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General News of Friday, 29 July 2016


God ordained Mahama as President - Navrongo chiefs

The traditional chiefs of Navrongo at the durbar The traditional chiefs of Navrongo at the durbar

The chiefs and elders of the Navrongo Traditional Area in the Upper East region have asserted that the rise of President John Dramani Mahama to the highest office of Ghana was “an act of God”.

The sudden death in office of Professor John Evans Atta Mills, the 4th year anniversary of whose departure was marked early this week with a renewal of wreaths at his tomb and a recall of his legacies at a public symposium, paved way on a grieving night of Tuesday July 24 in 2012 for Mahama to become the fourth President of the Fourth Republic.

For the Navrongo Traditional Area, there is no better word to describe Mahama’s “unexpected” upswing to the presidency than what they say is a “gift” from God. The chiefs emphasised this at a durbar graced by the First Lady, Lordina Mahama, when she toured the region Wednesday.

Mrs Mahama was in the region to donate medical supplies and equipment to the Navrongo War Memorial Hospital in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality and the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga, the regional capital.

The Office of the President of the Navrongo Traditional Area also announced at the durbar that it had bestowed royal names on the First Couple in celebration of their current leadership status.

“Madam First Lady, in 2012, when the President paid a visit to this palace, the traditional council gave him a royal name of ‘Wepia’, meaning ‘God’s gift’. Today, on behalf of the council, I bestow on you the royal mother’s name ‘Awewonno’, literally meaning ‘My God’s things.’

“And may the good Lord and the gods of Navrongo crown the indefatigable efforts of the President and his team with an extended period of leadership to be able to change lives and transform Ghana,” President of the Navrongo Traditional Council, Wekem Arthur Balinia Addah, said in a statement read on his behalf by his secretary, Balinia Adobi Gabriel Adda.

First Lady groans over child marriage

The First Lady spent about four hours in the region on a tour that saw not only separate presentations of medical equipment at Navrongo and Bolgatanga but also a call to end early child marriage and to promote peaceful co-existence as Ghana prepares for the 2016 polls.

“I plead with you, my dear elders, to advise our youth not to get themselves involved in violent acts as we approach this year’s elections. I’m saying this because I am a mother and when there is a conflict, women and children always suffer the most,” Mrs Mahama told traditional authorities at Navrongo where the Upper East Regional Minister, Albert Abongo, as well as the Member of Parliament for Navrongo Central and Minister of State at the Presidency, Mark Woyongo, joined a crowd to witness the presentation of the tools.

Addressing another crowd in Bolgatanga minutes later, the First Lady underscored the need to stop child marriage in the region, saying “these girls deserve a better future” than the sexually transmitted infections and the premature pregnancies associated with child marriage among other risks.

“Child Marriage is an obnoxious tradition that has no place in our enlightening 21st century world and cannot be mitigated by any cultural justification. Together we must work to change outmoded customs to promote empowerment, equality and opportunity. These girls deserve a better future. We can end child marriage in our time.

“Child marriage is a violation of human rights and is equivalent to enslavement, sexual exploitation and violence against its victims. Efforts to bring about cultural and traditional reforms against the practice of child marriages must be the concern of all of us including you my dear chiefs, elders and my queen mothers,” she stressed as human rights icon, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, wearing a dimpled smile, nodded firmly in approval from a canopied dais.

The donation of the medical items to the two hospitals is part of support offered by the Lordina Foundation to deprived health facilities in less privileged communities throughout the country.

The items are free deliveries sourced by the foundation from its partners, MedShare, a leading non-profit organisation that recovers surplus medical supplies and equipment from hospitals in the United States of America and redistributes them to needy hospitals in developing countries.

The items include beds, mattresses, gauze, catheters, tubings, ECG monitors, bouffant caps, face masks, examination gloves, mosquito nets, POPs, bandages and waste disposables among others.

Several residents also benefited from free HIV and syphilis screening and counselling services provided by the Lordina Foundation during the Wednesday’s tour of the region.

The Upper East Regional Director of Health, Dr. Kofi Issah, expressed gratitude to Mrs. Mahama for the donations, saying “it comes to boost the already problematic supply situation for [hospitals] and let me admonish them that they should be put to good use … [to give] encouragement to the Lordina Foundation and all other organisations to add more.”

He also disclosed that 13 among some 2,860 women were found positive during a recent HIV test in the region.

“In 2014, we tested 39 infants. None was HIV positive. 2015, they were 69. And for half-year 2016, we have tested 47, and one is positive. The child is on treatment.

For half-year 2016, 2,860 women in this municipality have been tested for HIV, and counselling. Unfortunately, 13 have been positive. But on a happier note, all the 13 are on treatment,” the Regional Director revealed in Bolgatanga.