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‘Hope in the face of uncertainty’, KNUST SRC Presidential Candidate pencils emotional address after polls

One of the Presidential Candidates for the just ended SRC Elections of the Kwane Nkrumah University of Science and Technology(KNUST), Mohammed Ali has written an emotional address in which he chronicled major highlights of the contest.

Although Mr.Ali was unsuccessful in his bid to leading the student body of the  famous university, he was full of laudations to his campaign team and all persons who supported his political journey in a myriad of ways.

“Ultimately, the election has been a success. My sincere gratitude to everyone who made our journey comforting. Although we didn’t emerge entirely victorious, we are comforted by the fact that we gave in our all. Guided by the understanding of the total will of God, we surrender ourselves to His decree. Ebenezer, thus how far the Lord has brought us.” Mr.Ali stated.

Read below his full statement:

HOPE IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY

(Aftermath of August 5 Address)

Let me begin by expressing my deepest gratitude first and foremost to Almighty Allah for the blessing of life and the grace to run a race as such. It has been a dream come true. August 5, 2021 marked a day when we set a precedent, that through thicks and thins, we would persevere and get to the  button of the tunnel.

Ultimately, the election has been a success. My sincere gratitude to everyone who made our journey comforting. Although we didn’t emerge entirely victorious, we are comforted by the fact that we gave in our all. Guided by the understanding of the total will of God, we surrender ourselves to His decree. Ebenezer, thus how far the Lord has brought us.

Far before the elections I had made a statement, that at the end of it all, everyone would bear witness to the slogan I’ve long been preaching; 1% Chance, 99% Faith – Hope in the face of uncertainty. And that is how I accept the turnout of events after the election. I am not a fan of conspiracy theories and do not wish to forge one myself. Despite the concerns being raised at the aftermath of the elections being genuine and begging, I have resolved to sitting back and observing the turnout of events. Societal service has always been possible with or without political power and I intend to do my best in spheres I find myself.

What made it even more comforting is the group of people I initially called a team that grew along the line to become family. Those who despite the several challenges and discrepancies we were faced with chose to stand with us at the expense of other interesting offers elsewhere. Bubu Husseini , my dear Victoria⁩ ,smiley Asaasim⁩ ,Ing. WK Omar, Bra Kleva , Doreen whom I affectionately call Deee , sweet Radiyah Bint Ilyas⁩ , Swalih Abbass , your loyalty has known no boundaries. Farther Shafiu, you are God’s own oracle. And my president,Master Kevin Abban, the strongest gentleman yet the calmest I’ve met in this journey. I’m glad I had you to run this race with. And all the groups and association that endorsed our vision for the SRC, we are most grateful in every way. I cannot forget my family, my primary inspiration. Your support cannot be underestimated.

After election, what next?

We’ve been through a whole lot since the beginning of the electioneering process. Today we have come out of it successfully. I neither face East nor West now. I face Forward. I’m going to reharvest my talents, recover lost relationships (of course, that doesn’t include dead ones), reach out to as many friends as I can and continue community service in any way I can. I’m going reprioritize research and writing like I’ve always done erstwhile. At the end of another year when our newly elected leaders are leaving office, I should also be publishing my book; ‘Changing Times’ as my achievement over the year. Right from the day after we lost our election, I begun writing my first memoir which is going to cover my life experiences through high school till date. I’m hoping it will guide the steps of many who would also tread this path and serve as precedence for many like myself who would come after.

Now that all has been said and done, may we be remembered for what we stood for and believed in. May we not falter in our convictions and may posterity judge us kindly.

The Greatest honour is having to lead honourable people. The journey has been long but you made it comforting. Thank you all.

God bless KNUST and make Her Great and Strong!

#theMohammed_Ali

Source: Nationalistgh

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How to prevent unknown users from adding you to WhatsApp groups

How to prevent unknown users from adding you to WhatsApp groups

WhatsApp groups are a great way to stay connected to family, friends, or even colleagues, but the feature is often exploited by many to add tons of people to groups in order to sell products or promote services.

These groups are often created without permission from participants and this could be frustrating for many. Most of us hate being a part of unnecessary groups and often consider if it’s rude to just exit a group.

The best way out of this is to have a filter that will stop random people from adding you to groups.

How to prevent unknown users from adding you to WhatsApp groups

Thankfully, there is a setting that you can tweak in the privacy section of you WhatsApp account that spares you from getting added to random groups.

This setting lets you customise who can add you to groups and, by default, the setting is set to ‘Everyone’, which means anyone with your phone number can add you in a group.

