UNMEER donates assets to Ghana’s Ministry of Health as it closes office in Accra

Accra, August 19, 2015 – Barely 3 months after closing down its headquarters in Ghana, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) has donated its assets to the Government of Ghana.  The items included vehicles, office supplies and furniture and were received by the Ministry of Health. The presentation which took place at the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot in Accra was attended by the Mr. Yaw Safo-Adu Amankwah, Protocol Officer of UNMEER, the Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Victor Asare- Bampoe and representatives from the local media.

Signing of MoUAccording to Mr. Yaw Safo-Adu Amankwah, his office was not oblivious of the great sacrifice by the government and the people of Ghana to host UNMEER in Accra.  He therefore commended the President of Ghana, H.E. John Dramani Mahama on his leadership and courageous contribution towards the massive reduction of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the sub-region.

“Due to the devastating nature of the disease, the mere mention of Ebola was seen as an abomination. As President of the regional body, ECOWAS, His Excellency President Mahama had to show leadership and rare courage and he did exactly so by acceding to the UN’s request to host UNMEER in Ghana” He added.

Mr. Safo-Adu Amankwah handing over the signed MoU to the Dep Minister

Mr. Safo-Adu Amankwah handing over the signed MoU to the Dep Minister

Mr. Amankwah said it is in recognition and appreciation of the contribution of the Ghanaian authorities to the global Ebola response effort that UNMEER felt it is necessary to make this “small donation to help equip the Ministry of Health’s Ebola Response team”.

“UNMEER has donated fifteen (15) vehicles, comprising two (2) Ford Everest 4×4; eight (8) Prado 4×4; two (2) Toyota Hilux Pick-ups and three (3) Toyota Hiace mini-buses, together with spare parts; office furniture and stationery”, he said.

“It must be emphasized that the items donated are to be utilized exclusively in support of UNMEER’s mandate and global efforts to stop the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease”, he added.

The fleet of vehicles

The fleet of vehicles

For his part, the Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Asare-Bampoe thanked UNMEER for the gesture and lauded the UN’s role, and UNMEER’s leadership “in enabling the massive reduction of Ebola”.

He said the items will contribute significantly towards supporting the work of the Ministry.

“We are very happy that this donation has been made because it will go a long way to strengthen Ghana’s health system to make sure that we are ready for Ebola or any other public health emergency”.

He assured the donor that the items “will be put to the intended use”.

UNMEER was established on September 19, 2014 after the unanimous adoption of the General Assembly Resolution 69/1, and the adoption of the Security Council Resolution 2177 (2014) on the Ebola outbreak. Its mandate is due to end on August 31, 2015.

Voltic, Fruitelli, Kinapharma and Ernest Chemist support Nyinasin community for IYD

Nyinasin, Cape Coast, August 11, 2015 – Nyinasin, a rural community 13 kilometres North of Cape Coast, the Central Regional capital benefited from a much needed health outreach as part of activities to mark International Youth Day 2015. UNIC Accra and the FEB Foundation (a health

A volunteer attending to a beneficiary

A volunteer attending to a beneficiary

Hilda, a nurse explaining to children the importance of fruit and vegetables

Hilda, a nurse explaining to children the importance of fruit and vegetables

NGO) rallied young health professionals, most of them volunteers, to Nyinasin to provide free health service to the community, engage the youth and encourage them to be productive in their community and nation.  The event which attracted about 1,500 residents including children was also supported by the National Youth Authority, UNFPA and the Ghana AIDS Commission.

The event would not have been possible without free medical supplies from Kinapharma and Ernest chemists, two major local pharmaceutical companies. Both companies provided anti-malarial drugs, dewormers, pain relievers, anti-inflammatory creams and tablets, food supplements, gauze, methylated spirits and ointments for various ailments among many other items. In addition, other organisations from the Cape Coast municipality, through the FEB Foundation, provided much needed medical supplies.

time for refreshmentDuring the brief opening of the outreach, the National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms Cynthia Prah acknowledged the contributions of the various sponsors.  She expressed appreciation to Voltic Ghana Limited for providing 15 cartons of bottled water to cater for the exercise. The gesture was to encourage the beneficiaries to always drink clean water to maintain good health and avoid diseases. Ms Prah also thanked Fruitelli Ghana Limited for supporting the

Group picture of volunteers

Group picture of volunteers

UNIC NIO (3rd from right) with GAC Team

UNIC NIO (3rd from left) with GAC Team

outreach with boxes of fruit juice which came very handy during a talk session on the essence of inculcating fruits and vegetables in children’s diet.

