Sachet water production – a thriving business with health implications

Sachet water production in Ghana has become a main source of economic empowerment to hundreds of people nation-wide.

Through the 500 millilitre square bagged water, many people are able to access and drink filtered water; some are gainfully employed with others, mostly the producers, using as a stepping stone to venture into commercial bottling of water for sale to the teeming populace.

Sachet water which is widely called ‘pure water’ has is widely accepted by people as it is affordable and accessible to the people.

However, the health of the indigenes is at stake. Majority of the sachet water brands are without operation licenses, according to the investigation.

Some are also produced under deplorable conditions by people who have no or limited expertise in the activity. Most of these producers, according to an official of the Ghana Standards Authority, are retired employees who fall on sachet water production more as a supplement to their meagre pensions rather than a commercial venture with the attended seriousness.

The selling of sachet water by street hawkers to pedestrians also leads to contamination as most of the sellers handle the water with their bare hands. They hardly wash their hands after visiting the urinal and toilets and openly expose the chilled water to the sunrays, dust and other environmental conditions.

As a result, a lot of waterborne diseases have emerged and spread across the country.

A cholera outbreak which occurred in 2012 was largely blamed on the shoddy nature of sachet water production and retailing in the country. The outbreak claimed over 60 lives by May 2012, according to the Ghana Health Service, and threatened the lives of thousands more.

While this is happening, regulatory authorities such as the Food and Drugs Board and the Standards Authority have admitted being overwhelmed by the situation and have thus called on sachet water consumers to boycott shoddy brands.

That, they said is the surest way to halting the practice as all efforts put up to sanitise the industry have yielded less results.

By Maxwell Adombila Akalaare.

Published February 12, 2013 in GRAPHIC BUSINESS.

Read the story online or in PDF: Sachet water production – A thriving business with health implications_Maxwell Adombila Akalaare.

 

Fake phones cost manufacturers millions of cedis

Counterfeit phones are normally concealed as part of high quality mobile handsets imported into the country via the Kotoka International Airport, Kwame Annor, a dealer of low-cost phones in Adum, a suburb of Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, hinted to this reporter.

The demand for high end quality mobile handsets has opened up a new market genuine mobile manufacturers are particularly enthused about. Apart from these phones offering cheap alternatives to genuine manufacturers, they also imitate the make of these handsets which are relatively more expensive.

These phones are normally concealed as part of high-quality phones that found their way through the various entry points of the country. The abolition of tax on these handsets has made relatively easier for these smugglers to outwit authorities.

These phones normally come from countries in the Middle East as well as China. As they enter the country, they are fairly distributed throughout the country by their suppliers. The popular places where these phones (shops) are sighted are Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi.

Due to their inferior nature, these phones come with peculiar problems that border on its safety to the user. Although the main communication regulator, National Communications Authority maintains that the there are standards for mobile handsets, this reporter found that most of these phones don’t meet those standards.

By Richard Annerquaye Abbey.

Published February 12, 2013 on Myjoyonline.com.

Read the article online or in PDF Fake phones cost manufacturers millions of cedis.

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Is Ghana winning the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases?

In the quest to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTDs, authorities in Ghana’s health sector have taken a lot of initiatives, but a lot more needs to be done and all hands must be on deck. Among the main problems hindering smooth-running of the programme for fighting the diseases are the belief in traditional methods and self-medication. Today, most people still think their diseases are spiritual and traditional herbalists continue to take advantage of them.

Neglected Tropical Diseases are a group of seventeen parasitic and bacterial infections, including lymphatic filariasis also called elephantiasis. They affect over 1.4 billion people worldwide. These diseases cause illness and hamper economic development in poor populations. Ghana is burdened with a number of neglected tropical diseases.

By Edward Ameh

Broadcasted 20 and 27 December, 2012 on Net2 TV, ETV.

Watch the investigation Is Ghana winning the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases?

Battle over an orphan – Family accuses American Church over illegal adoption

Tension is profoundly mounting between two families over the adoption of a young but beautiful 13 year old orphan named Yaiyere Nagari.

The struggle is between the Krobo Adusei family and the Nigmama family in the northern part of Ghana’s Volta Region.

Members of the Nigmama family have accused the Agape Mission church and the Department of Social Welfare of collaborating to give their daughter to the Krobo Adusei Family for adoption without their knowledge. This was  after  the family  was promised by the church in 1994  that the child was only going to be taken care of at the home till she completed  school and then  returned  to reunite with her  family, according to Johannes Okpanol , spokesperson of the family.

By Kwabena Adu Koranteng.

Published December 18, 2012 in The New Crusading Guide.

Read the article Battle over an orphan.

Where there is oil; there is spillage

Oil spills are avoidable but seemingly inevitable aspect of offshore oil operations as evidenced throughout the world. Is Ghana really prepared for any Catastrophe?

The discovery of oil in Ghana in commercial quantities in 2007 and the commencement of its production in 2010 is expected to have a positive impact on the economy.

On the other hand, the discovery raises a number of crucial and critical questions regarding the extent to which relevant policies, regulatory and monitoring mechanisms and particularly environmental measures have been put in place to effectively respond to any eventual oil disaster.

Oil spills are an avoidable but seemingly inevitable aspect of offshore oil operations as evidenced throughout the world.

An oil spill, in the case of Ghana, would mean the actual or probable release, discharge, or escape of oil into the country’s marine waters, and this could occur when a significant amount of oil is accidentally released into the environment…..

