a total annual consumption amounting to 500,000 metric tonnes. Over the last several years production fell to just about 10 per cent of national demand,” the Vice-President stated.
Mr Mahama announced that the government was instituting a programme to establish farm site boreholes to promote all-year-round farming activities in selected districts.
He noted that it was equally government strategy to rehabilitate irrigation projects and construct new ones.
“We call on the Agence Francaise de Developpement to allow us to integrate this programme into the government’s Block Farming programme; we intend to identify rice lands in the target districts and bring the farmers together,” he added.
The Vice-President entreated traditional rulers to collaborate with relevant institutions to ensure that agriculture was modernised while preserving natural resources for the benefit of future generations.
Touching on the hazards of bush fires, Mr Mahama appealed to farmers and Ministries, Departments and Agencies to educate the public on the hazards of bush fires in order not to threaten rice fields.
The French Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Francis Hurtut, explained that 6,000 hectares of rice fields was expected to be developed by 2013 to help reinforce the national production of rice.
According to him, the Partnership Framework Agreement signed between Ghana and France focused on promoting agriculture with the objective of alleviating poverty by increasing and securing the incomes of the sector, by improving the productivity, quality and marketing of the products.
He noted that the first project funded by the AFD under the Lowland Rice Development Project in 1998, focussed on the development of rice production through the effective use of water harvesting and regulatory structures on lowland rice fields.
The Deputy Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Magbenba challenged the youth to seize the opportunity to take up farming as a business rather than the continuous search for the otherwise non-existent jobs in major cities and towns.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


THIRTY-SIX-YEAR-OLD Davies Naa Korboe, the Chief Executive Officer of Rite FM, based in Somanya in the Eastern Region, was yesterday adjudged this year’s National Best Farmer at a colourful durbar held at the Jubilee Park in Tamale.
For his prize, he is to be given a well-furnished three-bedroom house to be located at any place of his choice. The prize was donated by the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB).
Naa Korboe cultivates maize, yam, soybean, mango and a teak plantation on a total of 1,800 acres with about 74 workers under him.
The second National Best Farmer award went to 62-year-old Ms Eva Ameterpe Agbovi from Sege, near Ada in the Greater Accra Region. She took home a double-cabin pick-up vehicle valued at about GH¢34,800, donated by Stanbic Bank. She is into fishing and vegetable farming.
The third place was won by 54-year-old Reverend Daniel Gbande from Kpandai in the Northern Region. He is into poultry and the cultivation of cashew, maize, rice and other crops.
He was given a tractor and other implements like a plough valued at GH¢18,000 donated by Technik Agriculture Equipment Company Limited.
In all, 66 individuals, including 11 females and a physically challenged person, were among the award winners who received prizes in such categories as fishing, livestock and cultivation of food crops. There were also special awards like the best Agricultural Extension Agent Award.
The special award winners received such items as refrigerators, colour television sets, bicycles, grinding mills, machetes and wellington boots.
Naa Korboe thanked the government on behalf of his colleagues for honouring them and pledged to work harder.
Later, Naa Korboe told the Daily Graphic that he felt “good and proud as a Ghanaian farmer”.
He explained that he got into farming as far back as 1998 through his father, who was a wealthy farmer.
This year’s celebration, which was the 25th in the series, was held on the theme “Accelerated Agricultural Modernisation for Food Security and Economic Transformation”.
The President, Mr. John Evans Atta Mills, and government officials graced the occasion.
The first National Farmers’ Day was held on December 6, 1985 at Osino in the Eastern Region. The value of the awards since then has improved from bicycles to power tillers, tractors, pick-up vehicles and finally to a three bed-room house.
The day lived up to its billing as a Silver Jubilee celebration yesterday, when it witnessed an array of splendid cultural display, coupled with the grandeur exhibition of foodstuffs and agricultural machinery.
It was the second time the Northern Region was hosting the event, since it first hosted it in 1988.
The arrival of some prominent chiefs at the anniversary grounds sitting on their ceremonial horses, twisting and turning to tunes from traditional drummers enlivened the place.
Then came the arrival of the President, who was welcomed by cheers from the public, after which he toured the grounds to greet the chiefs and inspected the items on exhibition.
Drummers produced lively traditional tunes to which energetic dancers performed some powerful dances that reminded the people of the beautiful culture of the north that had been undermined due to conflicts.
The Basares of Tatale performed their Fire Dance, whiles the Konkombas from Saboba performed the War Dance.
The Dagombas also performed various dances, notably Takai and Bamaya.
At one stage, the Northern Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Sumani Nayina, and his deputy, Mr Moses Mabingban, could not resist but to join the dancers to celebrate the occasion and also entertain the President, who was making his first official visit to the region.
Some District Chief Executives also joined the cultural troops from their districts to put up a good show.
The event saw the patronage of very important personalities such as ministers of state, agriculturists, researchers, traditional authorities, exporters, farmers and other stakeholders, most of whom were adorned in beautiful traditional wears, such as smocks, kente and the Farmers’ Day Silver Jubilee cloth.
The President was himself sported the anniversary cloth, with black trousers and shoes to match.
One of the personalities whose presence accounted partly for the huge patronage of the ceremony was the Regent of Dagbon, Kampa Kuya Naa Abdulai Andani.
This was about the second time that the regent was visiting Tamale since he was installed the regent of Dagbon after the burial of the late Ya-Naa Yakubu Andani II.
The regent co-chaired the occasion with the President of the National House of Chiefs, Professor John S. Nabila, who commended the organising committee for putting together a beautiful show.
Contrary to fears of possible security breaches, the event was largely peaceful and characterised by high satisfaction of the feeling of nostalgia for many years after the region was given the opportunity to host a Farmers Day in 1998.
Another key aspect of the ceremony that made it unique from previous ones was the presentation of awards to past agriculture ministers in recognition of their contribution to the development of agriculture in the country.
According to the President, it was appropriate to pay respects to the people who had started the country’s agricultural transformation, adding that “it is best to recognise merit where it is due”.


