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Minister of health in Ghana George Sipa-Adjah Yankey

Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey minister of health in Ghana has resigned in the wake of the Mabey and Johnson bribery scandal. He said he is innocent of the allegations, but had to resign to end attacks on President John Evans Atta Mills and his government and to allow them room to concentrate on their work.

George Sipa-Adjah Yankey minister of health in Ghana

Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, who has resigned in the wake of the Mabey and Johnson bribery scandal, said on Saturday that he was innocent of the allegations, but had to resign to end attacks on President John Evans Atta Mills and his government and allow them room to concentrate on their work. He said in Accra that for some time now, there had been attacks on the president and the government and that he did not want them to be distracted from their work. Dr Yankey said he also resigned to clear his name, declaring: "I have never taken a bribe". He said he had begun a number of initiatives to improve on the health of the people, such as the fight against Malaria, and expressed the hope that these would be continued.

The resigned Minister of Health, said his decision to resign from his position is mainly to fight the Mabey and Johnson case. People want to use this case and use me to launch an attack against Professor Mills and I want to deny them that opportunity, he stated. A Deputy Information Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa speaking on Joy FM's news analysis programme, Newsfile, said Dr Yankey and another minister, Seidu Amadu had been asked by the president to resign. He said the president's action was informed by his desire to live up to his promise of fighting corruption vigorously. Dr. Yankey said a Ministerial position means nothing to him and for that matter his resignation will not prevent him from contributing his dues to the nation.

Being a Minister means nothing to me, I live in my own house and I have not even taken salary. It's service to my nation and I can render this service in any capacity and not only in a Ministerial capacity, he said. An official statement in Accra on Saturday signed by Mr. John Henry Newman,Chief of Staff, said, Dr. Yankey and Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Minister of State at the Presidency, had resigned from the government and President Mills had accepted their resignation. It said this followed lengthy closed door discussions held over the last two days with Vice President John Dramani Mahama, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Betty Mould-Iddrisu and other close aides of the president. It said President Mills had asked the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to conduct investigations into those allegations of bribery against Ghanaian public officials in the said case."The President expressed regret at the resignations and was hopeful that the decision to ask CHRAJ to investigate the case would offer a platform for the public officials named in the case to clear their names and hard won reputations."

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, returned from London last Wednesday after acquiring the relevant documents, including transcripts of witnesses, on the trial of Mabey and Johnson (M&J), during which allegations of bribery were made against some top Ghanaian officials. Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu also held meetings with top directors and other high-ranking officials of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the UK to build data for a thorough investigation into the allegations of corruption made against the Ghanaian officials by directors of M&J, a UK-based construction firm. The Ghanaian officials mentioned in the alleged scandal include Dr. Yankey, who was then a director at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and Alhaji Seidu, a Minister of State at the Castle, who was also a Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways in the 1990s.

The rest include Dr. Ato Quarshie, who was a Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Siddique, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing in the government of President John Agyekum Kufuor, who was a director at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning at the time of the alleged scandal, and one Mr Edward Attipoe.

Courage Quashiga - minister of health in Ghana 2005 - 2009

Courage Quashiga - minister of health in Ghana 2005 - 2009

Major Courage Emmanuel Kobla Quashigah (9 September 1947 5 January 2010) was a Ghanaian soldier and politician. He held many prominent positions in the Ghana Armed Forces and was a Minister of State for Agriculture and later Health in the NPP government of John Kufuor between 2001 and 2009.

Early life and education

Quashigah was born at Kedzi in the Volta Region of Ghana. He had his secondary and sixth form education at the Keta Secondary School also in the Volta Region. He gained his GCE Ordinary Level and GCE Advanced Level certificates there. He proceeded to the United Kingdom where he studied at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He qualified with a Diploma in Economics, War studies and Communication studies. He was awarded the Cane and Certificate of Honour as Best Overseas Cadet and Highest in the Order of Merit at Sandhurst.

Quashigah served as an Intelligence officer at the headquarters of the Second Infantry of Brigade of the Ghana army based at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. He then became the Chief Instructor at the Jungle Warfare School at Achiase in the same region. Other positions later held by him include Commanding Officer of the Ghana Military Police and Commanding Officer of the Forces Reserve Battalion. He has also served as a Director at the Military Academy and Training School at Teshie, a suburb of Accra. Quashigah distinguished himself in various fields in the army. After serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, he won a Commendation for Efficient and Effective Command.

During the military rule of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), he was the Chief Operations Officer at the (PNDC) headquarters. He has also served as a Member of the Police Council of Ghana. Quashigah was formerly a close ally of Jerry Rawlings, Head of state of Ghana and chairman of the PNDC.[1] On September 24, 1989, Quashigah and four others were arrested for allegedly plotting to overthrow the PNDC government.[2] He was finally released in 1992.[3] In 1998, he became the national organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).[4] After the NPP formed a government in January 2001, Quashigah was appointed Minister of Agriculture.[5] He was appointed Health Minister after a cabinet reshuffle in 2005 after President Kufuor had been reelected in the December 2000 presidential election.[6]Whilst serving as minister of Health, Quashigah received notable recognition

for outstanding and exceptional contribution towards initiating a national health education on healthy lifestyle living and nutrition in Ghana and his efforts has grandly become extremely successful since the Africa Union has called on member states to declare the last Friday of each year as Africa's Healthy Lifestyles Day. Subesequently Ghana has named Ghana's Former Minister for Health, Major Quashigah, FGNAHAF as Africa's Best Health Minister in recent times and Ghanaians should be proud.[7]

Death. Quashigah traveled to Israel during a short illness for some public engagements and to seek medical attention but died during his trip


Do we have the equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration in Ghana? If we do, has it neglected its role in society and like many institutions of the state has become a failure? Sometime ago there was the Ghana Standards Board which existed among other things to certify all products as safe before being allowed unto to the market. All food products and body products, and all other products made in Ghana all bore the standard board logo as haven been certified as safe and haven met good production standards. Is the Ghana Standards Board still in existence?