A similar health outreach was organized at the same time at the Elmina New Market. The joint effort and support by partners and sponsors of these events brought great relief to the people of Nyinasin and Elmina whose access to health services are in dire need of augmentation.

Youth reach out to youth as part of International Youth Day activities

Cape Coast, August 11, 2015 – The global theme for this year’s International Youth Day has been “Youth Civic Engagement.” However, the theme tailored to fit the planned activity by UNIC and partners is “Ensuring Healthy Life and Promoting Well-being for All Ages”.  This theme sought to implore as many youth as possible to willingly contribute their services freely to the development of their communities.

Ms Prah addressing the gathering prior to the health screening

Ms Prah addressing the gathering prior to the health screening

Approximately 70 young volunteers comprising of medical doctors, students, nurses and pharmacists from Ghana and different parts of the world volunteered at the event, which was a health outreach at Nyinasin and Elmina. The dedicated efforts of the youth to the success of the event was a testimony to the essence of youth civic engagement, for which the National Information Officer of UNIC Accra Ms. Cynthia Prah, applauded the volunteers. The Director of FEB Foundation Dr.

Dr. Baidoo addressing the gathering

Dr. Baidoo addressing the gathering

Francis Baidoo, a young doctor who put together the team of volunteers, expressed untold excitement at the opportunity to give back to his community. He urged all present to practice healthy living to ensure maximum productivity and longevity. He also acknowledged the selfless efforts of Project Abroad Organization, Living Hope Ministries, Nkwa Foundation and AIESEC UCC.

The health screening at Elmina

The health screening at Elmina

A community profile on Nyinasin, conducted by the FEB Foundation indicates a rise in cases of teenage pregnancy and high rates of school dropouts, as such the presence of educated young men and women at the outreach was a source of inspiration for the youth.  Volunteers mentored the youth on issues of reproductive health, personal hygiene and the need to pursue higher education.

 A group of female teenagers including Sekina, 14, Hajaratu 16 and Samiratu 14, interacted with the volunteers and expressed their desire to learn hard, travel the world and help other communities as they have observed them do.

The response from the community has been encouraging. Grace Mensah, a 49 year old beneficiary from Elmina expressed how invaluable the outreach has been to her since she lacks the resources to seek regular health checks. She was very grateful for the opportunity to be freely screened for Hepatitis B and appealed that more of such exercises be frequently organized.

International Youth Day health outreach in the face of striking doctors in Ghana

Nyinasin, Cape Coast, August 11, 2015 – Doctors in various public health facilities in Ghana have laid down their tools for nearly a week as part of a nationwide strike to demand better remuneration for their services.  Negotiations are ongoing between the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Medical Association and media reports indicate continuous increase in the number of patients seen at Out Patient Departments in major public hospitals across the country.

A volunteer attending to a beneficiary

A volunteer attending to a beneficiary

It is in this light that the health outreach to commemorate International Youth Day 2015, organized by UNIC Accra and the FEB Foundation and supported by UNFPA, the Ghana Aids Commission, and the National Youth Authority could not have come at a better time. The event aimed to provide free health services to the residents of Nyinasin and Elmina in the Central Region of Ghana.  Residents of these two communities are

Some of the volunteers in action attending to beneficiaries

Some of the volunteers in action attending to beneficiaries

challenged with inadequate health facilities, among others. Dozens of young volunteers from the medical field—students, doctors, nurses and pharmacists—spent nearly 8 hours to provide free medical service.

