Rotary PolioPlus, MPA sign pact to end polio

The Ghana National PolioPlus Committee of the Rotary International has entered into a partnership agreement with the One Million Community Health Workers (1mCHW) Campaign of Millennium Promise (MPA) to embark on a nationwide polio vaccination exercise.

The two, on Monday, September 17, 2018, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect.

The deal will see the duo commit to the numerous activities they have agreed upon to end the dreaded polio disease from the West African country.

Per the dictates of the MoU, 1mCHWs Campaign of MPA and the Ghana National PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International will leverage on their respective strengths to improve routine immunization in Ghana in the month of October 2018.

The partnership builds on a similar collaboration in October 2017.

Immunization against preventable diseases such as neonatal tetanus, polio, measles, pneumonia and diarrhoea have contributed to reduced under-five mortality in Ghana as preventable deaths have been averted.

For example, since 2003, no child has died from measles in Ghana and the country has officially not recorded a polio case since 2008.

The One Million Community Health Workers (1mCHW) Campaign has since 2015 been providing technical support to the Government of Ghana in the training, deployment and management of 20,000 Community Health Workers (CHWs) and 1,000 eHealth Technical Assistants (eTAs) to support Ghana’s Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) programme for improved health.

The CHWs electronically register households, follow-up on pregnant women and children under five years, provide alerts on defaulters of immunization and antenatal visits for improved health. They (CHWs) are therefore a great resource to conduct disease surveillance, trace defaulters, and detect emerging or resurging diseases before they reach alarming proportions.

The CHWs also have an added advantage as they operate directly under the Ghana Health Service structure – the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) system.

So far, the CHWs module has proven to be the best ever module run by the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) with an excellent exit strategy that has seen several numbers of young men and women gain admission into professional nursing training institutions.

The exit strategy was developed in partnership with MPA and its stakeholders.

As part of the collaboration, MPA will undertake Social Mobilization and Routine Immunization Campaigns by working with key healthcare stakeholders such as chiefs and opinion leaders, religious leaders, community health management committees (CHMCs), school management committees (SMCs) as entry points to educate community members on the benefits of routine immunization.

During the immunization week, the CHWs will embark on home visits to educate households especially parents/guardians of children under 5years to garner full participation in the immunization exercise.

MPA will also support CHWs to undertake home visiting to educate households on benefits of immunization, monitor project activities and ensure comprehensive reporting.

Chief Nat Ebo Nsarko, the Country Director of Millennium Promise Alliance commenting on the partnership deal, stated that his outfit will train and equip the frontline health workers with custom built, GPS– enabled smart phones and tablets to electronically register children under 5 in the respective households including GPS location and immunization status.

“The eHealth tools will help deploy a targeted response that better identifies and reaches populations and locations with high numbers of children who are typically left out of immunization. The eHealth application guides immunisation, defaulter tracing and tracking, as well as real-time data flow for prompt decision making.  This will promote efficient use of resources for maximum impact”, he noted.

The project, he added, will target some communities in all the ten regions across the country.

The Chair of the Ghana National PolioPlus Committee, Madam Theresa Osei Tutu also commenting on the partnership deal stated that Rotary Clubs across the country will be engaged to lead the exercises in the target localities.

IMAGES FROM GHANA

In Ghana, where the Baah-Wiredu Laptop per Child Foundation is working towards a 10,000 laptop deployment, the Millennium Village cluster in Bonsaaso includes some of the first adopters of one laptop per child.

The Millennium Villages are part of an effort to help sub-saharan African countries realize the Millennium Development Goals through global social, financial, and innovation support.  Professor Jeffrey Sachs and former Secretary General Kofi Annan have worked closely together in designing and championing the MDGs, and proposing Millennium Villages and related programs.
This past week, Sachs and Annan visited Bonsaaso and visited the primary students there.

Primary students show off to visitors in Bonsaaso

As the village is unusual in a number of ways, not least in that it reportedly has reliable free internet access, it will be interesting to see how the students and teachers progress over the coming year. What do you think?

New report to Annan proposes solutions to problems of world poverty

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today launched a 3,000-page document which research team leader, Special Adviser Jeffrey Sachs, called “a unique report” recommending that rich countries double their investments in poor countries to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving extreme poverty by 2015 and going beyond to eliminate it by 2025.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today launched a 3,000-page document which research team leader, Special Adviser Jeffrey Sachs, called “a unique report” recommending that rich countries double their investments in poor countries to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving extreme poverty by 2015 and going beyond to eliminate it by 2025.

The report comes at a time when more than one billion of the world’s six billion people live on less that $1 day, and 2.7 billion live on less than $2 a day.

Mr. Annan told a news conference that the report from the UN Millennium Project, called “Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” was “a major intellectual achievement.”

