Empowered healthy youth needed for Ghana's development - Alhaji Aliu Mahama
Alhaji Farouk Aliu Mahama, the son of the late Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, has stressed the need for an empowered healthy youth as a prerequisite requirement for the development of Ghana and by extension, Africa.
According to him, at the heart of every meaningful and sustainable civilisation is a healthy and empowered workforce.
Speaking at the Oxford Africa Conference in the United Kingdom (UK) on Saturday, May 18, 2019, Alhaji Farouk, said an empowered healthy youth and workforce could only be achieved with an improved healthcare system.
Contributing to a discussion on the topic: "Showcasing and scaling up indigenous innovations in healthcare and wellbeing," he said the world is changing fast with innovations, particularly in the healthcare sector and Ghana cannot be an exception.
"Living in a world in an age where the only constant variable is change, it is instructive to acknowledge the importance of innovation in every sphere of our lives, especially in the area of healthcare delivery," Alhaji Farouk noted.
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He added "We cannot continue in our old ways and expect different outcomes in our health care delivery unless and until we promote and embrace progressive innovation."
The Oxford Africa Conference is the leading interdisciplinary conference on Africa, hosted by the University of Oxford Africa Society.
The Conference brings together heads of state, policymakers, business leaders, academics, artists, students, and professionals of African descent to critically expand the discourse and action on Africa.
The conference is also the society’s annual call to action: the opportunity for coalescing ideas and initiatives that can augment and create opportunities for African individuals, companies and organisations.
Alhaji Farouk said the Ghanaian government has over the years introduced policies to improve the healthcare system in the country.
He therefore commended the Akufo-Addo led administration for the introduction of drone services to supply essential medicines in the country.
Below is his statement
INTRODUCTION SPEECH BY FAROUK ALIU MAHAMA
SHOWCASING AND SCALING UP INDIGENOUS INNOVATIONS IN HEALTHCARE AND WELLBEING
OXFORD AFRICA CONFERENCE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, UK
Let me extend greetings from the good people of Ghana and from His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, who graced this occasion last year, and left us with lofty words, which I imagine has stayed with us until today, incidentally one of his sons birthed not by blood but through mentorship and inspiration, has equally been invited by this prestigious body to share my thoughts and perspectives on the very important issue on breakthrough innovations in healthcare delivery.
As you would notice, it is an honour for me to be here with you today.
But then again, where else would I be? You see, when Oxford requests your presence, you come, regardless of your status: as president, scientist, athlete or poet. I wish to thank the organisers for the invitation to come here and participate in this conference.
My name is Alhaji Umar Farouk Aliu Mahama, son of His Excellency Alhaji Aliu Mahama, late former Vice President of the Republic of Ghana (2001-2009). I come to this table as a believer and an evangelist of quality health care and an advocate for the general wellbeing of humanity. I am both a philanthropist and implementer of innovative ideas in this regard.
Allow me to commence my submission on this salient topic by saying that, at the heart of every meaningful and sustainable civilization is a healthy and empowered workforce, and by workforce, I am not only referring to the present skilled labour but more importantly, the youth who are our future.
Living in a world in an age where the only constant variable is change, it is instructive to acknowledge the importance of innovation in every sphere of our lives, especially in the area of healthcare delivery. We cannot continue in our old ways and expect different outcomes in our health care delivery unless and until we promote and embrace progressive innovation.
Unfortunately in our part of the world, where people are raised to believe that whatever they do, will be second to foreign products, there is a pressing need to encourage, promote, showcase and support the few who are brave enough to initiate innovative ideas in health delivery by scaling up their humble beginnings.
Ladies and gentlemen, as a youth and aspiring political activist in Northern Ghana with an ancestral traces to the struggle for black freedom, vibrant platforms like this aimed at providing new African thinking and innovative perspectives on African issues always warm my heart. More so, a conference of this type facilitated by the Oxford Africa Society brings good news and a new Africa.
Giving the broad nature of this topic, I will like to limit my introductory remarks to a few of the healthcare innovation approaches from my personal experience, as a board member of the Aliu Mahama Foundation, a institution established on the beliefs and principles of my late father.
I would wish to talk about one of the initiatives of the foundation dubbed, ZONGO LAAFIA literally meaning Good Health for persons living in Zongo Communities For the avoidance of doubt, Zongo refers to a place of hausa speaking traders in West African Communities.
The Aliu Mahama Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development and the office of the National Chief Imam launched the Zongo Laafia, a community health and well-being outreach program for residents in Zongo and Inner City Communities early this year at the Fadama residence of the Chief Imam. The Foundation collaborated with the Zongo Ministry to concentrate its efforts in the Zongos with a target of about 10,000 people who benefit from the Zongo Laafia program.
The health screening exercise covered ailments such as hypertension, malaria, skin infections, eye problems and so on among the people of the Zongo particularly the aged, women and children. This program is in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
“MY HEALTH BEHIND BARS
Another great initiative undertaken by the Foundation amongst others is the MY HEALTH BEHIND BARS project.
The Aliu Mahama Foundation has interest in giving back to the society through various outreach programmes. In the past, the Foundation, has committed itself to the welfare of prisoners at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons. The prisoners program was dubbed My Health Behind Bars and was highly successful in helping to improve the health of inmates. Activities undertaken during this project included but not limited to clinical diagnosis for inmates and ..
We have not achieved all these laurels without the active support of the leadership of the country, the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Afufo Addo, a man who has shown principal commitment to the welfare of the people of Ghana. What we have achieved these milestones because the President has supported us both materially and morally to implement these initiatives.
At a governmental level, under his leadership we have seen the country implement a crucial intervention in healthcare delivery I speak of Africas largest drone delivery service at Omenako in the Eastern Region to improve healthcare delivery, especially in hard-to-reach areas. The project, christened: Fly to Save a life, uses drones to operate a 24-hour, delivery of essential medical supplies and blood products to 2,000 health facilities. It is expected to serve 14 million people across the country, especially in the remote areas, to deliver on-demand and emergency deliveries of 148 different vaccines and life-saving medications. Vice President Bawumia, at the launch, said the drone medical delivery service represented a major step towards giving everyone in the country universal access to life-saving medicines, adding: No one in Ghana should die because he or she could not access the medicine needed in an emergency situation.
These efforts have gone a long way to complement our work and cannot be overlooked.
Our approach and vision, is the spirit of Ubuntu where the sense of obligation and solidarity goes beyond the nuclear family and also to spearhead the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3) of universal health coverage which concentrates on Good Health and Well-being in record time.
What I am today, and the good that we can contribute to humanity stems from the value set imbued in me by my father, former Vice President of the Republic of Ghana. He served humanity earnestly throughout his adult life. During his tenure of office from 2002 to 2009, he dedicated his time and resources to championing greater discipline. He left us with this timeless phrase Do The Right Thing.
Thank you and I wish ourselves a fruitful and forward-looking discussion.