The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) has started a nation wide training for teachers in Basic First Aid Skill and Emergency Response.
The month-long training would equip basic school teachers and School Health Committees with skills to voluntarily respond to emergencies and disasters in their schools.
The GRCS is carrying out the training, expected to cover the entire Region, in collaboration with the School Health Education Programme (SHEP).
Mr Paul Wooma, the Regional Manager of the GRCS, at one of such trainings at Zuarungu in the Bolgatanga East District for teachers from Adakura, Afhegra and Zuarungu Junior High and Primary schools, gave the importance of the emergency response.
He said the application of the skills could save lives in emergencies in the school environment and at home and would serve as added knowledge sharing avenue for other teachers.
He said the humanitarian services provided were voluntary and required commitment of members adding that this could help bridge the skills gap in administering minor first aid for cases of bleeding, bites, stings, wounds, shock, fractures, fainting, unconsciousness and convulsions.
Mr. Wooma urged school heads to encourage their teachers to fully participate in the exercise and said certificates of participation and First Aid Handbooks would be given to participants.
Mr. Francis Akologo and Mr. Joseph Aserekama, facilitators, took participants through first aid delivery and how to perform Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
The participants, with excitement, took turns to rehearse the CPR and other skills learnt whilst Ms Mariam Anaba, a Teacher, thanked the Red Cross and partners for the training.
Central Regional Red Cross Manager John Ekow Aidoo has told www.ghanabanews.com that the Ghana Red Cross Society in collaboration with World Educate and UK Aid is training over five hundred school dropout girls selected in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abreem (KEEA) Municipality to acquire literacy and numeracy under its youth development program. The program is to use non-formal education module to train selected beneficiaries. In addition to the program, beneficiaries will have the opportunity to be trained in any employable vocational skills of their choice. This is to make them beneficial to themselves and their respective societies.
Over five hundred school dropout girls have been selected by Central Region Red Cross Society to undergo non-formal education to acquire literacy, numeracy and vocational skills of their choice. Most of the girls told www.ghanabanews.com reasons that led them to drop out of school. Most of them drop out of school as a result of hunger and financial constraints. They have vowed to that; they will remain resolute to complete the program successfully so that they can acquire employable skills to better their lives. According to them, life has not been easy being a young lady without any employable skills.
An opinion leader Thomas Baidoo who represented the chief of Breman Essiam urged beneficiaries to try as much as possible to zip up their panties to enable them to go through the training program successfully. He said even if it has to take them to speak to their husbands and fiancées to give up sex thereby not impregnating them which could eventually affect their training program to do so. He shared his life experience by regretting not accepting his classmate decision to teach him how to sow dresses. According to him, if he had learnt it, now that he is on retirement, he would have been doing sowing to earn additional income to support his life. Now that he is at home after retirement, he goes to the farm to do hard work to earn additional income to support himself.
Flood victims in the Upper East Region are to benefit from one hundred 2-bedroom Housing units by the Ghana Red Cross with support from the Swiss Red Cross.
This is the Ghana Red Cross Society’s contribution to alleviating the burden of the victims.
The new structures will add up to the 100 2-bedroom Housing units which have already been constructed by the Society sited at the Kologu-Zuo, Kologuo—Torand-Doba communities in the region.
This was made known when the Ghana Red Cross Society in collaboration with the International Federation of the Red Cross Society distributed non-food items to vulnerable flood victims in 32 communities in the Upper East Region.
Torrential rains between October 6 and October 12, this year (2019) in the Upper East Region resulted in flooding, destruction of property, displacement and deaths.
After the floods, the Ghana Red Cross and NADMO undertook a rapid needs assessment of the most affected communities to provide appropriate relief for the victims.
The Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Red Cross Society, Paul Wooma, spoke about the approach they adopt in dealing with disaster situations.
On behalf of the beneficiaries, a former Assembly-member for Tanzui-Zorbisi-Sokabisi in the Bolgatanga Municipality, Sampson Atinga, thanked the Ghana Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross for the gesture.
The Swiss Red Cross is also supporting 600 families of the affected under the Water Sanitation and Hygiene WASH, programme.