In the months before a United Nations summit on development in September world leaders would “engage in very serious in-depth discussions on some of the most important issues and dilemmas facing the international community. This report, along with that of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, are very important contributions to that process. I intend to issue my own report in March,” he said.

He hoped the September meeting would produce “bold and far-reaching decisions” and all could “work together to put in place the building blocks for a safer, more prosperous world.”

The report contains feasibility studies for improving the economies of many developing and transitional countries and calls for specific investments across a wide spectrum of problems, not for handouts or charity.

Low-income countries need investments of $70 to $80 per head per year from 2006, rising to $120 to $160 per year in 2015, it says, adding that many middle-income countries could fund those investments themselves, given adequate debt relief and appropriate, specialized technical assistance.

Starting from ideas put forward by Mr. Annan, Mr. Sachs said, the team of 265 experts and graduate students took three years to collect and analyze the data.

The report was not a high-concept document or a theoretical work, he told the briefing in New York. It proposed a planned escape from dependency, not new forms of dependency.

After the MDGs took the world halfway out of poverty, this generation had the ability to achieve something that no other generation could have – to eliminate poverty altogether by 2025, and make the world safe and prosperous for all, Mr. Sachs said.

In addition to achieving long-term economic improvements, the report gives “quick win” recommendations on such issues for poorer countries as replacing organic nitrogen in African soils and trebling maize yields, giving de-worming medicines to improve the brain function of school children and providing access to electricity, water, sanitation and the Internet for all social service institutions by using off-grid diesel generators, solar panels and other appropriate technologies.

Former President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, co-chair of the Project task force on trade, told the briefing that what had been missing in the international development debate were specific policies, strategies and resources.

Much more funding was needed for overseas development assistance (ODA), Mr. Zedillo said, because it was time to relaunch the aid target, set in 1969 and confirmed in 2002, of having the 22 rich countries put in 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) as untied aid.

That figure had been dropped from development thinking, as evidenced by its omission from the MDGs, he said.

More than money was needed, however, he said. It was the responsibility of the rich countries to remove the obstacles to the global flow of goods and services.

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, José Antonio Ocampo, recalling that the 10th anniversaries of the Social Summit and the Beijing Conference for Women would both fall within the year, and complimented the research team on keeping gender equity and human rights in view throughout the document, while suggesting ways to escape the bane of development economics – “the poverty trap.”

In the current discussion the research team had updated the debates of the past by basing their long-term strategies on the MDGs and devising a new form of country-led economic planning, said Mr. Ocampo.

“When we are talking about fulfilling the MDGs, we are also talking about people’s human and economic rights,” he said.

Development experts had become cautious in their thinking because so many programmes had failed, Mark Malloch Brown, the chairman of the UN Development Group, said last week at a briefing on the report. One of the biggest benefits of the report would be to help development specialists “get back our ambition.”

One ambitious recommendation came from the Science, Technology and Innovation Task Force, which called on poor countries to lift themselves out of poverty by promoting technological creativity.

The co-chairs – Dato’Ir Lee Yee-Cheong, president of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) and Harvard University’s Calestous Juma, a former Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – said international organizations and donors needed to strengthen developing country expertise in science and technology through higher education.

“Higher education is at the centre of the development process, but assistance to poor countries often focuses mainly on primary schools,” their section of the report says.

Countries also should take advantage of opportunities for their nationals to learn about technologies, along with institutional and management arrangements, at every stage of an infrastructure project, it says.

“This technological learning can promote the private sector and stimulate development,” the report says.

According to a news release by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on its “Global Education Digest 2004,” contrasting education in poor countries with that in countries that had become rich: “A child of school entrance age in Finland, New Zealand, or Norway can expect to receive a total of over 17 years of education; almost double that in Bangladesh or Myanmar, and four times as much as in Niger or Burkina Faso.”

Billionaires reach for the stars while world suffers

Billionaires reach for the stars while world suffers

By Jeffrey Sachs

Updated 1224 GMT (2024 HKT) August 15, 2018

Source: CNN

Jeffrey Sachs is a professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author; view more opinion articles on CNN.

(CNN)With all due respect to Jeff Bezos and other billionaires who plan to spend billions of dollars of their personal wealth on space travel, hundreds of millions of children who lack access to basic health care and schooling more urgently need help right here on Earth.

The world economy is pumping trillions of dollars into the accounts of a few thousand people. These riches should be directed first and foremost to end the millions of needless deaths caused by extreme poverty, and to educate the hundreds of millions of children who lack schooling. The billionaires would still have enough left over to indulge their longing for mega-yachts, personal space ships, private tropical islands, and other conspicuous consumption.

The digital age has created winner-take-all markets in information — including our personal data — and Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergei Brin, and others are giddily reaping the benefits. In the past dozen years, according to Forbes Magazine, the number of billionaires and their net worth have both roughly tripled, from 793 billionaires with $2.6 trillion in net worth in 2006 to around 2,200 billionaires with $9.1 trillion as of March this year.

