Ghana: Press highlights on suspension of sittings by Parliament, others

The suspension of sittings for three weeks following an upsurge in COVID-19 cases among Members of Parliament (MPs) and Parliamentary…

The suspension of sittings for three weeks following an upsurge in COVID-19 cases among Members of Parliament (MPs) and Parliamentary Service staff is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Wednesday.The Graphic reports that the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Alban Bagbin, has suspended sittings for three weeks following an upsurge in COVID-19 cases among Members of Parliament (MPs) and Parliamentary Service staff.

In a statement in Parliament on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, the Speaker disclosed that some 17 MPs and 151 Parliamentary staff and ancillary workers in Parliament have tested positive for COVID-19.

However, he stressed that the Appointment Committee will go ahead with the vetting of the President’s nominees for Ministerial portfolios during the suspension.

The House will be suspended from Wednesday, February 10, 2021, to Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

“It is hoped that within this period of adjournment, the Appointments Committee will commence consideration and public hearing of the President’s nominees for Ministerial appointments,” the Speaker said.

“By the end of the three weeks, the Appointments Committee would have submitted reports on the referral for the consideration of the House”.

The Speaker also directed all MPs to comply with the strict COVID-19 prevention protocols during the period of the suspension.

The newspaper says that the Government of Ghana and the World Bank are holding discussions to secure funding to procure COVID-19 vaccines for Ghana.

The World Bank Country Director, Mr. Pierre Frank Laporte, who confirmed this to the Daily Graphic yesterday, said the bank had already concluded informal discussions with the government and expected a formal request from the latter.

“Basically, we have had informal discussions with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Finance, but we are yet to receive a formal letter of request from the government, which I believe will be soon,” he said. 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had said the government had commenced discussions with some COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing companies, with the goal of ordering suitable doses of the vaccines for use in Ghana.

That followed the completion of work by the committee formed by the government to recommend the appropriate decisions on COVID-19 vaccines.

The President made this known last month when he opened the 72nd annual New Year School and Conference in Accra, saying details of the committee’s work would be announced very soon.

A source close to the Presidency told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the government was relying on multiple sources of funding to procure COVID-19 vaccines, which were expected to be in the country by the end of next month.

The Graphic also says that the acting Director of the Ghana Infectious Disease Centre (GIDC), Dr. Joseph Adjetey Oliver-Commey, has called for post-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) clinics to be established to help manage the disease’s impact on patients who have recovered from it.

He said post-COVID-19 complications could be dire and fatal, hence the need for such clinics for patients with lingering symptoms until they were deemed to be free, to an appreciable extent, from any complications.

Dr. Oliver-Commey, who made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic, urged all recovered patients who had tested negative but still had some lingering symptoms not to become complacent because they had recovered but pay attention to whatever symptoms might be lingering and report quickly to hospital to avert complications and avoidable deaths.

“Patients would have recovered and tested negative, but the disease may have affected some internal organs, such as the lungs, brain, heart, kidneys and liver, causing them to still have symptoms of the disease,” he said.

Dr. Oliver-Commey, who is also a member of the National COVID-19 Management Team, said the centre began undertaking post-COVID-19 clinics when it noticed that some recovered patients still exhibited symptoms, a situation referred to as long COVID.

“COVID-19 may leave scars in the lungs, making people affected unable to breathe normally as they did before, with the slightest thing they do making them gasp for breath.

“Meanwhile, all tests on them return negative, but you look at their CT scans and you find injury scars. So, yes, the recovery rate is high, but the effects of the virus can linger on and that is what we call post-COVID complication,” he said.

He said some post-COVID-19 complications could last for close to eight months, while some were irreversible.

The Times says that ActionAid Ghana (AAG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has organised a one-day workshop on sexual harassment at home and the workplace, in Wain the Upper West Region.

The training was organised as part of activities under the Zero-Violence Project with funding from the Foreign, Common wealth and Development Office of the UK Government.

The project, which was being implemented in partnership with Frontline Aids and ActionAid UK, is aimed at getting employers to protect workers and other persons in the world of work irrespective of their contractual status, including persons under training, workers whose employment have been terminated and job applicants.

Madam Abiba Nibaradun, Programmes Officer for AAG in the Upper West Region, explained that sexual harassment affected both men and woman and was, therefore, relevant that society created a favourable environment that would not only prevent sexual harassment but also encourage victims to speak up and seek justice.

She stated that the International Labour Organisation Convention (C190) of 2019, which was the focus for the training, basically sought to address sexual harassment in both public and private sectors in the rural or urban setting.

“Sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual advance, request for favour or unwholesome sexual attitude towards another person who may consider the act offensive or humiliating and therefore should not be allowed or accepted no matter the circumstances,” she said