The Ghana Red Cross Society [GCRS] has presented assorted relief items to some 42 victims across four communities in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region. The communities included Tindonmologo, Sorkabisi, Tanzui and Zorbisi. These recipients were mostly persons that suffered in the devastating floods in the just-ended 2019 rainy season.
Speaking at a brief ceremony held this Tuesday in Tanzui, Secretary-General of the GRCS, Mr. Samuel Kofi Addo revealed that, funding for the procurement of the relief items came from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund [DREF] at the International Federation in Geneva valued at about 150 thousand Swiss Francs. He mentioned kitchen sets, blankets, hygiene kits, water jerricans and mats among others as the package of items given out per beneficiary.
The Secretary-General apologised to the affected families for the late arrival of the relief items saying per the emergency response protocols of the Red Cross, help should have reached the victims latest within 48 or 72 hours. He explained that resources and some other requisite materials were not readily available for distribution and therefore, called on government, corporate Ghana and other vital stakeholders to immediately help in establishing a Disaster Fund and to adequately resource it to run an effective disaster emergency stocks as a quick and a ready first-response to the needs of victims in times of disasters.
Mr Samuel Addo also noted that, several hundreds of houses were destroyed in the 2019 floods across the Upper East region but that the Red Cross had been able to assist in rebuilding only 100 while it anticipates additional support from donors to scale up the number. He said the Red Cross had signed a pact with the Department of Rural Housing which lends expertise and technical assistance for the reconstruction of houses assuring that from past experiences, the reconstructed houses had stood the test of time.
According to him, the Red Cross does not rush into disaster zones immediately the unfortunate happens. He explained that, his outfit first triggers its standard operating procedures such as mobilising volunteers, training them and dispatching them to the field for data collection on the affected especially, the vulnerable and the severely affected. Based on this he added, is what then gives the Red Cross an informed background to the particular disaster type, the list of victims and damage caused and subsequently, to move to solicit appropriate support.
Giving details about the Upper East situation, Mr Addo revealed that a total of 600 families averaging five to six persons per family, were identified by an assessment team in 32 communities across nine districts. He disclosed that the type of support his outfit was giving to the victims was in three phases: the first being the relief items, the second being a house-to-house hygiene and health education by volunteers whilst the last, will be the reconstruction stage where victims will be aided to rebuild their collapsed houses with funding to be provided by the Swiss Red Cross.
Upper East Regional Manager of the Red Cross, Mr Paul Woomah in his remarks at the Tanzui distribution of the relief items disclosed that, the team was scheduled for a similar engagement with victims in the Yorogor community and its environs. He emphasised that the principle of the Red Cross in distributing relief to beneficiaries was strictly neutral and devoid of political, religious and tribal attachments. He remarked that, what the Red Cross does was “to see the affected as people who were suffering and who needed help to mitigate their suffering”.
Mr Woomah stressed that the Red Cross was always “methodical and procedural in its approach to issues particularly, disasters” and that, its volunteers were diligently trained and equipped to collect data on the floods and to identify persons who were genuinely affected. He said it was thus based on those records that the relief items were eventually sourced and brought in.
He mentioned the Binduri, Bongo, Kassesna-Nankana Municipal, Kassesna-Nankana West, Bolgatanga Municipal, Garu, the Builsa North and South districts as well as the Nabdam district as those that were hit by the 2019 floods across the Upper East region. He also acknowledged that, it was impossible to reach out to all the affected and to meet their needs satisfactorily and thus appealed to the donor community and corporate entities to come on board with additional assistance.
Municipal Chief Executive for Bolgatanga, Hon. Joseph Atura Amiyuure commended the Red Cross and its partners as well as the National Disaster Management Organisation for effectively teaming together to mobilise support for the flood victims saying, it had come at a good time to augment government’s efforts.
The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) has organised a sensitisation workshop on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for allied institutions in Cape Coast engaged in offering security and humanitarian services.
The IHL is a set of rules, which seek humanitarian reasons to limit the effects of armed conflict, protect persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare.
It was attended by personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Prison service, Ghana Ambulance Service and the media.
Highlighting the demands of the law, Mr Louis Ampong Okyere, the National Communications Manager of GRCS, encouraged participants to thoroughly see to its implementation to protect the rights of all citizens.