It is important to note that group admins can send you invite links and nudge you to join groups, even after you tweak the settings. In order to avoid getting added to groups by random people, follow the steps below:

1. Open WhatsApp, click on the three dots on the top right corner of the screen.

2. Click on the Settings option and then tap Account.

3. Click on Privacy > Groups. The default setting is likely to be set to ‘Everyone’.
4. You can select from three options — ‘Everyone’, ‘My Contacts’, and ‘My Contacts Except’.
5. The ‘Everyone’ option lets any user with your phone number add you in a group without your permission.
6. The ‘My Contact’ option only lets those users add you in groups whose numbers you have saved in your contact list.

7. The last ‘My Contacts Except’ option lets you choose exactly who can add you to groups by letting you filter further and delist the contacts you don’t want to be added by to a group.

Source: Graphiconline

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Environment

Accra, a city of weeds! Tackling our culture of environmental neglect!

With so much biting, unrestrained and sometimes even cruel criticisms in the Ghanaian media, about every action and inaction of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration, I really wonder what those expressing concern about a new ‘culture of silence’ actually mean.

Anyway, in my view, if anything, what is much more worrying, what needs to be talked about, but which is being ignored, is what can be termed ‘a culture of negligence’.

I mean specifically, a ‘culture of environmental neglect’, defined by one source as “failure to care for and protect one’s surroundings”.

Shouldn’t everybody be concerned, for example, that our capital city is practically being swallowed by weeds?

Why should the fertility of our soils be demonstrated by the amount of weeds flourishing everywhere in our country’s principal city?

One person who has shown that he does care is the Greater Accra Regional Minister Henry Quartey.

But are people complementing his efforts, by at least brightening their own corner?

Isn’t it the culture of negligence that has seen Ghana losing so much forest cover that now the Government has had to launch a crash tree-planting project to restore our forests?

Thus just over a month ago, on June 11, the ‘Green Ghana Day’ initiative, aimed at planting five million trees all over the country, took the country by storm.

But after the tree-planting, what next?

Secondly, the topical news currently is the amazing feat chalked by Mr. Quartey, getting the onion traders at the Agbogbloshie Market to relocate to Adjen Kotoku, near Amasaman, as part of his laudable ‘Let’s make Accra work’ drive.

It is evident that others operating there will also have to relocate.

But after the relocations, what next?

What is to be done with the vacated area at Agbogbloshie?

I have one answer to both questions, a suggestion: why not develop the Agbogbloshie site into a green area, a park for the capital, to fulfil a long-felt need for an Accra City Park?

There is need for one, because clearly, the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park, for instance, has a different purpose.

It would also serve to improve the Accra aura spectacularly as the backdrop to the developments in the city, the magnificent structures springing up all over.

Indeed, creating parks all over the country would be a fitting complement to the ‘Green Ghana’ programme.

Of course the initiators of the ‘Green Ghana’, and the Minister, may have plans for the next phase.

However, I’m hoping that the Government, and other stakeholders, will give consideration to my idea of converting Agbogbloshie into a park befitting Ghana’s First City.

It also seems to me that now more than ever, as I have written a number of times, the Department of Parks and Gardens needs to be revived and resourced to play a lead role in the beautification of the capital city and other places.

As I have pointed out in this space, even in London which is seen as a very commercial city, surprisingly, a few minutes’ walk left or right, away from the busy famous shopping street, Oxford Street, will take one to a park, including areas with seats to rest shopping-weary legs.

By one estimate there are as many as 25 parks in London, all phenomenal ones!

Again, South Korea where land for development is scarce and their capital, Seoul, surrounded by mountains, despite that, they have managed to decorate their streets with plants and flowers.

They have flowers in baskets hanging from the lampposts.

The neglect of Accra’s spaces, especially with central reservations and road shoulders teeming with weeds, is bewildering – and shameful.

A few days ago, going around the city, what I saw confirmed that nothing has changed since the last time this column drew attention to the messy state of many Accra streets, including the N1, the George Walker Bush Highway: with a litter-strewn median and broken railings.

Regarding the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout, how can this prime site and its environs be allowed to look like a weeds emporium?

Another example of the deplorable sights was the Ceremonial Route right from Legon, through the ’37 Military Hospital, past Jubilee House to the Ako-Adjei Interchange.

The picture from the Ako-Adjei past the Nima Police Station and the Paloma Restaurant environs to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle was no better.

Unbelievably, on the High Street, both sides of that prestigiously-named thoroughfare were sprouting weeds, from the Courts Complex, through the Arts Centre to the open space in front of the General Post Office (GPO).

Most disappointing of all, even the fenced off mini spaces directly opposite the Bank of Ghana and the old office of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, as well as that in front of the GPO, were all overgrown with weeds! Shocking!

Why has our capital become a city of weeds, as if Ghana is aiming to export weeds?

At Dansoman Estate, although I was happy to observe some saplings planted in the central reservation of the General Acheampong High Street, being nursed to grow into decorative trees, there was cause for concern.

Unbelievably, the Theresa Amerley Tagoe memorial roundabout, inaugurated with fanfare just last November, is displaying lots of weeds, one more evidence of the culture of neglect!