PRESIDENT John Evans Atta Mills yesterday pointed to the agricultural sector as one of the success stories chalked up in his 11-month-old government and asked sceptics who were critical of the regime to look for the evidence in the bumper yields to be recorded this year and next year.
In addition to the promise of record harvests of rice and maize this year, President Mills gave specific targets of 11 million tonnes of cassava, five million tonnes of yam, 1.7 million tonnes of cocoyam and 3.3 million tonnes of plantain achieved this year, describing them as unprecedented in the country’s history.
He attributed the success story to the pragmatic policies of the government and the positive response by farmers, whom he said had been relentless in their efforts to produce enough food for the nation, in spite of the global economic downturn and the effects of climate change.
According to President Mills, Ghana did not experience hunger as was the case in other countries, because farmers in Ghana were on their farms working hard to feed the nation.
The President was speaking at the 25th edition of the National Farmers Day celebrations, which took place at the Jubilee Park in Tamale on the theme: “Accelerated Agricultural Modernisation for Food Security and Economic Transformation.”
He also underscored the fact that the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) was undergoing restructuring to enable it to execute its core mandate of making affordable funding available to the agricultural sector.
He debunked assertions that the fisheries sector was being relegated and said the government had put in place measures that would encourage increase in fish production through aquaculture.
The President said currently, more hatcheries and feed mills were being built around the country and equipment had already been purchased for projects in Kumasi and Sefwi Wiawso.
“Additionally, government is ordering special trucks to safely transport fingerlings from hatcheries to fish ponds all over the country.
“Our plans to construct landing sites and fishing harbours are also on truck,” President Mills added.
He also indicated that much was being done to improve extension services in the fisheries sector and that the government was so far impressed about the way entrepreneurs had embraced the aquaculture concept.
On livestock, the President indicated that he had had bilateral engagement with the President of Argentina and consequently Argentina had declared its preparedness to help re-energise Ghana’s moribund livestock sector.
He also mentioned the Livestock Development Programme, which is designed to increase productivity within the livestock sub-sector.
“It is valued at over $4 million and would benefit over 21,000 livestock farmers nationwide,” he stated.
The President commended various organisations that had contributed to the development of agric over the years and also those that had supported the Silver Jubilee celebration of the Farmers Day.
Before the President’s speech, which was full of commendation for Ghanaian farmers, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, had made an elaborate presentation on the measures the government had taken to transform and mechanise agriculture in the country to boost food security, income generation and poverty alleviation.
In addition, the minister gave the assurance that more than 3,000 tractors were being sourced from Brazil, the United States, India and Japan to augment the existing fleet for higher agricultural production.
In addition to 31 combined harvesters already secured and deployed on the field, Mr Ahwoi said more harvesters were being secured to facilitate the mechanisation of production.
As the pivot around which the government’s economic plan would revolve, agriculture, according to the minister, would continue to attract measures designed to secure and distribute to farmers the requisite farm machinery.
Mr Ahwoi expressed the hope that the increased access to mechanised services by farmers would expand the land area to be cropped from this year’s 11,500 hectares to 240,000 hectares under the block farm programme.
Another important measure, Mr Ahwoi said, was the establishment of a Buffer Stock Management Agency (BuSMA), currently located at the ministry, to purchase farm produce from farmers.
The agency would contract private buying agents to purchase produce from farmers and deliver the produce to the agency for storage in designated warehouses for resale when prices are stabilised.
Mr Ahwoi explained that the rationale behind the agency was to guarantee farmers an available market and reasonable pricing for their harvests so as to forestall the situation where farmers made bumper harvests and were unable to sell the produce at the right prices, resulting in huge losses.
Further, he said, the government would facilitate the acquisition of arable land for block farming in various parts of the country through dialogue with traditional authorities.
That, he said, was to ensure that there was more land under cultivation to guarantee enough yields for both domestic and external markets.
Another critical measure being pursued by the government, Mr Ahwoi said, was the establishment of mechanisation centres in the 130 districts of the country.
Already, 85 mechanisation centres had been established and many more are expected to be set up soon.
Also, to enhance extension delivery system to farmers, Mr Ahwoi said the government was in dialogue with the media to revive the Agriculture Education Programmes on television and radio.
Besides, he said, the government had tasked the Grains and Legumes Development Board, research institutions and private certified seed growers to develop new high-yielding seed varieties of maize, rice, sorghum and other legumes.
Those measures, according the Agric Minister, formed part of the implementation of the new National Medium Term Agricultural Sector Development Plan, which would span 2009 to 2015.
The plan is a comprehensive strategy meant to transform and accelerate the modernisation of agriculture in the country.
He said the aim of the government in pursuing those measures was to significantly minimise, if not eliminate, the drudgery of the hoe and machete, slash and burn and peasant farmer practices.
Mr Ahwoi noted that as part of the medium-term plan, the government had earlier in the year supported farmers with some logistics to cultivate huge acres of maize, soybeans and rice, saying that the ministry was expecting a bumper harvest of maize and rice by the end of the farming season.
Mr Ahwoi also said the government would roll out the full-scale Youth in Agriculture Programme in 2010, which would get the youth involved in crop production, livestock rearing, aquaculture and agri-business.
“This programme would see farming and its related businesses flourish, jobs created, incomes enhanced and quantum jumps in the supplies of food and agricultural raw materials under the programme,” he explained.
Mr Ahwoi used the occasion to thank chiefs who had so far co-operated with the ministry to make land available for farming, adding that their efforts would create jobs for the youth in their area and consequently reduce poverty.

