Addis Ababa, 6th December 2013 -The African Union Commission has the honour to inform Africans worldwide and friends of Africa that following the passing on of former President Nelson Mandela of the Republic of South Africa on Thursday 5th December 2013, a memorial service will be held at 17:00 hours on Sunday 8th December 2013, in the plenary hall at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A book of condolence has been opened at the AU Headquarters for the AU Commission staff to pay homage to this Great Son of Africa. Flags at the AU Headquarters and regional offices will also be flying at half-mast for three days as the AU celebrates this Great African Hero. The Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, H.E Erastus Mwencha, addressed the Press on 6th December 2013 at 11:00 hours and delivered a Statement on behalf of the Chairperson, H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who is currently attending the Elysée Summit in France. A detailed program of the memorial service will be distributed subsequently. For more information visit the AU website: www.au.int JOURNALISTS ARE INVITED TO ATTEND AND COVER THE EVENT
The world is moving towards defining a new development agenda beyond the Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015. I have an idea that can change the philosophy on how we can end AIDS in the next 15 years. My strategy is simple.. 'Invigorating Young People's Leadership'
Young people aged 15 to 24 years are our first window of opportunity, if we build their capacity and give them sufficient space then they will have the strength to push for change in the existing legal, cultural and religious environment.
Me: “Hello Bra Odartey”
Bra Odartey: “Hello Ato, t3 Oy)) t33n?” (Hello Ato, how are you)
Me: “Ofaine e y3 jogbaan” (I am doing fine)
Friend: “Did you just do that”
Me: “Do what” *wondering *
Friend: “Greet a mad man”
Me: *smile* “He isn’t mad, he only has a mental health problem, that’s all, and if we keep treating and tagging him a ‘mad man’ we will end up having him as one”.
Few days on I spotted an “Information about mental health” booklet by “The Kintampo Project” at the UNICEF Ghana Country Office, it brought back fond memories, when Mind Freedom Ghana engaged media professionals in a two day training workshop to ensure we were well built to capacity in spreading the word. Indeed many people find mental health puzzling and misunderstand the issue, it’s not just a Ghana thing, all across the globe- people who have little or no knowledge on the matter are likely to stigmatize and treat people with mental disorders badly.
According to information gathered, good mental health is when one can think clearly, solve problems, enjoy happy relationships and feel spiritually at ease. A mental illness or ‘mental disorder’ or ‘psychological disorder’ is when one behaves abnormally and one or others are upset by the behavior. When one is mentally ill, he/she changes and it’s often strange and hard to understand. Kindly note that schizophrenia, severe depression, manic depression, dementia, alcoholism, serious drug abuse, bad anxiety all qualify for mental illness- yes they do!
Mental illness, which is very common is mostly caused by chemical imbalances in the brain which can be due to: using illegal drugs such as cannabis, amphetamine, cocaine, heroin etc. also drinking much alcohol, serious head injuries can cause mental illness, serious head injuries and any big stress. So there is no known exact cause and nature of people’s mental illness is often unclear. I know few people who have recovered from a mental disorder- I can relate, it can be upsetting, common to be ashamed, angry, and at times guilty and frightened. Talking about the problem and taking needed steps can help ameliorate the situation and stay better.
If you are thinking metal health is infectious, you got that wrong- it’s no cough or flu. Again, everyone can be affected- children, men, youth, and women. But we need to have access to good mental health services, we might need them one day! Truth is, most people with mental illness can be helped, and my friend and mental health professional Mr. Odonkor (Kobby Blay) demonstrated it.
How can you keep yourself mentally healthy?
- Eat healthy diet and don’t drink too much alcohol: it can protect you from feeling anxious and depressed.
- Do you smoke weed? It causes schizophrenia.
- Nothing does the trick like a good night sleep, it helps you feel better, improves memory and gets mind and body in shape and strong next day.
- Get a good laugh: it’s good for your mind and soul.
- Crying, lols- yes, you might feel terrible at the time but one feels better afterwards.
- Situation gets worse if you leave them, speak to someone worth trusting, family, friend or a professional.
- Make time for yourself and things you want to do and enjoy doing.
- Keep your relationships healthy: it makes you feel better so look after them.
- Exercise: it’s good for the heart and blood pressure.
If you want to support other people with mental illness, you can. How?
- Remember that mental illness is treatable and nobody’s fault.
- Let’s not shout at, criticize, threaten or stigmatize people with mental illness- it only worsens their plight or make them violent. Mental illness can’t be caught by touching someone who is mentally ill or sharing their food.
- We must keep our friends, be there to listen and talk to friends who are down and need us- they might help us when we need them too.
- Support the newly set Mental Health Board to implement the Mental Health Law.
Mental health is an integral part of health- I agree, there is no health without mental health. Let’s ensure mental health workers are supported and encouraged to continue their good work. Thank you”.
