Inter-College Lecture Series


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 11 of 11
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    COVID-19, Health and Healthcare Services In Ghana
    (University of Ghana, 2022-05-26) Owusu, Y.A.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has now literally been downgraded in Ghana, with most of the restriction protocols eased. Nevertheless, COVID-19 is still with us, and still needs to be treated with caution, even as newer variants are announced every now and then. Of uttermost importance is the trail of effects it brought to citizens’ health, and healthcare services the world over, including Ghana. Some of these effects will last for decades. Based on Ghana’s COVID-19 recovery and case-fatality rate, relative to those of other African countries and the world’s average COVID-19 related indicators, Ghana has successfully managed and treated the pandemic. Ghana was the first country internationally to receive vaccines from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization’s (GAVI) COVAX facility, the COVID-19 vaccine drive initiative supported by the WHO and UNICEF, for African and other less developed countries. GoG planned to vaccinate all its adult population, estimated at 20 million, by the end of 2021, to generate herd immunity. COVID-19 has had a strong negative psycho-social effect on several aspects of the livelihoods of citizens. Among others, this situation stemmed from the financial insecurities engineered by the pandemic, the fear of infection, deaths from it, and the fear of death. In Ghana, another contributory factor to the psycho-social stress and mental health burden unleashed by COVID-19 is the stigma and stigmatization, and the reduced social space associated with the infection, and its concomitant social restrictions. This is against the background of Ghana’s current mental healthcare services being at a very low ebb and with very low funding. Furthermore, Ghana and Africa have a reduced capacity for COVID-19 research. As is the case globally, COVID-19 also highlighted the inequities in access to and distribution of healthcare infrastructure in the country. Locally, these are the usual dichotomies of the north-south, rural-urban, and Greater Accra Region versus the-rest-of-the-country divides. For instance, as at September 28, 2021, 10 regions in Ghana did not have any suitable COVID-19 accredited testing laboratories while 29 out of the 36 accredited laboratories with the capacity to test for COVID-19 (constituting 80.56%), were in the Greater Accra Region, mostly in wealthier enclaves of Accra. GoG and the Ghana Health Service’s concentration on COVID-19 had a high opportunity cost in terms of financing, logistics for, and healthcare provision for other equally important diseases and healthcare needs such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and maternal and child healthcare. Furthermore, research has shown that some citizens stopped seeking healthcare for essential services for fear of COVID-19 infection. Similarly, some elderly, very experienced healthcare personnel quit working to protect themselves. There was also a very high healthcare worker stress and psychosocial burden. These thwarted efforts to promote good health, led to worsened ailments and loss of lives which were not directly related to COVID-19, and may have long term effects on the healthcare space and citizens’ health in Ghana. On a positive note, the pandemic occasioned the expansion of the healthcare infrastructure and services, and the much needed increase in the healthcare manpower in Ghana. The pandemic has also led to lessons on self-reliance in providing healthcare logistics, as well as increased voluntarism in providing healthcare support from citizens. Given the massive negative impact of the pandemic on the mental health and psychological well-being of citizens, GoG, the Ghana Health Service, and allied agencies should step up mental health, clinical psychology, and psychosocial services to support citizens to cope with the fallout and the increased demand for mental and psycho-social healthcare related to the pandemic. There is the need for pragmatic efforts to distribute healthcare infrastructure more evenly, regionally, and also across the rural-urban, north-south divides, particularly in the provision of suitable laboratories that can test for the pandemic, in order to more equitably and efficiently prevent infections and treat persons who get infected by COVID-19 nationwide. GoG should ensure that at least one well-resourced COVID-19 testing center/laboratory is built in each region to facilitate more timely testing, treatment and needed documentation, such as for external travel, in the wake of the pandemic’s geopolitics. Increased and continuous self-reliant in providing our healthcare supplies, including vaccines, is recommended. There is the need for Ghana to be camera-ready for unavoidable future epidemics and pandemics. GoG and private partners should facilitate the intensification of scientific and social research on COVID-19 as well as other epidemics in Ghana. This should include the impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers.
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    Cybersecurity Imperatives For National Development And The Role Of The Academic Community
    (University of Ghana., 2022-04-13) Antwi-Boasiako, Albert
    In recent years, Ghana has experienced a rapid expansion of access to the internet. A report published by on 31st March 2022 indicates that, as of January 2022, the internet penetration rate in Ghana reached 53%, up from 50% in the same month in 2021. Ghana’s economy is largely digitalised but the digitalisation efforts cannot be sustained without cybersecurity. This is because according to the Global Risks Reports 2022, cybersecurity threats are growing; malware and ransomware attacks increased by 358% and 435% respectively in 2020 and are outpacing societies’ ability to effectively prevent or respond to them. Cybersecurity is therefore necessary to reduce the risk of cyberattacks and to protect institutions and the society from cyber harm. Consequently, Ghana passed a new Cybersecurity Act (Act 1038) in 2020 and the President assented the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) into law on December 29, 2020. In addition, Ghana has implemented a number of interventions which has raised the country’s cybersecurity readiness from 32.6% in 2017 to 86.69% in 2020, rating Ghana the 3rd on the African continent and 43rd globally, according to ITU’s latest Global Cybersecurity Index. This lecture will examine the current cyber context of – both the domestic and international levels and will explore the various cybersecurity imperatives for Ghana’s developmental agenda. The lecture will highlight Ghana’s current developmental paradigm of which digitalisation is an integral component and will further explore the nexus between cyber resilience and Ghana’s future socio-economic development. Most importantly, the lecture will explore the role of the academia and research institutions in securing Ghana’s cyber future, including the protection of Critical Information Infrastructures. Both the revised National Cybersecurity Policy & Strategy of Ghana as well as the newly passed Cybersecurity Act, 2020 will provide the framework for discussions and case studies during the lecture. Target participants are members of the academic and research community, industry representatives, government and civil society actors, journalists and students.