Mr Samuel Kofi Addo, the Secretary General, said the Red Cross, the largest volunteer-based humanitarian service organisation in the country, was operating in 216 districts and 10 regions.
Members are dedicated to supporting the vulnerable and the needy in communities and train volunteers in first aid, disaster management, and disaster risk reduction with reliable support services in times of emergencies and rescue missions.
The GRCS is also providing shelter, water, school infrastructure and effectively building the capacity of traditional birth attendants on safe motherhood with well-equipped tricycle services for hard to reach communities.
Mr John Ekow Aidoo, the Regional Manager of the GCRS, stressed the need for the public to respect the emblem of the RED CROSS and give it the needed recognition as its abuse or misuse could have legal implications.
“The Red Cross has become a generic sign of medical aid and it is a universal logo for health and help. It serves as a protective use and an identification for staffers and also as an indicative sign.”
Mr Kwame Gyimah Akwafo, President of Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS), has said his outfit with support from Swiss Red Cross would be constructing one hundred 2-bedroom housing units for affected flood victims in some parts of the Upper East Region.
This, he said, would hopefully alleviate their burden.
Mr Akwafo said the new structures would add up to the previous one hundred 2-bedroom housing units constructed at the Kologu-Zuo, Kologuo-Torand Doba in the Region.
He said the heavy rain that fell between 6th and 12th October this year damaged many houses and rendered many homeless in the region.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Mr Akwafo said a joint assessment by the GRCS and the National Disaster Management (NADMO) said 19 deaths were recorded and a total of 26,083 people were affected and out of which 10, 890 were children.
He said the report calls for the urgent delivery of items such as food, water, mattress, blankets, and beds which were provided by the GRCS with the assistance of Swiss Red Cross to the affected victims.
Mr Akwafo said the GRCS has over 65,200 volunteers, 50 staff and 10 regional offices across the country working effectively to provide all the necessary support to the flood victims to enhance their living condition.
“With regards to the floods in the Upper East Region, GRCS has engaged 100 volunteers who are conducting health and hygiene promotion effort and assist with data collection for assessment. However, due to lack of adequate materials, it has not been able to provide an additional support to the other affected communities” he said.
Mr Akwafo said the International Federation of Red Cross Crescent Societies has also made contributions to support the affected flood victims across the country.
He called on the public and all corporate institutions to support the effort with relief items and funds to enable the Red Cross to reach out to all affected families.
“The overall objectives of the operation is to provide rapid life-saving support to 600 households completely displaced and 4333 and partially affected by floods focusing on shelter, wash and health interventions through social mobilization and the distribution of food items,” he said.
One hundred and forty-three thousand, four hundred and seventeen people have been reached with Polio messages in the second phase of the Polio Emergency Response in the Northern, Upper East and Greater Accra Regions.
Among this, a total of Fifty- six thousand, Seven Hundred and eleven children between the age of 0 to 59 months were identified to be eligible for the vaccination.
The active Social Mobilization Campaign undertaken from the 11th to 14th September 2019, came after the Ministry of Health pronounced an outbreak of the Poliovirus in Ghana.
Before the discovery of the virus in the Capital on 8th July 2019, Type 2 circulating Polio Virus was confirmed from an environmental sample obtained on 11th June 2019 from a drain in Koblimahgu in the Northern Region.
Data from the Ministry of Health revealed that on 17th August 2019, a polio case in a two-years eight-months-old girl in Chereponi, Northern Region was recorded, triggering a national emergency response including advocacy, communication and social mobilization on vaccination and environmental hygiene.
The Red Cross Society of Ghana as part of its key mandates trained and deployed 336 volunteers in all three regions comprising 186 volunteers in Greater Accra, 80 volunteers in Northern and 70 volunteers in Upper East region, to embark on a social mobilization campaign to create awareness on the distribution of the Polio vaccines.
Activities that were earmarked by the National Society for the campaign was door to door demand generation, community durbars, school sensitization and sensitization in Mosques.
The Red Cross Society of Ghana has held an orientation workshop for its newly elected Board Members and Management Staff to apprise them of their roles and responsibilities for their two-year term.