The Association of Church-based NGOs in Northern Ghana (ACDEP) has launched an SMS Quiz on sexual reproductive health. The aim of the SMS Quiz is to inform adolescents in a fun and interactive way about their sexuality. That is important, since 75% of the adolescents – questioned during one of ACDEP’s research on SRH (Sexual knowledge, attitude and behavior among adolescents in Northern Ghana, June 2013) – did not know that they can get pregnant when having sexual intercourse without using any contraceptive method. Less than half of the adolescents knew that you cannot tell someone’s HIV status just by looking at them. By enhancing their knowledge they are able to make their own decisions. Participants who answer all questions will receive a ticket for the World Aids Day Event and can also win prizes like mobile phones, t-shirts and airtime.
The SMS Quiz
Participants of the free SMS Quiz need to text a keyword “WAD2013” to 7000 (MTN) or 1904 (Airtel, Expresso). Then they will receive 11 questions about sexual and reproductive health and 3 personal questions during one week. “Participants will receive two questions a day. If they answer all questions, they will receive a ticket for the World Aids Day event at the 30th of November in the Jubilee Park. There will be performances by famous artists, drama and dance”, explains Prince Abugri programme manager at ACDEPs health unit. “Since this is a sensitive topic, I would like to emphasize that the answers are confidential and will not be shared.” In order to create more awareness for the quiz, ACDEP has partnered with Curious Minds Ghana and radio stations Kesmi FM, Fiila FM, Justice FM and Northstar FM. ACDEP has also launched the website www.wad2013.acdep.org.
A report I chanced on capturing Ghana’s progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals shows a decline in poverty. The ‘2010 Ghana MDG’s Report’ revealed Ghana’s growth has been robust despite the economic crises that plagued the globe- slowing down economic growth.
Experts believe Ghana’s growth which averages at least 6.5 per cent per annum between 2007 and 2010 is strong enough to sustain the progress towards national poverty reduction. Extreme poverty incidence in rural Ghana recorded about 50% reduction in 2005/06, while reduction in urban areas was more than 50%, thereby achieving the target ahead of the 2015 deadline. However, disparity still exists- no significant improvements have been observed in the three northern regions as poverty incidence remains high and may not be able to achieve the target before 2015.
According to the report the progress in Ghana has been driven by high GDP growth rate supported by increased government development expenditure, debt relief and increased foreign investment. Special social intervention programmes aimed at increasing public expenditure on initiatives targeting poor and vulnerable people. In the three northern savannah regions the following interventions have been key factors contributing to our progress; Adoption of positive and productive security measures to address the long standing civil conflicts in Bawku and others zones; Increased resource commitment to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to address the north-south disparity in poverty incidence and depth; the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) initiative, Ghana School Feeding Programme and Capitation Grant in the three northern savannah regions and other parts of the country with high depth of poverty; Improved infrastructure development, particularly road networks in areas that are not well accessible.
The report also captured five key challenges that stand in Ghana’s way despite the strides in our quest to attain Millennium Development Goal 1: Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; Macroeconomic bottlenecks, Infrastructural constraints, Low productivity especially in agriculture, Limited support for food crop farmers and weak investment climate.
The Findings of the report should guide government to stay on course, committed and take action on challenges discovered by as we work towards a world we want by achieving the MDGS!
There are over 600 million girls in the world today, more than 500 million of them in developing countries. They are shaping humanity’s present and future. The opportunities and choices girls have during adolescence will enable them to begin adulthood as empowered, active citizens.
With the right skills and opportunities, they can invest in themselves, in their families and their communities. However, pregnancy jeopardizes the rights, health, education and potential of far too many adolescent girls, robbing them of a better future.
About 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth each year, and complications from pregnancy and child birth are the leading cause of death among girls in this age group, especially in developing countries.
Adolescent pregnancy is not just a health issue, it is a development issue. It is deeply rooted in poverty, gender inequality, violence, child and forced marriage, power imbalances between adolescent girls and their male partners, lack of education, and the failure of systems and institutions to protect their rights. To bring these issues to global attention, this year’s World Population Day is focusing on adolescent pregnancy.
Breaking the cycle of adolescent pregnancy requires commitment from nations, communities and individuals in both developed and developing countries to invest in adolescent girls. Governments should enact and enforce national laws that raise the age of marriage to 18 and should promote community-based efforts that support girls’ rights and prevent child marriage and its consequences.
Adolescents and youth must be provided with age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education to develop the knowledge and skills they need to protect their health throughout their lives. However, education and information are not enough. Good quality reproductive health services must also be readily available in order for adolescents to make informed choices and be healthy.
At the local level, communities should provide the infrastructure to deliver reproductive health care in a youth-friendly and sensitive way.
Underlying all these efforts is the understanding that the dignity and human rights of adolescent girls must be respected, protected and fulfilled. Today, we call on governments, the international community and all stakeholders involved to take measures that enable adolescent girls to make responsible life choices and to provide the necessary support for them in cases when their rights are threatened. Every young girl, regardless of where she lives, or her economic circumstances, has the right to fulfill her human potential. Today, too many girls are denied that right. We can change that, and we must.
See more at Source: http://goo.gl/nS3WZ