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Ghana: Press zooms in on new HIV infections, achievements of food programme

The report of 20,000 new HIV infections every year in Ghana by the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service and the achievements of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme are some of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Wednesday.The Graphic reports that the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has said in spite of the significant decline in HIV prevalence, new infections of approximately 20,000 continue to occur in the country each year.

He said with a current national adult prevalence of 1.7 percent, Ghana had witnessed a decline in HIV prevalence from 3.6 percent in 2004 to 2.0 percent in 2019, indicating that although there had been some progress, the disease was still formidable in the country.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said this at the launch of World AIDS Day in Accra yesterday.

The Graphic reports that the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has said in spite of the significant decline in HIV prevalence, new infections of approximately 20,000 continue to occur in the country each year.
He said with a current national adult prevalence of 1.7 percent, Ghana had witnessed a decline in HIV prevalence from 3.6 percent in 2004 to 2.0 percent in 2019, indicating that although there had been some progress, the disease was still formidable in the country.
Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said this at the launch of World AIDS Day in Accra yesterday.
The event, slated for December 1 — when it is held annually — is on the global theme: “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”, with an adopted sub-theme: “Stay safe, Let’s end AIDS by 2030”.
Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said “an estimated 342,307 of the approximately 38 million people estimated to be living with HIV worldwide are in Ghana, and 153,901 of the 25.4 million had access to treatment as of the end of 2019”.
He said a review of the data so far showed that the GHS’s overall uptake, including HIV services, was below expected targets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the impact of the pandemic was, however, significantly mitigated by the timely provision of clear guidelines and commodities for service delivery, continuous monitoring and engagement with stakeholders to address challenges during the second quarter of the year.

The newspaper says that the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has touted the achievements of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, describing it as a vehicle towards making Ghana the food basket for West Africa.

He said, for instance, that from 1.72 million tonnes of maize produced in 2016, the figure currently stood at 3.43 million, while paddy rice production jumped from 688,000 tonnes in 2016 to 1.36 million this year.

Speaking on the theme: “Ghana becoming breadbasket of West Africa” when he took his turn at the Nation Building Updates series in Accra yesterday, Dr Akoto explained that rising food crop production levels had resulted in huge surpluses which were being exported to neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Niger and Mali.

He said 505,000 tonnes of various food items had been exported to neighbouring countries between 2017 and 2020.

He said the current food production situation had given the indication that Ghana was on the pathway to becoming the breadbasket for West Africa.

The Graphic also reports that the Electoral Commission (EC) has assured all stakeholders in Ghana’s electoral process that each ballot paper printed for the December 7, 2020 elections will be accounted for.

“Not one ballot paper will be included in a package that has not been accounted for. This will not happen. Our processes are open, transparent and robust and will remain so,” it said.

A statement signed by the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs. Jean Mensa, and issued in Accra yesterday, therefore, urged the public to disregard the attempts by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to cause fear and panic and heighten tension in the lead up to the December elections.

It said the EC found it difficult to understand why the NDC would “seek to cause fear and apprehension around a transparent and open process such as the printing of ballots. This is unacceptable”.

Last Sunday, the NDC, at an emergency press conference, levelled a number of accusations against the EC.

The Times says that the Business Development Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has revealed that processes are underway to introduce a Startup Bill that will create a conducive environment for small businesses in the country.

Interacting with the media after the third Ghana Business Awards Night on Friday, he noted that the Bill when passed into law, will exempt startup businesses from paying taxes for up to eight years.

According to him, this will not only boost the growth of small businesses, it will make entrepreneurship more attractive to the youth, thereby, broadening the nation’s economy.

“We have formed a committee working on the Startup Bill and within two months, it will be ready for the cabinet’s consideration and Parliamentary approval.

“When this bill is passed it means you can start a business, and for eight to 10 years you will not pay taxes. This is to encourage young people to put back the profit and expand the business,” he explained.


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Published on 10.02.2021

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