The two-day orientation came off, Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th September 2019 at Koforidua, in the Eastern Region.
The programme was facilitated by the Head of Policy, Strategy and Knowledge for IFRC, Mr. Samuel Asamoah and the Regional Movement Cooperation Adviser for ICRC, Ms. Wangari Kiluva.
In his presentation, Mr. Samuel Asamoah dilated on the topic National Society Developmentframework-2013 and called members to work to achieve and maintain an organization that will consistently deliver through its volunteers and staff.
He entreated the national society to urgently focus on diversifying and to look for a sustainable domestic support and to provide service to vulnerable people as the key driver to promoting effective national Society image.
Mr. Asamoah said for the national society to become effective, it should have a strong leadership, of which management is an integral part, with the primary responsibility to grow the national society.
To ensure high-level performance and efficient operating and prudent financial management. Mr. Asamoah advised that the Board should be availed of all activities, regular and annual reporting to fully strengthen the society.
He said the optimal relationship between Board and Management should be strong and mutually reinforcing. A well-functioning Board needs a strong Management team and a strong Management team, a strong Board and the senior manager, the Chief Executive officer, he asserted.
The Board and Secretary General should recognize that optimal relationship is a partnership and therefore clearly defined roles, responsibilities and lines of authority and the Board members formulating the mission and policies for management to achieve the goals of the society.
Mr. Asamoah asked the national society to develop a risk management framework to help the society to envisage all forms of risk within its activities and take the necessary steps to combat them. The Board should again institute a code of conduct to ensure integrity at work, he advised.
Ms. Kiluva said it was important as a National Society, to inculcate the principles of the Red Cross Movement into the everyday activities of both members and the society.
The President of the Ghana Red Cross Society, Mr Kwame Gyima-Akwafo, has called for the review of Act 10 of 1958, the act that established the Society in the country.
He was speaking to the media at a two-day governance orientation workshop organised by the Ghana Red Cross Society for its newly elected executives in Koforidua.
The workshop was also intended to build the capacity of the participants on governance and expose them to certain targets and strategic directions of the Society.
Mr Akwafo said the workshop will also afford the Red Cross the opportunity to do a self-examination and appraisal to position themselves to be able to better serve the nation.
He said the Society currently lacks needed resources and called for a meaningful framework to enable the society to mobilize resources to serve communities better.
Mr Akwarfo said the Society is currently not getting much governmental support but they are engaging with some public institutions including the Ministry of Health and have had some positive response.
He said the Ghana Red Cross Society will forever insist that government open doors so that they will be able to get more resources.
Mr Akwarfo said the Society has survived based on the benevolent support from external sources such as the International Federation of the Red Cross, the International Community of the Red Cross and the Red Cross community Worldwide.
The General Assembly of the Ghana Red Cross Society has elected Lawyer Kwame Gyimah-Akwafo as the New President for the National Society for the next two years, he took over from Nana Dr Michael Agyekum Addo who served for six years in three terms.
Mr Gyimah-Akwafo has over 33 years’ progressive working experience in the public and private sector. He holds an LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution (University of Ghana, Legon), LLB and BL from the Ghana School of Law.
He further holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the Institute of Housing & Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam, Netherlands as well as other professional certificates from the Royal Institute of Public Administration, UK; Crown Agents, UK; Institute of Capacity Development, Pretoria, South Africa; London Corporate Training, and the International Law Institute, Washington DC.
He is a member of the Ghana Bar Association and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Nigeria Branch) and has wide experience in youth and voluntary service having once served as Chairman of the Coalition of Youth NGOs in Ghana (comprising The Ghana Red Cross Society, Ghana Girl Guides, Ghana Scout Association, Head of State Award Scheme, YWCA and YMCA); as well as a former National President of Ghana YMCA.
Until his election as President of Ghana Red Cross Society, he held the positions of Honorary Legal Adviser of the Society and a Member of the African Legal Advisers Forum.
He is also a trained estate and valuation surveyor as well as a goal-driven skilled project management person with in-depth experience in public and private sector management, organisational systems and strategic management.
Currently, Lawyer and Head of General Services of the Forestry Commission, Ghana