Ghana: United States Agency for International Development Transforms Private Maternity Homes

On February 2, 2018, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners met to celebrate the transformation of private maternity homes in Ghana. Midwives, Government of Ghana representatives, USAID staff, and partners gathered in Accra for the occasion. The event included presentations, poster exhibitions, and a panel discussion on revitalizing the private maternity sector in Ghana. The President of Ghana Registered Midwives Association, Netta Ackon; USAID/Ghana Health Office Director Akua Kwateng-Addo; the President and CEO of Banyan Global, Meaghan Smith, and Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service representatives were in attendance.

Private maternity homes are an important provider of maternal and child health care in Ghana, but they have experienced a steady decline over the past decade as midwives have aged and facilities have closed. Since 2014, USAID and its partners have worked to revive the private maternity sector in underserved areas of the country. These efforts include working with existing private maternity home owners, providing training and assistance in both clinical and business skills, and assisting private maternity homes to complete ownership or management transformations designed to help the health facility survive the departure of the primary owner/midwife.

USAID/Ghana Health Office Director Akua Kwateng-Addo delivered opening remarks and praised the achievements for being “catalytic in encouraging facilities to build a sound financial foundation, which ultimately led to improved quality of services.” She also highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships in light of Ghana’s Beyond Aid vision. “Given limited donor funds, it has become imperative to identify alternate and innovative avenues for attracting resources and management expertise of the private sector.”

The development outcomes have shown promising results, with 88 percent of surveyed private maternity homes demonstrating an improvement in financial sustainability; 92 percent demonstrating an improvement in the quality of clinical services; and 22 facilities completing a “transformation,” which means that the private maternity home has taken critical steps to ensure financially sustainable ownership and management. The process of revitalizing private maternity involves transferring the ownership of declining or closed facilities to younger midwives who can make investments that will increase capacity, improve quality, and expand important maternal child health and family planning services in rural areas.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of the United States – Accra – Ghana.

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February 13, 2018 Telephonic Press Briefing: Acting Director for Economic and Regional Affairs Harry Sullivan on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

EVENT:

The Bureau of African Affairs Acting Director for Economic and Regional Affairs Harry Sullivan will provide an update on U.S. economic policy in Africa and efforts to expand trade and investment in Africa under AGOA. This briefing will be on the record.

The telephonic briefing will take place on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at 7:30 AM ET/12:30 UTC. During the briefing, the speaker will make brief opening remarks then take questions from the field.

DETAILS:
Speaker: Acting Director Harry Sullivan
Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Time: 7:30 ET/12:30 UTC
* Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.

Language: English. French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered.
Ground rules: On the record.
Dial-in Info: To be provided once you RSVP
RSVP: RSVP to afmediahub@state.gov. Please specify English/French/Portuguese line, or request that we dial out to you (provide the phone number and language to be used).
Twitter: We will use #AGOA2018 as the hashtag for the call. Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub.

LOGISTICS:

  • Callers should dial-in to the conference call 10-15 minutes early.
  • When an individual journalist dials-in, the operator will collect the caller’s name, press affiliation, and location.
  • The moderator will facilitate the Q and A among the connected callers. Journalists on the conference call will be instructed to press the “*” and “1” buttons on their phones in order to enter the question queue. NOTE: You can press “*1” at any time during the call to join the question queue, even before the moderator begins the Q and A portion. We ask that journalists limit themselves to one question. Journalists can also submit questions in English to afmediahub@state.gov prior to or during the call.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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Ethiopia: U.S. Alumni Global Health Workshop Kicks off in Addis

U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor officially opened a three-day regional U.S. Alumni Global Health workshop on February 6, 2018 at the Capital Hotel.

The workshop brings together twenty two alumni of U.S.-government sponsored exchange programs from Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, and Tanzania, with the aim of sharing best practices for communicating public health information. The workshop will also provide participants with tools to promote health-seeking behavior through the use of data and health communication strategies and would support the development of a community of State exchange alumni who are active in public health.

In opening remarks Ambassador Raynor said, “When we fail to provide for the health of our citizens, we feel the pain beyond the effects of illness itself. We see the harm when children are unable to attend school. We count the cost to families when parents are unable to work. And we endure the lost opportunity of lives cut short, and of people marginalized or stigmatized by disease. You’re here because you understand these challenges and are already making a difference.”

The Ambassador added, “Like you, the United States has long recognized the importance of a cooperative and multidisciplinary approach to tackling global health challenges. Agencies as diverse as USAID, the Centers for Disease Control, the Peace Corps, the Department of Defense, and the State Department’s Refugee Bureau are working from a variety of angles to improve the health of people in Africa and around the world.”

Through programs such as the Mandela Washington Fellowship, African Fulbright Research Scholars, and International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the Department of State hosts a number of exchange programs that offer a chance to share experiences with leaders in the health sector from around the world.

Upon completion of their programs, they become State Department Exchange Alumni, and continue their work and to share what they learned in their home countries. This workshop is part of ongoing efforts to support U.S. Alumni by creating a platform for sharing their of experience and best practices in public health.

The U.S. Department of State organized the workshop in partnership with the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Ireland signs Double Taxation Agreement with Ghana to boost West African Trade

Ireland has signed a Double Taxation Agreement with Ghana, an important step to increase trade with West Africa.

The Agreement, the first that Ireland has concluded with a West African country, was signed by Ireland’s Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana, Mr. Seán Hoy and Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Ghana, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, at a ceremony in Accra on Wednesday February 7th. Representatives from ESB International, Guinness and Tullow Oil, all of which have a significant presence in the Ghanaian market, were invited to join the Irish delegation at the ceremony.

Commenting on the Agreement, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon T.D said:

“I have just returned from a visit to West Africa and was struck by the huge potential for Irish companies. At a time when our companies are seeking opportunities beyond traditional markets, this Agreement will be key in facilitating trade with Ghana which saw strong real GDP growth of 7.9% in 2017.

Ghana remains a strategic market for Irish companies in West Africa, mainly in the food and beverage sector. Bilateral trade between Ireland and Ghana totalled €43.4 in 2016. Ghana is the 6th largest market in Africa for Irish food and drink exports. It is also an important beef export destinations outside the EU. Links in the education and energy sectors are also growing. The signing of the Agreement follows the largest ever Irish Trade Mission to West Africa in 2015 which was led by then Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ireland.

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