By Georgina Otoo.

Published 18th December, 2012 on ModernGhana.com.

Read the article online Where there is oil; there is spillage.

 

 

The FAIRTRADE chocolate rip-off

The pictures of happy African farmers on the FAIRTRADE chocolate bought by consumers in the West are designed to make the consumer believe that the broad smiles are a result of actual fair trade: support and a better income. But this impression is false. Exploitation in the West African cocoa industry continues, only with a new player on the block: FAIRTRADE itself, which benefits from the extra mark-up paid by supportive consumers. The FAIRTRADE label (issued by FAIRTRADE’s own certifying sister company Flo-Cert), hailed 20 years ago as an innovative institution which would improve the lives of farmers in the cocoa industry in West Africa, has not lived up to its promises.

During a periode of six months journalists from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria and the Netherlands investigated the alleged benefits received by cocoa farmers in West Africa via the FAIRTRADE label.

Their conclusions: whilst the chocolate consumer in the West pays a significant mark-up for ‘honest’ chocolate, these benefits amount to little or no improvement in the lives of cocoa farmers. In some case, because of FAIRTRADE cooperatives’ increasing dominance, farmers were even worse off than before.

The full dossier is titled ‘The FAIRTRADE chocolate rip-off’. The project was led by the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR) and was partly funded by the Programme for African Investigative Reporting (PAIR).

By Selay Kouassi (Ivory Coast), Chief Bisong Etahoben (Cameroon), Benjamin Tetteh (Ghana), Aniefiok Udonquak (Nigeria), Bjinse Dankert and Janneke Donkerlo (Netherlands), Charles Rukuni (team leader), Evelyn Groenink (editor).

November 14, 2012.

Download a copy of the complete Transnational Investigation (pdf): The FAIRTRADE chocolate rip-off.

Gassed out

This investigation reveals how government ambitious gas processing plant project is elbowing local farmers out of their farmlands and traditional livelihoods. The story investigates the how poor farmers have lost acres of farmlands to the project some even without the promise of compensation because the crops on the farms were destroyed before enumerations were done. It also explores the efforts the young people of the area are making in the hope of getting jobs in the project which is expected to open up the area: Anorkyi Asamda and Atuabo, as a major industrial hub for the country’s petrochemical sector.

By Kwaku Owusu Peprah

Published October 25, 2012 on Joy FM

Listen to the story (24 minutes) Gassed out.

Deadly borders of West Africa – a transnational investigation

Increasingly, West African borders have become notorious for all sorts of crime from almost every corner of the sub-regional borders; extortion racketeering and corruption are the order of the day at all the borders in the ECOWAS region. The borders of West Africa have been turned into illegal money-making ventures which rake in thousands of Ghana cedis, Nigerian naira and CFA francs for the security agents positioned there.

There is no way you can cross any of the West African borders today without paying money to the security agents. Between the Aflao (Ghana) and Lome (Togo) border posts, a traveller must have at least CFA 5,000 (GH₵25) to be able to cross to either side. Between Elubo and Noe, border posts between Ghana and Ivory Coast, a traveller with a single piece of luggage needs about CFA 4,500 to cross to either side. The same thing applies to the Ghana – Burkina Faso border between Paga and Dakola, this investigations reveal.

When crossing from Aflao in Ghana to Lome in Togo the traveller with a Ghanaian passport pays CFA 1,000 at each of five different points in the Togo section of the border. A traveller with a Francophone passport pays the same amount at about three different points at the Ghanaian section of the border just to be able to cross over. Only heads of state, Presidents, diplomats and other high ranking state officials are exempted from such extortion when crossing the borders of West Africa. Apart from these, everybody is forced to obey the extornionst orders of border security agents. The Immigration service, Customs Excise and Preventive service (CEPS), Police and National Security Agents have been positioned on each side at the borders of West African countries – and all of them are engaged in one form or another of extortion, this investigation reveal.

By Kwabena Adu Koranteng (Ghana) & Ouamar Abdulai (Burkina Faso).

Published September 4, 2012 in The Crusading Guide.

Read the article Deadly borders of West Africa

And the follow up story published September 10, 2012: Togo government reacts on the story Deadly Borders.

Ghana: Development fund for farming community is missing

An amount of US$150,000 paid by Gulf Coast Resources, a mining  company, to the People of Banka, a farming community in the Akyem  Ofoase District of the Eastern Region of Ghana, has gone missing. The money was part of an amount of US$500,000 earmarked by the company  as part of its corporate social responsibility to the people of Banka  after 20 years of mining gold in the community. The decision on  allocation of the money, according to an official of Golf Coast  Resources, was based on the fact that it has operated in the community  for several years and paid no compensation for farms and forest lands  destroyed…

By Emmanuel Fosu Adu Gyamfi.

Published August 31, 2012 in The Daily Searchlight.

Read the article Chief implicated in missing fund

Barriers limit trade aspiration of ECOWAS

Random road blocks, entrenched bribery and bloated tariffs along the Ghana-Togo-Benin-Nigeria corridor are seriously affecting the achievement of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme ((ETLS) and affecting inter-country trade within the sub-region.

By Michael Thompson, Wisdom Johnny-Nuekpe and Vanessa Obioha Onyinye.

Published July 21, 2012 in The Globe Newspaper and www.citifmonline.com.

Read the article Barriers limit trade aspiration of ECOWAS.