Monday, December 7, 2009


From Vincent Amenuveve, Tamale.

THE Northern Regional Police Command has arrested five suspected armed robbers, three of whom are believed to be of Fulani extraction.
The suspects are believed to have been terrorising and robbing residents of Salaga and Nakpanduri in the East Gonja and Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo districts of their monies and property.
Three of the suspects were arrested while preparing for a robbery attack on the residents of Salaga on November 30, 2009, while the rest were arrested at Nakpanduri on November 29, 2009. Those arrested at Nankpanduri were reportedly linked to a number of armed robbery cases at Garu in the Upper East Region, as well as the Belfast Rural Bank robbery at Nakpanduri in 2005.
Briefing journalists in Tamale, the Deputy Regional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Lord Obeng-Mensah, mentioned the robbers as Bubey Abdulai Atik, 18, who is the leader of the Fulani suspects, Osmanu Gariba, 30, and Fusseini Bariwu. The rest are Seidu Issifu Dadzi, 40, a mechanic, and Daniel Kombian, 19, unemployed.
According to Chief Superintendent Obeng-Mensah, items such as a locally made pistol, four AA catridges, two unregistered motorbikes, one sharp cutlass, and an AK 47 magazine were retrieved from the robbers at their hideout in Salaga.
He explained that around 6:00pm on November 30, 2009, the Police, upon a tip-off, went on a patrol in the area. At that moment, the three Fulani robbers were allegedly organising themselves to attack and rob residents of the area, but they were stopped by the Police.
The commander explained that Atik, the leader of the gang operating in the Salaga area who was wielding an AK 47 assault rifle with 18 rounds of ammunition, was overpowered by the police personnel on duty after a fierce physical struggle had ensued between him and the police.
When the police searched his hideout, two other accomplices were arrested and the items they usually used for their robberies were retrieved by the police.
Chief Superintendent Obeng-Mensah further stated that the other two robbers who had been operating around Nankpanduri and parts of the Upper East Region were arrested by the police while they were also preparing to rob residents of the area.
The commander stressed that the suspects would be arraigned, cautioning suspected armed robbers operating in the region that the police would continue to pursue them wherever they operated.