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    The Evolution of Reading in the Age of Digital Technology
    (University of Ghana., 2023-05-31) Burke, Michael
    How fundamental is reading to us, both literary fiction and nonfiction, and what impact might AI and digital technologies be having on the act of reading, and, by default, on us and our brains? This is what this talk will be about. We will start by looking at where and when and how reading began. Thereafter, we will consider where reading is now, anno 2023, between paper and pixels. We will then start to speculate how reading might evolve in the next 100 years under the influence of digital technologies. Finally, we will consider what effects such an evolution might have on text comprehension, human memory, and human emotion, and whether this might pose challenges for the future. We also consider what role oral storytelling and the power of rhetoric might start to play again across the globe in the matrix of human society and AI/human communication.
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    Harnessing Our Multilingual Heritage for National Development
    (2019-05-02) Ansah, G.N.; Agyei-Mensah, S.
    Education has been linked to both human development and national development. This is so be-cause education (e.g. schooling, lectures on the virtues of punctuality) is believed to raise earnings, improve health, and add to a person’s good habits over much of his/her life time (Becker, 1993). In other words, education is regarded as a form of capital that supports economic growth and national development. Over the years, governments in Ghana have recognised this link between education, economic growth and national development and have committed national resources to several efforts at improving education with the hope of building human capital for national development. For instance, the Education for Accelerated National Development (1961-1966), the Kwapong Reform Committee for High Quality in Education for Growth (1967-1987), Basic Education for All (1987), Education in a Competitive Market driven Global Economy (2007-2016), and Free Senior High School Policy (2017), are major government policies that underscored the connection between education and national development. While these efforts may have yielded some results, e.g., increase in school enrolment, more access to education in general, more girls in school, higher literacy levels, etc., there is also an increase in carnage on our roads, filth on our streets and gutters, and non-working social interventions, among others which set Ghana back from being considered a developed nation. Why does our education appear not to be giving us the desired returns on all the investments governments have made in education over the years? A UNESCO (2012) report has admitted that in linguistically complex communities, when development initiatives are implemented in people’s first languages or a dominant language and in a culturally appropriate way, the people are often able to create appropriate, sustainable solutions - they are empowered to make decisions that enable them become key actors in social intervention programmes that benefit their communities. In this lecture, I focus on the role language plays both in education and in national development. I examine Ghana’s current (language in-education) policy which makes English the only capital in the country’s linguistic market, and argue that the linguistic practices that emanate from such a policy neither support the pillars of human development nor create the enabling environment for the achievement of sustainable development for national growth in the country. In other words, I argue that Ghana’s current language in-education policy makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many of the country’s human resources to achieve any appreciable level of personal development, a situation that renders the people more of a liability than an asset to the nation. I conclude by advocating a language (in-education) policy that builds upon the cultural and linguistic capital for a more effective/meaningful learning and proper human resource development which is a necessary tool for sustainable development and national progress.
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    Multi-Partyism, Social Fragmentation and Nation Building
    (University of Ghana, 2017-02-23) Atuire, C.; Agyei-Mensah, S.
    Ghana, like many African nations, is a product of colonialization. Peoples from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds were lumped together into nation states by the colonial rulers. With independence, African leaders were faced with the challenge of forging national identity and unity as a fundamental part of nation building. Kwame Nkrumah had a vision that was outlined in Conscientism and other discourses. The task of nation building requires social, ethnic, religious, and cultural cohesion. In recent times, since 1992, Ghana has embraced multi-partyism as a system of government. Ghana is admired and respected as one of the few African countries that successfully run free elections where peaceful transitions are made from one party to the other. A critical look at the dynamics of partisan politics reveals that there is a risk of entrenching internal divisions along ethnic, social and religious lines. Ironically, the very multi-partisan democratic system that makes Ghana the emblem of peace in Africa, could also be mining the roots of cohesion that are essential towards nation building. I would propose that a possible solution to this challenge lies not only in good governance and institutional efficiency, but also, and primordially, in educating citizens towards a better understanding of the nature and use of the power conferred on them by democracy.
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    Nutrition and health claims linked to food: the case for national Food-based dietary guidelines
    (2017-03-09) Aryeetey, R.; Ayeh-Kumi, P.F.