More residents awaiting their turn to be attended to

More residents awaiting their turn to be attended to

Several cases of malaria, fever, malnutrition, diabetes, high blood pressure, diarrhea, skin rashes and many water borne diseases were recorded during the exercise.  Personnel provided as much relief as the available resources could cater; participants were also educated on personal hygiene, family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention, water treatment methods, nutrition and other disease prevention lifestyles.

My Intership Experience by Ms Linda Phiri

“My time here was most definitely well spent and allowed for my personal and professional growth. There are various milestones I was able to reach at UNIC Accra, such as having an article published, drafting a feature, and representing a media team alongside my supervisor

Linda Phiri

Linda Phiri

where we administered crucial interviews at a UNESCO capacity building workshop. In addition, I was able to enhance my team work skills in a professional environment. All interns had both the opportunities to lead and also to follow during the planning of events and programs within UNIC Accra and in partnership with other UN agencies, local government and Non-Governmental Organizations.”

World Bank approves largest ever guarantees for Ghana’s energy transformation

Washington, July 30, 2015 – The World Bank has approved a record investment of $700 million in guarantees for Ghana’s Sankofa Gas Project – a transformational project that will help address the country’s serious energy shortages by developing new sources of clean and affordable natural gas for domestic power generation.

In a press release issued by the World Bank, the Bank’s Board of Directors approved a unique combination of two guarantees for the Project. The first is an International Development Association Payment guarantee of $500 million that supports timely payments for gas purchases by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.  The second guarantee is an International Bank for Reconstruction and development Enclave Loan guarantee of $200 million that enables the project to secure financing from its private sponsors. Together, the guarantees are expected to mobilize $7.9 billion in new private investment for offshore natural gas, representing the biggest foreign direct investment in Ghana’s history.

According to the World Bank, developing the Sankofa Gas Project – located 60 km offshore – is expected to bring significant benefits for Ghana by fueling up to 1,000 megawatts of clean power generation, replacing polluting and expensive oil-burning electricity. Once the Sankofa field starts to produce gas in early 2018, Ghana will be able to reduce its oil imports by up to 12 million barrels a year and cut carbon emissions by 1.6 million metric tons of CO2 annually.

International Day of Peace student design and essay contest new deadline: 21 August 2015

New York, July 30, 2015 – Young people between the ages of 5 and 18 are invited to submit their entries in a writing and drawing competition, organized by the Permanent Representation of the International Organisation of La Francophonie to the United Nations in New York and the UN Department of Public Information.   The aim of the competition is to enable young people illustrate the value of peace or how cultural diversity contributes to peace. Please download the competition flyer for further information and how to submit your entries.

UN Secretary-General appoints Eugene Owusu of Ghana as Deputy Special Representative in South Sudan

Juba, South Sudan, July 28, 2015 – The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has appointed Eugene Owusu of Ghana as Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative to South Sudan.

Mr. Eugene Owusu

Mr. Eugene Owusu

In a press release issued by the UN Mission in South Sudan, Mr. Owusu has arrived at post.

He brings to the position extensive experience in international development and humanitarian affairs.

Education experts agree to train teachers and other educational actors to integrate diversity, anti-discrimination and gender equality activities into their lesson planning

Dodowa, Ghana, July 27, 2015 – Participants at UNESCO-organized four-day workshop to review the draft School-related Gender-based Violence (SRGBV) tool and strengthen the capacities of experts from Ministries of Education, Health and Culture to train teachers and other educational actors to integrate diversity, anti-discrimination and gender equality activities into their lesson planning, have agreed to develop a  project proposal for implementation on the next steps.

Ms Dzifa Gomashie addressing the participants

Ms Dzifa Gomashie addressing the participants

In a communique issued at the close of the workshop, the participants from Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria identified several approaches and activities such as testing the usability of the tool for educators and learners in-country and conducting a national orientation and validation meeting with key stakeholders.  They also agreed to strengthening existing teacher training process by integrating these modules and identifying areas within the existing curriculum where gender and diversity could be integrated, to ensure the goal of the workshop is met.

The closing ceremony of the workshop was attended by Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Tourism Culture and Creative Arts, Ms Dzifa Gomashie.