Friday, December 4, 2009


POOR maintenance culture has been cited as the major cause of the frequent breakdown of traffic and street lights in the Tamale metropolis.
The sprawling city was considered one of the brightest metropolises in the country, particularly when it hosted the African Cup of Nations (CAN) 2008. However, residents of the area are currently apprehensive because the city is likely to lose its enviable status.
Street lights from the Afajura Mosque to the Barclays Bank stretch have not been functioning properly due to lack of maintenance.
The street lights from the Choggu Roundabout to Gurugu are equally faulty, as they go off and on at any time.
Regrettably, the traffic lights are also facing the same problem. Traffic lights around the Central Mosque, Sakasaka, are all faulty and, as is to be expected, accidents do occur, particularly in the central business district (CBD).
Although members of the community police do assist by directing traffic in the CBD, the situation degenerates into chaos when they are not available to perform that function.
In the midst of that situation, drivers who think they have the right of way disregard other road users such as bicycle and motor riders and pedestrians, thereby causing unnecessary congestion and traffic jam within the CBD.
During the Second Ordinary Meeting of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TAMA), the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Alhaji Abdulai Haruna Friday, acknowledged the seeming poor maintenance culture, resulting in the breakdown of the street lights in the metropolis.
He announced that management had taken a decision to rehabilitate all the street and traffic lights to enhance security and reduce accidents on the roads.
“Rehabilitation work on all existing faulty streetlights has just commenced and work is expected to be completed by the end of the month,” he explained.
According to the MCE, the metropolis would have the honour of hosting this year’s National Farmers Day today in grand style and “we must take advantage of it”.
“To showcase the best from the metropolis, we are also working hard at getting Signals and
Controllers, the company which is responsible for maintaining traffic lights, to come and attend to the faulty ones,” he stated.


THE Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TAMA) is collaborating with the Rural Integrated Development Agency (RIDA) to put up modern water closet toilet facilities in some suburbs of the metropolis.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Alhaji Abdulai Haruna Friday, made this known during an interaction with media practitioners in Tamale.
According to him, RIDA was in constant touch with assembly members for information on the proposed land for the project in the beneficiary communities.
He, therefore, urged the members to act promptly to enable RIDA to execute the projects.
Alhaji Haruna acknowledged the challenges being faced by the metropolis, although it won the cleanest city in the country award some few years ago.
He intimated that sanitation management had become one of the single biggest challenges facing Tamale.
The MCE equally expressed concern over the inability of the TAMA to operationalise the sub-metropolitan assemblies and that said had affected its smooth operation.
He noted that the Legislative Instrument that established the metropolis made it mandatory for the assembly to have sub-metros whose structures had been in existence but “their operationalisation has been our biggest challenge”.
“I am happy to inform you that the operationalisation of the sub-metros will become a reality at the beginning of next year as the Public Works Department (PWD) has been tasked to come up with estimates for work to begin soon,” he stated.
Touching on revenue mobilisation, the MCE said the assembly had initiated pragmatic and innovative measures that enabled it to increase its internally generated revenue.
He stated, for instance, that the budgeted revenue target for this year was GH¢864,772, adding, “As I speak now the assembly has already realised GH¢570,470, representing 64.97 per cent.”
He, however, explained that that was in sharp contrast to revenue generated in 2006 and 2007 when the assembly only managed GH¢364,054 and GH¢249,394, respectively.
“This remarkable achievement is, however, not without some shortcomings and challenges. Management’s attention has been drawn to a couple of issues which need to be addressed because they are negatively affecting our ability to generate more revenue than we are currently doing,” he pointed out.
Alhaji Haruna mentioned the non-availability of reliable data on all ratable items in the metropolis, improper accounting for revenue collected by private task forces, blatant refusal by some rate payers to honour their tax obligations and leaks in the entire collection machinery as some of the challenges identified.
He intimated that the Finance and Administration Sub-committee had suggested the review of the private collection agreements to curtail the persistent revenue leaks, the need for proper supervision and controls, as well as the conduct of revaluation exercises on all landed property in the metropolis.