So I ask again: Why has the Department of Parks and Gardens been put on the back burner at a period when their expertise is needed as never before?

At least in the past we felt its presence because we used to see its staff busy at work, usually tending the medians.

Why does it seem that we revel in the unkempt appearance of the nation’s capital?

Mr. Quartey, please bring on board the Department of Parks and Gardens!

Furthermore, Accra-dwellers need to appreciate that it will take a collective effort to give the capital the ambience worthy of a metropolis – and undoubtedly the rest of the country will take their cue from Accra.

Source:Graphiconline/ajoayeboahafari@yahoo.com 

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Features

Covid-19: fear or stigma? Tales of two worlds

Stigmatization and discrimination against survivors of COVID-19 and their relatives have been widespread and a huge barrier affecting response to the pandemic.

This stigma and discrimination have been highly fuelled by misconceptions, confusions and fear of contracting the virus even from patients who have recovered and their families.

There are widespread misconceptions and fear of people who have recovered from Covid-19, as they are believed to pose a health risk to others. Survivors of Covid-19 are widely avoided and stigmatized.

Stigma and discrimination against survivors of Covid-19 and their families including children, remain a common belief and fear that those who have recovered remain infectious.

People who present symptoms of Covid-19, as well as those who have tested for it whether or not the result is positive, are frequently stigmatized.

Due to this, many people shy away from testing, calling for an ambulance when the need be, or even visit a health facility when they are ill, for fear of being associated with the condition.

This issue was frequently highlighted during the weekly briefings from the Ministry of Health, where survivors including influencers were brought in to share their testimonies of the double burden they faced as stigmatized survivors of Covid-19. Psychologists were also brought in to counsel survivors as well as their immediate families and the society as a whole.

In the wake of the fear and uncertainty that emerge during a pandemic, stigma and discrimination quickly follow, exposing people to violence, harassment and isolation, and hampering the delivery and uptake of essential health services and public health measures to control the pandemic.

The stigma that arises during a pandemic can exacerbate existing inequalities including those related to race, socioeconomic status, occupation, gender, immigration status and sexual orientation. The presence of stigma specific to certain health conditions has been observed in the HIV pandemic, the outbreaks of Ebola virus and Zika virus, and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the UNAIDS, the anticipation of stigma during a pandemic can interfere with the adoption of preventive measures, timely testing and adherence to treatment.

Many forms of stigma and discrimination have surfaced since the identification of COVID-19. Xenophobia has been directed at people thought to be responsible for “bringing” COVID-19 into countries. People who have recovered from COVID-19, essential workers such as health-care staff, and populations facing pre-existing stigma and discrimination.

Since the covid-19 pandemic was first reported in Ghana in March 2020, several measures including lockdowns, institution of preventive protocols such as social distancing, wearing of facemasks and ban on social gatherings were put in place to serve as guide for citizens to adhere to. Despite all the preventive measures, Ghana is among countries that have recorded high number of cases.

Globally, as of June 18, there have been 178,118,597 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 3,864,180 deaths by the WHO and a total of 2,412,226,768 vaccine doses had been administered within same time.

In Ghana, as at June 24, according to the Ghana Health Service, a total of 95,642 confirmed cases with 93,288 recoveries have been recorded. A total of 795 deaths, 1,559 active cases and 166 new cases have also been recorded.

In all, 852,047 vaccines have been administered as at May 7, 2021 according to the Ghana Health Service COVID-19 official website when the first batch of 600,000 Astrazeneca vaccines were received by the country under the COVAX facility to mark the beginning of final roll out in March 202 Globally, as of June 18, there have been 178,118,597 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 3,864,180 deaths by the WHO and a total of 2,412,226,768 vaccine doses had been administered within same time.

In Ghana, as at June 24, according to the Ghana Health Service, a total of 95,642 confirmed cases with 93,288 recoveries have been recorded. A total of 795 deaths, 1,559 active cases and 166 new cases have also been recorded.

In all, 852,047 vaccines have been administered Vaccines Administered as at May 7, 2021 according to the Ghana Health Service COVID-19 official website when the first batch of 600,000 Astrazeneca vaccines were received by the country under the COVAX facility to mark the beginning of final roll out in March 2021.

The concern for stigma and discrimination of those who contracted the diseases has become a huge worry to government and its agencies both national and international as it has the potential to derail containment efforts.

There have been unpleasant reports of people infected with covid-19 being stigmatiszed in their communities to the extent that landlords eject tenants who had contracted the virus from their homes while people refuse to sell to them simply because they have recovered from the disease or lost a relative or a friend to the disease.

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion or feeling caused by a threat of danger, pain, or harm, which is real or imagined whiles stigma involves negative attitudes or discrimination against someone based on health condition and many others.

