The 67th Annual New Year School Conference has been launched at a ceremony at the University of Ghana. The School and Conference being organized by the School of Continuing and Distance Education, is on the theme, “Promoting Universal Health for Sustainable Development in Ghana: Is ICT the Game Changer?” and will take place from Sunday 10th January, 2016 to Friday 15th January, 2016,
Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies delivering the Chairperson’s remarks. Looking on is Mr. Samuel Quarshie, Head of the ICT Department of the Ghana Health Service, who performed the formal launch
The Chairman for the occasion, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies, noted that the discussion was particularly of interest, since the adage “prevention is better than cure,” was important for effective health promotion in the country. She called attention to the need to go beyond the rhetoric and make sure that the drive for health promotion becomes achievable, adding that health promotion was necessary in different aspects of the health delivery system. She expressed confidence in a draft policy on health promotion which would be launched next year.
Prof. Gadzekpo indicated that the impact of using both traditional media, new and emerging media to promote health issues, particularly the contribution of mobile telecommunication networks to finding ways in which mobile applications can be deployed to improve the welfare of society. She mentioned the existence of an E-Transform Ghana Project initiated by the World Bank to review policy guidelines on how government and the general public can maximize the use of technology, especially in health situations.
Prof. Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education
Prof. Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education in his remarks noted that, several policies and programmes have been pursued since 1992 to accelerate the growth of the economy and raise living standards for Ghanaians. This included the Ghana Vision 2020, the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy 2003-2005, the growth and poverty reduction strategy for the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda 2010-2013, among other initiatives. He noted that each of the policies identified the development of human and physical resources as key to the country’s accelerated development.
He further remarked that Ghana could accelerate its development effort and become a High Middle Income nation through massive investment in its human resource base. He acknowledged the several international efforts by institutions such as the World Bank, UN and UNESCO to orient developing countries on the application of ICT to improve health and education. Following a consultative process in 2003, the ICT for Development Policy was prepared and later passed into law in 2004. This, Prof. Oheneba-Sakyi noted, enabled the University of Ghana to launch a 5 year development plan for the New Year School, with focus on ICT as the accelerated development plan for the country. He was hopeful that the programme structure for the School would help modernize health care, strengthen primary health delivery, and build foundations for addressing non-communicable diseases as well as technology and E-health to make huge impact at relatively low cost.
The Head of the ICT Department of the Ghana Health Service Mr. Samuel Quarshie, who performed the official launch of the 2016 New Year School and Conference, noted that the theme for the conference was fitting and that through effective implementation, the programme would be successful. He underscored the importance of ICT, adding that although its usage can be fun, it becomes better when leveraged within the context of health care strategies and policies with the intention of improving health outcomes and also improving the quality of health care delivered whether in the urban areas or in the rural areas.
Mr. Richard Ahiagble, Head of Corporate Communications for Airtel-Ghana
The Head of Corporate Communications for Airtel-Ghana, sponsors of the New Year School and Conference, Mr. Richard Ahiagble, on his part maintained that the Annual New Year School has become an important programme on the national calendar, thus bringing together decision makers across different sectors of the economy to deliberate and shape the agenda on pertinent national and international issues for the rest of the year. He expressed the Company’s delight to associate with the initiative, adding that Airtel-Ghana has been supporting strategic initiatives for the past for 2 years.
He noted that it was important for people to fully harness the power of technology to solve problems confronting them, and that through ICT, “we can connect hospitals across the country, telecast live surgeries and share important and timely information so that people, especially those living in rural areas can learn and acquire skills.”
Present at the launch were the Director of Public Affairs, University of Ghana, Mrs. Stella Amoa and Dr. Eric Osei-Assibey from the Department of Economics. Also present were faculty members and other stakeholders in academia, business and governance, as well as staff of the School of Continuing and Distance Education.
On behalf of Airtel-Business, Mr. Richard Ahiagble, Head of Corporate Communications for Airtel-Ghana made a presentation of a dummy cheque of GHC200, 000.00 as part of sponsorship to the 67th New Year School and Conference.
A group photograph taken after the ceremony