METAL work in the Tamale metropolis is one business that is flourishing in the sprawling city, with the potential to solve the unemployment problems facing the youth in the area.
The trade involves the shaping of metals such as tin, iron, gold and copper into various forms of objects. It, therefore, involves welding and fabrication of those metals.
From containers to hospital beds, overhead metal stands, burglar proof for both windows and doors, hand-washing bowls, towel racks for hairdressers, lecture hall metallic seats, metal gates for houses and fences for offices. Wayside metal workers are always seen busily engaging in the production of such items.
Undoubtedly, those who do quality work are surviving in the business and expanding their trade, as well as employing more hands to cope with the increasing demand for their items.
One of the many viable metal workshops, A. M. Metal Works Enterprise, is located near Hill Top along the water works road, opposite the Volta River Authority (VRA) sub-station.
Its owner, Mr Abukari Musah, a product of the ITTU, who has been in the business for the past 20 years, told the Daily Graphic that he had no regrets taking up such a trade.
He noted that because of the setting up of many businesses, patronage of his products was high.
He explained that he had employed 14 young men in his business, adding that some of them were into welding and fabricating metals into finished products.
“We also produce solar panels for mechanised boreholes. I used 10 years to learn the trade and for me it is worth it,” he intimated.
According to him, because his products were of superior quality, he had won several contracts from institutions such as the University for Development Studies (UDS).
Asked how he procured his raw materials, Mr Musah said, “I buy the raw material here in Tamale ”.
The metal worker disclosed that the prices of containers ranged from GH¢700 to GH¢1,500, depending on the size of the container.
He pointed out that there was a difference between those who were into metal works and those into blacksmithing, saying metal works required more training to be able to execute the job effectively.
He, therefore, urged the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TAMA) to help identify unemployed youth in the metropolis and link them up with well-established metal workers for them to be trained so that they could acquire the requisite skills in the trade.
Mr Musah was of the view that the trade was a viable one and encouraged his colleagues to produce more quality items to increase demand for their products.

FARMERS' DAY OF PRIDE...Who'll be winner of silver jubilee edition? (LEAD STORY, DEC 4)

Story: Vincent Amenuveve, Tamale

MORE than 5,000 people are expected to turn up at the Jubilee Park in Tamale today as the country honours 65 distinguished farmers at the 25th edition of the annual National Farmers Day.
Among the dignitaries expected to grace the event is President John Evans Atta Mills.
Others are Ministers of State, government functionaries, members of the Diplomatic Corps and traditional leaders.
The farmers will receive awards in various categories, including livestock, fisheries, poultry and crops.
The day was instituted in 1984 for the country to appreciate the important role Ghanaian farmers play in the socio-economic development of the country.
Last year, the National Best Farmer award went to a 54-year-old accountant and Managing Director of Bandoh Commercial Farms, Mr Adjei Twum Bandoh, who received a house.
The second best farmer took home a double-cabin pick-up vehicle, while the third best received a tractor.
The persons who will win this year’s National Best Farmer awards will be known by the close of today. Although the Northern Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Sylvester Adongo, could obviously not mention the names of the awardees, he intimated that the National Best Farmer was likely to receive a house, while the second and third best farmers take home a double-cabin pick-up vehicle and a tractor, respectively.
He further indicated that other awardees would receive Wellington boots, wax prints, bicycles, machetes, television sets, refrigerators, among others.
The 65 award winners are said to be in high spirits as members of the Regional Planning Committee have organised field trips for them to acquaint themselves with the challenges facing farmers who are into mango plantation at Savelugu.
The enthusiasm among residents of Tamale is quite high as most of them kept trooping to the Jubilee Park in the past days to catch a glimpse of ongoing preparations and the exhibition which is part of the celebration.
Traders in the metropolis are taking advantage of the event to increase their business activities.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