On a recent visit to Ghana I saw all kinds of products on the market, ranging from food products, drinks, medicine, and body products, some locally made others brought into the country from all kinds of places imaginable on the planet Earth. The efficacy of some of these products is in serious doubt and so are its safety and production standards. Many of them have no labels on them, and the active ingredients that make up the product and in what amounts are not listed anywhere on the product label. Because we live in a lawless country, anybody at all can stand up and bring something into the country for sale, especially food products which have a direct effect on the public health of the country. Nobody checks to see if these products meet acceptable health standards. The fact that there has been no major food scares in the country does not mean we can take public safety for granted. Just how much do you personally care about what you eat? Do you follow any diet? Do you think food labeling is important for public health?

In the name of public health and disease prevention, we should start lobbying for compulsory food and nutrition labeling on most food products in easy to read and easy to understand way. The Standards Board must be revived and strengthened to make it work more effectively. Parliament should pass a law to make it obligatory for all importers and manufacturers of food and drinks, medicine, and body products to include on the label all the ingredients both desirable and less desirable that make up the product and in what quantity before offering them for sale. When you peer at the fine print while trying to shop conscientiously, wouldn't you appreciate knowing that the No Fat condiment you are about to buy is loaded with extra sugar Right now some food products that are labeled do not breathe a word about the less desirable elements lurking in the food. The Standard Board should be equipped to conduct tests to make sure that all manufacturers and importers abide by this regulation. As of now the situation is so chaotic that it seriously poses a public health hazard. Some products on the market could be outright harmful to our health and others may have serious long term side effects.

It goes without saying that it is the health of the nation that is at stake and somebody must act swiftly to prevent this health emergency. The Ministry of health must set up a surveillance network and early warning and response system as found within the EU to upgrade their preparedness for and response to outbreaks of infectious diseases and other public health threats.

In all developed countries, there is a widely shared sense of responsibility to ensure that the health of their citizens are not put at risk. Human capital is the most important asset of every nation and it is the duty of the Ministry of Health to promote the health of the people of Ghana through the prevention and control of diseases and injury. Public health in Ghana today is beset with a number of problems and threatened by many factors and from many sources but there appears to be little or no concern shown by the appropriate departments or ministries of state.
Take the case of medical garbage disposal in Accra and many other cities in Ghana for example. Medical garbage calls for a very careful disposal since it could be the source of many infections and a potential carrier of germs. But what do we see? One often finds such garbage thrown into road sides or overflowing from road side garbage containers. Garbage dumps are found located well within densely populated residential areas and are hardly emptied and maintained on timely basis. Apart from the foul smell, the dumps spread bacteria into their surroundings and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitos. And we have a whole ministry for the beautification of the national capital. It seems to me that our Ministers, 88 or so of them, plus the President and his vice, and all MP's are more concerned about their SUV's , giving themselves national honours than the health of you and me. I see a great need, I see desperate poverty, I see a barrage of problems, health, education, economic, environment etc, etc, but I don't see the government, I don't see the ruling party, I don't see our politicians, I don't see people rolling up their sleeves to work.

It appears to me that our Public Health departments come into play only when there is an outbreak of some disease. But we need to look at the long term effect of all the canned foods. With the influx of many goods to Ghana, we need to be aware that some might even have expired. Some might also be of questionable standard. Some foods might predispose our people to diabetes and cancer. We need to be vigilant because the long term effect of some these foods will greatly burden our already weak health system and even completely sink it. In fact there are too many suspect and dubious items being offered for sale in Ghana whose long term health risks is like a time bomb waiting to go "boom". We need people with vision to plan ahead and solve this problem before it engulfs all of us. We need citizens' action, a campaign to help change the current situation. Parliament itself needs to be educated on the importance of food labeling so it can enact suitable laws to enforce it. If you care about what you eat start making some noise about lack of labels on foods, drinks, and other body products to make a change. You can write to the Minister of Health about this issue of national importance.

Ben Ofosu-Appiah,
Tokyo, JAPAN

The author is a policy strategist advisor and a public policy expert based in Tokyo, Japan. He is also a senior social and political analyst. He has written extensively on political, social, and economic issues in Ghana, Africa, and in the developing world in general

Dr. Kwaku Afriyie was the minister of health in Ghana earlier than 2005

map of Ghana regions

Ghana is divided into 10 administrative regions, subdivided into a total of 138 districts. The regions are:

* Ashanti, capital Kumasi
* Brong Ahafo, capital Sunyani
* Central, capital Cape Coast
* Eastern, capital Koforidua
* Greater Accra, capital Accra
* Northern, capital Tamale
* Upper East, capital Bolgatanga
* Upper West, capital Wa
* Volta, capital Ho
* Western, capital Sekondi-Takoradi

Last update: 14 July 2010
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