The flood of wealth to the top vastly outpaces economic growth. Much of the wealth reflects the redistribution of income from low-skilled workers, whose jobs and earnings are being lost to robots and artificial intelligence, to the super-rich owners of these “smart” systems. National income is shifting away from lower-skilled labor to the owners of high tech, including key technologies whose development was originally taxpayer-funded, like the Internet itself and Google’s search engine.

The system is rigged for those at the top. The tech giants divert their mega-wealth offshore, usually with the connivance of the IRS, which turns a blind eye on outrageous schemes that reassign US-based intellectual property to overseas tax havens.

The companies harvest our personal data, for which they pay nothing, to earn their fortunes. They are given patents that create 20-year artificial monopolies on technologies that should be in the public domain.

The billionaires and the corporations they own use campaign donations and media power to cajole our “representatives” in Congress to represent them rather than us. The result is tax cuts and tax gimmicks for the billionaires, and massive deficits and debt left for us and our children to repay. Companies like Amazon entice cities to join the fiscal race to the bottom, as they compete to attract Amazon through offers of local tax breaks and publicly financed infrastructure.

The wealth at the top is rising so rapidly that even when Bill and Melinda Gates, the greatest philanthropists of our age, nobly give away several billion dollars each year to fight disease and hunger, their wealth soars anyway, with new capital gains vastly outpacing their giving. In 2010, Gates pledged to give away at least half his wealth and called on other rich individuals to do the same. At that time he was worth $53 billion. Today, his net worth is $94.8 billion.

Nearly 200 wealthy individuals have joined the Giving Pledge over the past eight years, fewer than 10% of the billionaires. Moreover, there is no reporting or accountability of their actual giving. All in all, most of the world’s richest people have not yet joined the battle to end poverty. Yet their wealth is so vast that these few individuals could dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Hundreds of millions of impoverished children live without access to basic health care or schooling. Around 5.6 million children under the age of five die each year because there is no clinic to safeguard their births, help them, if necessary, to take their first breath, provide life-saving antibiotics to fend off respiratory infections, or ensure timely access to a $1 dose of life-saving anti-malaria medicine in the event of an infective mosquito bite.

Hundreds of millions of children lack access to adequate public schools with trained teachers, electricity, books, and hygienic facilities. The result is that kids leave school after a few years without basic skills needed for the 21st century.

These debilitating conditions could be overcome for a tiny fraction of the vast wealth of the billionaires. A mere 1% of the billionaires’ net worth each year would amount to around $91 billion, a sum that could ensure access to health care and education for the poorest children across the globe. (UNESCO estimates a global financing gap for education of $39 billion per year; WHO professionals estimate a global financing gap for health of $20-$54 billion per year).

The billionaires should give this sum voluntarily, but when they don’t, governments should put on a 1% net worth levy to fund the basic health and education needs of the world’s poorest people.

When I led a commission 17 years ago that pointed out how modest levels of aid could make great strides against killer diseases like AIDS, TB, and malaria, I was told that the aid would be stolen, the poor would not adhere to the drug regimens, and so on. This is the blather of rich people.

In fact, when new institutions were established, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria and the US Government’s PEPFAR program to fight AIDS, the programs saved millions of lives. Even so, despite the overwhelming evidence of their success, these worthy life-saving organizations remain bereft of adequate funding.

The mega-rich expect the adulation of the masses and often get it. Yet the forbearance of society for the antics of the mega-rich will soon wear thin. Too many people are suffering, too many lower-skilled workers are losing their jobs and earnings, too much wealth is being frivolously squandered, and too much power over our lives is being asserted by big tech and other corporate giants.

Donald Trump channeled the rising unhappiness into his electoral victory, but his trade wars and tax cuts for the rich only widen the divide. Real answers depend on redirecting the mega-wealth towards those in urgent need.

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People as dynamic and capable as Jeff Bezos should aim their great wealth and energies toward the world’s urgent challenges: extreme poverty, needless disease, illiteracy, and environmental devastation. For those who don’t do so voluntarily, governments should put a levy on mega-wealth.

Once society’s urgent needs are faced and financed head on, there will be enough time and wealth to reach for the stars.

 

We join the World to mourn a great legend, a genius and a shining star from Ghana Africa. May His Soul Rest in perfect peace

Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, has died at age 80. He served as Secretary-General at a time when worries about the Cold War were replaced by threats of global terrorism, and his efforts to combat those threats and secure a more peaceful world brought him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, and was the first to rise from within the ranks of the United Nations staff.
He had also been a member, since 2007, of The Elders, a humanitarian group of a dozen leaders and activists of worldwide stature formed by Nelson Mandela. In 2013, Annan became its chairman.
The Kofi Annan Foundation confirmed his death with “immense sadness” in a statement posted on Twitter.
Annan passed away peacefully Saturday morning after a short illness, with his wife Nane and their three children by his side during his final days, the statement said.
The foundation paid tribute to Annan as a “global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer, more peaceful world.”