FEVERISH preparations are underway towards a successful hosting of the 25th National Farmers Day in Tamale tomorrow.
Currently, members of the Northern Regional Planning Committee, made up of representatives from the Ghana Health Service, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, the Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council, the Ghana Tourist Board, among others, are working around the clock to put finishing touches to preparations.
The event will be held at the Jubilee Park in Tamale and more than 5,000 visitors, including members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ministers of State, parliamentarians, directors of Agriculture, award winners, farmers and the media, are expected to participate in the programme.
When the Daily Graphic visited the venue yesterday, various workers assigned to their respective tasks were busy putting the place in shape.
Already, canopies have been mounted for a week-long exhibition which forms part of the celebration. The Presidential Dais has also been set for the programme, while canopies for visitors and other participants in the event are being erected.
Workers of the Public Works Department (PWD) were also busy at the venue constructing dais for the three topmost award winners.
Workers of the Information Services Department (ISD) and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) were also testing their sound and recording equipment when the Daily Graphic visited the venue.
In order to make this important event successful, sub-committees, such as publicity and fund-raising, grounds, awards and transportation, accommodation, welfare and entertainment, security and exhibits, were formed four months ahead of the celebration.
According to the Northern Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Sylvester Adongo, the prizes to be given to award winners arrived in Tamale yesterday.
He, however, did not specify the nature of the prizes but said about 65 farmers were expected to receive various categories of awards.
“We do not know the nature of the national awards because I believe those in Accra would want it to be a surprise, but farmers who are into livestock, poultry, fisheries and cattle rearing will be honoured,” he pointed out.
Briefing the Daily Graphic on the preparations, the Tamale Metropolitan Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kwamena Arkorful, intimated that there was enough accommodation for visitors.
He said officially 350 dignitaries were expected, adding that they had all been catered for.
On security, he indicated that 120 policemen would be stationed on the grounds during the programme, saying 350 more would be on patrol in the metropolis, with others on standby for any security threat that might arise.
Mr Arkorful stated that about 65 award winners were expected to arrive in Tamale yesterday, adding that field trips would be organised for them to visit Tugu, where a borehole was expected to be inaugurated to commemorate the occasion.
Touching on health, the director noted that health personnel would be at the venue to solve emergency health issues, while ambulance services would be provided for both the award winners and other participants.
In the area of sanitation, he stated that workers of Zoomlion had been detailed to provide daily sanitation before, during and after the celebration.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


THE Northern Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Nayina, has cautioned advisory boards of health training institutions against influencing admission processes.
He noted that candidates who did not have the entry requirements should not be smuggled into the institutions since that could lead to obtaining mediocre products from the institutions and jeopardise healthcare service delivery.
Mr Nayina gave the warning in Tamale during the inauguration of the advisory boards of the various Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service Training Institutions in the Northern Region.
They are the Nurses Training College in Tamale, Health Assistants Training schools in Damongo, Salaga, Yendi, and Nalerigu; Community Health Training School in Tamale and the School of Hygiene.
The boards are to, among other things, advise the principals on management and governance issues and support efforts at the mobilisation of extra funds and resources for infrastructure development.
The minister advised the boards to ensure that their immediate policies were geared towards guiding those institutions to produce “qualified and adequate human resources for our various health facilities across the region”.
He further entreated the board members to take cognisance of the oath they had taken and live by it.
“You are taking office at a time when strenuous efforts are being made by the government to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); health training institutions are agencies that can play a major role in achieving this objective”, Mr Nayina said.
The Director of Human Resource Division of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr Appiah Denkyirah, in a speech read on his behalf, said that the MoH had to take some radical measures in an effort to curb the brain drain in the country.
The measures, he noted, included an increase in the numbers and intake into MOH training institutions in the country.
Dr Denkyirah, said currently the MOH had 56 training institutions and over 18,000 students, adding that each region had a Nursing and Midwifery Training School and Community Health Nurse Training schools except for the Greater Accra Region, and Health Assistants Clinical School.
“Admissions are highly competitive and yearly intake of over 7,000 which is only 17 per cent of the candidates who qualified and this has put so much stress on the schools’ infrastructure as well as overwhelmed the health tutors, as a result affecting academic performance”, he stated.
The director further explained that “the Advisory Board may choose its own chairman and meet half-yearly, except when the situation demands”.
He said the operating cost of the Advisory Board was decentralised, but that needed innovation.
“The Advisory Board shall channel all its reports through the Regional Director of Health Services to the Minister of Health”, he stated.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

DR DAVID ABDULAI ....He serves the poor (JUNIOR GRAPHIC, PAGE 6, DEC 2)