While fear could be genuine, stigma on the other hand, could be associated with a lack of knowledge. Considering the hospitable nature of Ghanaians and one’s attitude towards each other, it becomes difficult to accept the fact that people are being stigmatized for having contracted the virus through no fault of theirs. Perhaps, they are stigmatizing either out of fear or lack of knowledge about the mode of contracting the virus and the fact that the disease is new, makes its dynamics very difficult to grasp with.

In boosting public confidence and the understanding of the COVID-19 preventive protocols and the vaccination, and to ensure that Ghanaians are convinced of the safety of the vaccines, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his wife, the Vice President Dr Mohammud Bawumia and his spouse, took their first jab on March 1st followed by other top government officials, parliamentarians as well as leaders of the various political parties and institutions as well as the media to convince the general public, yet, some people were still skeptical.

Some prominent people including some members of parliament who contracted the virus, and recovered had their relatives, neighbours, and well-wishers visiting them to congratulate them for surviving the deadly disease especially when some of their contemporaries had succumbed to it.

In another instance, a farmer at Fankyenebra, a small farming community near Begoro in Eastern Region contracted the virus, admitted for two weeks at a local district hospital, on the day of discharge, some health workers followed him to his house in a kind of welcome party to sensitize the community to accept him and not to discriminate against him.

But his woes begun after the health officials who accompanied him to the house had left, everybody in the house immediately went to their rooms with their families, leaving him, his wife and children to their fate. The next day, the landlord called his wife and asked her to tell the husband to relocate to their family house since the other tenants in the house were not comfortable.

Three days later, as usual, his wife a porridge seller prepared the food for sale by the roadside, it was as if the entire community had travelled, nobody bought the porridge popularly known as “Koko” and eventually, the family fed on the Koko for their breakfast, lunch and supper, she painfully narrated, As I write this piece, the innocent woman’s Koko business has collapsed just because her husband contracted COVID-19.

Ironically, this woman is not ready to take the vaccine due to the many misconceptions and conspiracy theories about the vaccine. To her, her religion, which she did not disclose, abhorred vaccines and any form of injection and so in spite of the negative effects she has suffered from the COVID-19, she and her family were not ready to take any vaccine when made available to them.

This two scenarios present the tales of two worlds in the fight against a common enemy covid-19 and must be given the needed attention to ensure that each section of the public irrespective of class, creed, status and whatever inclination, we fight the enemy with one front of understanding.

A study conducted by Edumedia, a non-governmental organization in some communities in the Eastern Region on ‘What causes Stigma’ showed that people stigmatize based on fear for lack of knowledge about the disease and its mode of transmission and not to discriminate or cause pain to people who have been infected.

According to the Executive Director of Edumedia, Mr Kofi Amparbeng, most of the people interviewed in various communities made it clear that they shun the company of people infected and their families because of fear of contracting the disease. For the fact that they shared everything in common with such people, especially bathroom and toilet.

He said for the fact that high profile people like Ministers and other high ranking officials who contracted the diseases were not stigmatized and the ordinary persons were, gives ample evidence that stigmatization was not wide spread but rather depending on one’s location and one’s status.

He called for the need to have tailored made education to address specific individual problems to ensure a holistic approach to suppress the virus.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa Director recently cautioned in a virtual news conference that the “threat of a third wave” of covid-19 in Africa is real and rising calling for strengthening of all measures adopted by African government’s including Ghana to prevent a their wave at all cost.

She said “whiles many countries outside Africa have vaccinated a greater percentage of their highly-priority groups population, African countries are unable to even fulfill with purchase of the second dose for their high-risk groups”, she said.

According to experts, COVID-19 is not going to leave us any time soon, therefore, as a people, we have to adjust to the protocols as a new normal way of living, and that calls for concerted efforts of educating people especially in the rural areas and less privileged communities as to how to go about the new life in order not to contract the virus and also not to stigmatize people who have been infected or discriminate against them.

According to Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye Director General of the GHS Stigmatisation should not be given a place in the fight against covid-19 and that people only have to stay safe by abiding by the protocols and hat hiding for fear of being stigmatiszed rather posed public health threats.

For those stigmatizing and discriminating against others for having contracting the virus, we cannot blame them so much for their act but find a way of making people understand the issues in the context of their situation and background.

My close shave with COVID on two occasions gives me the conviction that people’s conditions such as their educational and economic background as well as the environment in which they find themselves in come to play when dealing with issues such as COVID-19, it might be fear of losing their livelihoods and even death that drives the reported cases of stigma.

Adapting evidence-based interventions from other pandemics like HIV response to reduce stigma and discrimination and integrating them into the global COVID-19 response is critical.

Immediate action will reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 on public health and safety and will strengthen our collective ability to control the pandemic by removing critical barriers to seeking care, testing, and adherence to guidelines on physical distancing and use of PPE.
Source:GNA

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