Kofi Annan Fast Facts

“During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations, he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.”
Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the United Nations in 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.”
Despite his many achievements, Annan’s record was not unblemished. He was head of the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations in 1994, when some 800,000 people were killed in the Rwanda genocide, and in 1995 when thousands of Muslim men and boys were massacred in Srebrenica.
Annan would later say that he should have done more to prevent what unfolded in Rwanda, and that events there and in Srebrenica had reshaped his global thinking.

Liberian politician Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, left, Kofi Annan and former Algerian UN politician Lakhdar Brahimi, right, attend an Elders event in South Africa on July 18.

SDGs: MPA supports UN Youth Ghana to host the biggest youth event in Ghana

Ghana SDG News-The Millennium Promise Alliance (MPA) is supporting the UN Youth Ghana to hold the biggest youth event Ghana has ever seen.

This time around, it will not be purely for entertainment purposes but rather to create awareness on the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Country Director for MPA; Chief Nat Ebo Nsarko tells Bernard Buachi of rawgist.com his outfit has been engaging various youth groups across the country including student unions, religious associations, kayayes, tribal associations etc. towards the success of this event.

Chief Nat. who is also Chief Advisor on Global Affairs on SDG for the UN Youth Ghana team explains that in order to be successful with the attainment of the SDGs, people need to understand them and internalize them on their own level. He said MPA as part of efforts towards creating awareness among the youth about the SDGs has institutionalized the Green Ghana Lecture Series and Inter-tertiary Debate Competition in partnership with Kuapa Kokoo.

He says MPA is targeting the youth because they are the engines that will drive Ghana’s success story as far as the SDGs are concerned.

“The future is for the youth and so we must involve them at every level of this journey”, he said.

The Programme scheduled for 5th-7th October, 2018 at the Accra International Conference Centre is under the theme; “Mobilizing and Uniting Ghanaian Youth in active Participation towards Achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development”.

What are SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015. These goals are also referred to as the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The goals are broad with each having a separate list of targets to achieve. Achieving all 169 targets would indicate an accomplishment of all 17 goals. The SDGs cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development or 2030 Agenda were developed to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015. Unlike the MDGs, the SDG framework does not distinguish between “developed” and “developing” nations. Instead, the goals apply to all countries.

What is MPA?

Millennium Promise Alliance (MPA) is an international NGO that mobilizes cutting-edge science and technology and uses a multi-sector and multi-scale approach for effective local development.

Millennium Promise seeks to accelerate sustainable development and eradicate poverty across rural sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

MPA collaborates with governments, partner organizations, and local communities across sub-Saharan Africa to tackle critical problems in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Millennium Promise specializes in six (6) main areas: 1) Sustainable Agriculture, Ecosystem Management, Climate Change, Economic Growth and Employment; 2) Health Systems and Nutrition; 3) Education Systems, including Formal and Non-Formal Education; 4) Gender, Institutions and Governance; 5) Energy and Infrastructure; and 6) Data & Information Systems including Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E).

Millennium Promise Alliance holds retreat towards SDGs planning

Ghana News-The Millennium Promise Alliance (MPA) has held a 3 day intensive retreat to plan towards the achievement of local Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the retreat, several important documents were prepared in group sessions and presentations made at plenary sessions.

The event which was held at the Hill Palace Hotel at Peduase saw serious brainstorming on issues related to Ghana’s Health, Agriculture and ICT sectors.

Country Director for MPA; Chief Ebo Nat Nsarko told ghanagong.com the retreat is held twice every year and is one of MPA’s productivity secrets.

He emphasized that it was essential to find ways of explaining the SDGs to all manner of persons in the country irrespective of the social standing in society and the retreat helps in collating ideas towards that.

He expressed gratitude to staff members and interns of MPA who work so hard in the background to push the country forward.

He says Ghana should expect nothing but the best from MPA.

What is MPA?

Millennium Promise Alliance (MPA) is an international NGO that mobilizes cutting-edge science and technology and uses a multi-sector and multi-scale approach for effective local development.

Millennium Promise seeks to accelerate sustainable development and eradicate poverty across rural sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

MPA collaborates with governments, partner organizations, and local communities across sub-Saharan Africa to tackle critical problems in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Millennium Promise specializes in six (6) main areas: 1) Sustainable Agriculture, Ecosystem Management, Climate Change, Economic Growth and Employment; 2) Health Systems and Nutrition; 3) Education Systems, including Formal and Non-Formal Education; 4) Gender, Institutions and Governance; 5) Energy and Infrastructure; and 6) Data & Information Systems including Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E).