Dr David Abdulai is the Resident Medical Officer of the Shekinah and Wamale Clinics in Tamale. All his friends and patients affectionately call him Dr Abdulai.
Unfortunately, this fine medical officer is the only surviving child of his parents.
His late father, Mr Abdul Kaleem, was a leper and his mother was virtually a beggar. But young Abdulai did not allow his plight in life to weigh him down. One thing he has learnt is that although life is full of ups and downs, those who are courageous and persevere as well as depend on God, are always victorious.
Born in 1951 in Tamale, Dr Abdulai said, “I grew up on the streets,” but pointed out that even during his hardships, he always tried to support the poor and work for them.
According to him, he knew what it meant to go hungry, saying “hunger has been my greatest challenge in life.”
Recounting his past experiences and achievements to the Junior Graphic at the Shekinah Clinic, Dr Abdulai said he got the chance to go to school up to the university with the support of some philanthropists and relations.
Fortunately for him, he went through his secondary and university education with the aid of government bursary, the Northern Scholarship grant and the Students’ Loan Scheme.
He completed the Medical School in 1979 and undertook his housemanship at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and the 37 Military Hospital between August 1979 and August 1980. He left for the Battor Hospital in September 1980 where he worked under a distinguished German Gynaecologist, Dr Edgita Gorges, and was later sponsored by the Catholic Church to pursue a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Liverpool.
The church again sent him to Zambia, where he worked under a renowned and experienced Surgeon, (Dr) James Cairn, between 1986 and 1987.
He, however, declined an invitation to study for a Master’s degree in Public Health in Europe, because he wanted to remain a clinician (a doctor who has direct contact with patients).
After he returned from Zambia in 1988, his desire to serve the poor became very strong, and according to him, his heart ached very much whenever he came into contact with people who could not afford to pay their medical bills.
“I spoke with the Northern Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Sam Bugri, who suggested that I came to Tamale as the District Medical Officer (DMO) and then see how I could bring my vision to fruition,” Dr Abdulai further said.
While performing his duties as the DMO, he was also taking time off his busy schedule to reach out to the poor.
Dr Abdulai said he was really touched by the plight of a mentally challenged man, on whom he performed an operation at the Nyankpala Health Centre. He explained that the man came up to him one day and asked for his assistance.
“I have no money, so if I go to the hospital I will die”, the man said.
According to him, it was at that point that he realised he had to devote his expertise and services to the poor.
For his hard work, Dr Abdulai was honoured by former Presidents, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor.
He said, “I have found happiness by putting smiles on the faces of poor people” as destitute, lepers and mentally challenged persons benefit from health care services from the two clinics established by Dr Abdulai.
The Shekinah Clinic, which is located at Gurugu, a suburb of Tamale, for instance, serves as a home to many poor people, including those who have been abandoned by their families because of their ailments.
It is also gratifying to note that the clinic serves as a home and place of healing for various kinds of people, including those suffering from HIV/AIDS and others abandoned by their relatives from neighbouring countries such as Togo and Benin.
Currently, there are 35 destitute, who have found a home in Shekinah Clinic.
Dr Abdulai has also initiated a food programme where 150 people, including the mentally challenged who roam the streets of Tamale, are fed daily.
Additionally, 25 poor widows and about 80 poor and elderly women who live on their own are served with a ration of maize every two weeks. During festivals like Christmas, between 2,500 and 3,000 poor people are fed.
Dr Abdulai aptly summed up his service to the community when he said, “I am running two clinics, aimed primarily at the poor and the destitute; we depend unconditionally on divine providence”.
As a result of his selfless service to the community and humanity, dignitaries, including former President Rawlings, Princess Ann, the daughter of the Queen of England, ambassadors, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the US Army General, and Army Officers of the Royal College of Defence Studies in England paid separate visits to the Clinic between 1995 and 2005.
Indeed, Dr Abdulai has carved a niche for himself and many poor people who have benefited from his benevolence would forever cherish and value him.


THE Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has denied reports carried by a section of the media, including Accra-based FM stations, that suggested that there were clashes and gunshots at a sod-cutting ceremony attended by the Vice-President in Buipe at the weekend.
Addressing a press conference in Tamale to react to the reports, the Regional Minister and Chairman of the REGSEC, Mr Stephen Nayina, stressed that “the REGSEC would like to set the record straight that what happened was a protest from the Buipewura against the elder of the Lebu Gate from presenting himself at the durbar as a chief”.
He explained that the protest led to a brief misunderstanding between the chiefs and elders of the Lepo Gate.
According to him, the timely intervention of the Regional Police Commander and some Gonja leaders averted any clash and the matter was amicably resolved, sanity prevailed and the function took off smoothly.
Mr Nayina intimated that the purported news item carried by the Accra-based FM stations was, therefore, not only unfounded but also misleading.
He said it was a calculated attempt to erode the gains made so far in maintaining peace in the traditional area and also negate the good essence of the event, which in the long run would impact positively on the good people of the three northern regions.
“The Regional Co-ordinating Council will like to draw your attention that the region is deprived and any negative reportage will further worsen our plight”, he pointed out.
He indicated that the REGSEC, and for that matter the RCC, expected media practitioners to highlight more on development issues since the region had huge potentials that could easily be marketed by positive reportage.
“The RCC is, therefore, appealing to editors of various media houses in the region and the nation’s capital to cross-check their facts from their local correspondents before publishing their news items”, he entreated.
In a related development, members of the Lebupe Gate have condemned the disturbances that took place during the visit of the Vice President and his entourage.
A spokesperson for the Gate, Mr Emmanuel Asase, stated “we wish to condemn in no uncertain terms the kind of primitive behaviour exhibited in the presence of our august visitors from the Presidency and development partners who were in Buipe in the interest of our people”.
The spokesperson explained that on the eve of the event, “we members of the Lebupe Gate made a statement to the media that information reaching our leader indicated that the Silimawura was inviting people to come for the sodcutting ceremony”.
Following that report in the media, the spokesperson stated that the District Chief Executive, Mr Sualisu Beawurebi, visited the Lebupe family and told them that they could attend the programme.