    Foods, diets, and nutritional status are important determinants of non-communicable diseases. On the other hand, appropriate selection, combination, and consumption of food and nutrients can contribute to non-communicable disease risk reduction. This evidence is not lost on industry as it seeks to provide diet-related remedies for preventing and controlling NCDs. The challenge arises when nutrition and health claims linked with the marketing of foods and nutrient supplements is not consistent with existing scientific evidence at three levels: 1) Insufficient characterisation of the food or its ingredients, 2) poor definition of the claimed benefit, or 3) conflicting/insufficient experimental evidence linking the food/nutrient and the claimed benefit. In Ghana, the print and electronic media in are saturated with incessant promotion of dietary/food products making a wide variety of nutrition and claims. Such claims are known to influence purchase behaviour, and ultimately, consumption patterns. According to CODEX, producers have a responsibility to ensure that food product nutrition and health claims are consistent with national health/nutrition policy, truthful, and supported by robust and are presented in ways that do not mislead consumers. On the other hand, national governments have a responsibility empower consumers to make an informed choice regarding food purchase and consumption. Food-based dietary guidelines serve as a behaviour change communication tool educating the lay public on responsible choice in food selection. The lack of national food-based dietary guidelines in Ghana creates opportunity for proliferation of misperceptions about food and misleading nutrition and health claims in the marketing of food products. Evidence-based research is needed to inform the process for developing a context-appropriate food-based guidelines for people living in Ghana.
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    Use of Course Websites to Enhance Face-To-Face Instruction: A Study of Students' Perceptions
    (2017-03-16) Markwei, E.; Tagoe, M.
    One of the benefits of the Internet is the development of course websites to enhance traditional face-to-face-instruction. Although course websites are prevalent in many disciplines, only few studies have investigated students’ perceptions of these websites. This study investigated the perception of students of an interactive website designed on the PBWORKS platform for an Information Storage and Retrieval course at the School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana. The main objectives of the study were to examine students’ use of the website, their computer literacy skills, mode of accessing the website, problems encountered in using the website and their instructional preferences. The survey methodology was used for the study and 37 students participated in the study. The findings showed that students had intermediate computer literacy skills, used the websites frequently, were generally satisfied with the contents which include course outline, lesson notes, assignments, class project instructions, announcements, links to relevant websites, course readings etc, and liked the fact that they could post messages on the website. They accessed the website mostly from home using their laptops and mobile phones. The problems they encountered in using the website include unstable Internet access, power outages, and initial registration with PBWORKS. The study has implications for application of technology in tertiary education that is, use of free wikis to enhance face-to-face instruction
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    Assessing the impact of decreasing malaria transmission on parasite biology, disease pathogenesis and vaccine discovery
    (2017-03-23) Awandare, G.; Asiedu, D.K.
    The World Health Organization estimates that malaria still causes approximately 198 million cases annually worldwide, with 483,000 deaths, mainly in children below the age of 5 years and pregnant women. The most severe forms of the disease are caused by Plasmodium falciparum, which accounts for more than 90% of malaria cases globally. An effective malaria vaccine remains the optimal strategy for eliminating malaria. However, the use of vector control strategies such as long-lasting insecticide treated nets and inside residual spraying, combined with the use of the efficacious artemisinin combination therapy, have significantly decreased malaria transmission. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of the impact of decreasing malaria transmission on parasite biology and disease pathogenesis is necessary to inform appropriate management of the disease, especially in children. Taking advantage of the significant differences in malaria transmission across ecological zones in Ghana as a model, we have been investigating the impact of decreasing transmission on P. falciparum biology, host immune responses, and clinical manifestations of malaria in children. The results of these investigations demonstrate that while parasite genomes are mostly similar, parasite invasion pathways vary significantly across transmission areas. In addition, patterns of clinical manifestations, immune responses and parasite tolerance change significantly with decreasing transmission intensity. Data from these investigations will be discussed, as well as research strategies for discovery of novel targets for vaccine development. In addition, progress made by the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) and its partners in training and building capacity for high quality, competitive biomedical research in Africa will be presented.
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    A Critical Review of ‘Third Termism’ in African Politics from an International Law Perspective
    (2017-03-29) Appiagyei-Atua, K.; Agyei-Mensah, S.
    The return to democracy in Africa, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, saw most African countries drafting and adopting new constitutions which seek to entrench respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the governance ethos of their countries. In most of these constitutions, a two-term limit was specified for a regime to remain in power. Yet, for the past few years, African citizenry are witnessing a trend where their political leaders have had their constitutions doctored to allow for third or indefinite terms, popularly referred to broadly as 'third termism.' The presentation will seek to explain this phenomenon relying on traditional African political system of life-long monarchical rules on which the one-party state was modeled and implemented in most African states between the time of independence and until coups d'état became a means of regime change on the continent. Another model which will be used to analyse this emerging trend is the agenda of exporting 'instant democracy and instant capitalism' by the US under the Clinton and Bush administrations. The presentation will situate the discussion in the context of international law and examine how the principles of unconstitutional change in government developed by the Organisation of African Unity/African Union (OAU/AU) together with the application of the concept of collective recognition of governments could be applied to deal with the 'third termism' phenomenon