THE mortal remains of Moses Alando Banaba, the People’s National Convention (PNC) parliamentary candidate in the 2008 general elections, has been laid to rest at Nalerigu in the East Mamprusi District of the Northern Region.
Dignitaries who witnessed the ceremony amidst tight security included the Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Nayina, and members of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Mark Woyongo, some political bigwigs in the PNC, traditional rulers and residents of the area.
In his tribute, Mr Nayina expressed regret that the circumstances that led to his death should never again be witnessed in the area.
“It is a big slur on peace, tranquillity and stability of Mamprugu and I want all of us to take solace in the fact that our late brother is resting in the bosom of God” he noted.
He described him as a philanthropist who would stop at nothing to support his people.
Mr Nayina however assured the bereaved family and friends of the deceased that “we shall unravel the mystery behind that action and whoever played a role in the act would be smoked out and made to face the full rigours of the law”.Mr Woyongo for his part, was of the conviction that his death would change the hearts and minds of people for the better, saying we are all brothers and sisters and we need to change our attitudes towards life by rather fighting poverty and not one another.
The Nayiri and Overlord of Mamprugu, Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai, condemned the act that led to Alando’s death but noted that it should not be linked to the Bawku conflict.
He entreated the bereaved family to remain calm, and urged the community to support the family as they mourned their beloved father, brother and husband.
The Communications Director of the PNC, Mr Henry Asante, noted that his untimely death sent shivers down the spines of the rank and file of the party as he was considered to be one of the best candidates for the party and a potential flag bearer.
The youngest of his six children, Ms Abaagu Jochabed Alando, in her tribute said their father was not only caring but also took their education as his top priority.
“Daddy you should have told us you would not return but you said you were going to work not knowing that you were going to the ancestral world in a crude manner” she further lamented.
A younger brother of the deceased, Issah Banaba, who read his biography stated that he was a “kind hearted brother who always wanted to unite and serve not only his family members but the entire community at large”.
The Matron of the Baptist Medical Centre, Mr Stephen Yiddi, observed that the Late Alando put smiles on the faces of patients and was tolerant, a team player, humble and open-minded.
Preaching a sermon, the Head of the Northern Ghana Sector of the Ghana Baptist Convention, Reverend Alfred W. Afful, entreated the people to draw inspiration from the gospel, saying when you receive comfort from the Word of God you do not need anything in the world again.
Alando met his untimely death on Thursday evening, November 12, 2009 when he was shot by an unknown gunman at Nalerigu.
Born on July 10 1956 to Mr Banaba Apam and Mrs Kavugu Apam, he attended the Nalerigu Local Authority Primary School From 1961-1967. He gained admission to the Bawku Senior High School in the Upper East Region in 1971 and obtained his Ordinary level certificate in 1975.
He entered the Bagabaga Teacher Training College in 1976 and successfully obtained a Teacher “A” certificate in 1979.
He was posted to the Nalerigu Senior High School to teach science and Agricultural Science.
At the Ghana Education Service, he rose through the ranks to become the Assistant Director of Education.
Due to his loyalty and hardwork, he was appointed by management of the Baptist Medical Centre as a Pharmacy Assistant in 1975 and rose to the grade of Pharmacy Assistant to Deputy Chief Pharmacy Technician.
He resigned from the GES in 2003 to concentrate on pharmacy work and was faithful and punctual in his work until he met his untimely death.
The late Alando was adjudged the best District Para-medic in 2006 and the best worker of the BMC in 2005.
He is survived by two wives and six children.