Ghana to operationalise national space Agency next year

The Vice President of the Republic, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has announced that the Ghana Space Agency will be operationalized in 2023 as part of efforts to harness the power of earth observations to support planning and decision-making in weather forecasting as well as monitoring and responding to natural disasters.

He disclosed that Cabinet had approved the Ghana Space Policy and Implementation Plan that will enable the full operationalization of the national space agency.

Speaking at the opening session of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) week on Wednesday morning in Accra, Dr. Bawumia said the country was working through bilateral and multilateral partnerships to “boost resource efficiency, establish a circular economy, mitigate and adapt to climate change, mitigate disaster risks, and halt biodiversity loss.”

“We are also actively pursuing improved ways to harness the power of earth observations to support planning and decision-making in weather forecasting, measuring land-use change (such as deforestation), monitoring coastlines, and monitoring and responding to disasters, including fires, floods, and earthquakes,” Dr Bawumia said.

“On this note, we are happy to inform you that Cabinet has approved the Ghana Space Policy and Implementation Plan that will enable the full operationalization of the Ghana Space Agency next year. We extend an invitation to you all to partner with us as we embark on this exciting journey”.

The Vice President added that although Ghana had made significant progress in poverty reduction with over two million citizens no longer living in poverty, the country could leverage Earth Observation to solve challenges that had arisen as a result.

Dr Bawumia attributed the decline in poverty to widened access to education, jobs, higher agricultural production, and rapid urbanization.

However, he warned that the rapid urban growth was putting pressure on Ghanaian cities, which were growing comparatively faster than larger ones, contributing to the unplanned spatial expansion of big cities, which was threatening economic efficiency and increasing social and environmental costs for urban commuting.

Existing efforts to tackle these challenges will require accurate, global, and timely data and information to support sustainable development in the country. “Earth observation systems could easily be used to track and, in some instances, minimize the negative impact of these environmental problems,” he said.

Consequently, he said Ghana was applying the products of the Digital Earth Africa program to monitor landscape changes because of illegal mining activities.

“Developing an interoperable data ecosystem that combines Earth observation data with other data, including socioeconomic data, citizen data, and statistical data, among others, would be more meaningful and impactful.”

“Our development priorities are focused on economic transformation through value addition to create jobs, reduce poverty, and enhance social inclusion while sustaining the integrity of our environment.” Our medium- and long-term development plans are underpinned by the “Ghana Beyond Aid” vision to change the mindsets of our citizens towards an increased reliance on internal resources plus private sector investment to lead economic transformation.

“The application of digital technologies is fundamental to the achievement of the “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda, with emphasis on the maximization of resources, investments in agriculture, improved health, and industrialization, enhancing critical skills and education, and promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

Dr. Bawumia said the government was finalizing a new digital economy policy and a digital transformation blueprint to position Ghana as the leader in ICT innovation in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The ongoing Ghana Digital Acceleration Project is expected to increase access to mobile internet and broadband services by encouraging private sector investment in last-mile connectivity in underserved and rural areas, with particular attention to women, persons with disabilities, and the youth,” he said.

Source: Graphiconline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAEC urges government to prioritize space science ahead of GEO Week 2022

The Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has urged the government to prioritize space science because it holds the key to the country’s development.

Speaking ahead of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Week 2022, which will start from October 31, 2022, to November 4, 2022, at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), the Manager of the Remote Sensing and Climate Centre (RSCC) at the GSSTI, Mr. Kofi Asare, said the use of space technology is critical in addressing the environmental challenges facing the country through innovative agriculture monitoring for improved food security, crop yield estimation and prediction, weather forecasting, monitoring of water resources, monitoring mining activities and monitoring coastal resources, among others.

“Indeed, we are all consumers of space products. In our daily lives, we use it for electronic banking, GPS navigation, wi-fi and satellite television, and cloud-based data storage, among others, “he added.

According to Mr Asare, this is the first time GEO Week will be convened in Accra, Ghana. He further noted that the world’s attention would be focused on Africa this November because, besides Ghana hosting GEO Week 2022, Egypt is also hosting COP 27. The gathering at GEO Week 2022, he said, would showcase how international cooperation is accelerating the use of earth observation as proof of local impact, both in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

He noted that the GSSTI would be partaking in this year’s event to showcase its technology and innovations in earth observation data, saying that the institute has a lot to offer and contribute to the country’s development once the necessary support is given to it.

“On the second day of the event, GSSTI will be participating in two side events where the Director of GSSTI, Prof. Shiloh K. D., will speak on the topic, Evidence-based decisions and impact through National GEOs, and take part in a panel discussion leading to the formation of National GEO for Ghana. Later in the afternoon, Mr Asare will speak on the theme “Innovative agriculture monitoring for increased food security” with a focus on crop monitoring using Earth Observation data over Northern Ghana,” he noted.

The GEO Week 2022 is on the theme: “Global Action for Local Impact”, and its aim at highlighting how the use of earth observations can help support action on climate change, biodiversity loss, the ocean, nature-based solutions, and tackling the food security crisis.

GAEC senior members meet to discuss promotion criteria

A day seminar on promotion criteria has been held for senior members in administration of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) at Kwabenya in Accra.

The focus of the seminar, which took place on Thursday, July 28, 2022, was to bring the senior members up-to-speed on what is required of them and how to prepare for promotions within the Commission.

The event, which was chaired by the Deputy Director-General of the Commission, Prof. Dickson Adomako, was organized by the office of the Director of Administration, Mr. William Srekumah.

Addressing the Senior Members at the Seminar, Prof. Dickson Adomako said discussions on the promotion criteria in the Commission had become necessary because promotion must address a need and the work worth must equal the salary.

The Deputy Director-General of GAEC, Prof. Dickson Adomako (standing) speaking to GAEC senior members

Prof. Adomako, therefore, admonished the senior members to add value to their work by acquiring additional knowledge, improving themselves academically, and going the extra mile to produce quality work. He also urged them to stay current on global trends in order to remain competitive.

“Each member of staff must be aware of what is going on in all of the institutes, not just the directorate under which they work,” he added.

He urged them to go above and beyond their core responsibilities in order to be relevant in the scheme of work and to help the Commission grow.

Prof. Adomako explained that promotion to the next grade and level of a career will be more competitive than before, and that those aspiring to the principal grade must have published their research papers in a peer-reviewed journal. “We are changing the dynamics,” he emphasized.

He advised the administrators serving at the Commission’s various institutes to maintain discipline and have absolute control over their work, and not to violate the profession’s core tenets.

In a presentation, the Director of Administration, Mr. William Srekumah, focused on the promotion requirements and processes and encouraged the administrators to be excellent and unique in their dealings. “You should not be an ordinary administrator, but rather one with uniqueness and values.” he said.

He explained that as part of the promotion process, candidates must complete six (6) application forms, compile these forms and other documents, and submit them to the Office of the Director-General (DG) through their respective Managers and Directors.

The Director of Administration also stated that the DG would make a written record of the application and forward the documents to the Institutes’ Promotions Committee (IPC) for review, and that the IPC would then notify the candidates of their decisions.

Mr. Srekumah also took the senior members through the application requirements, which he said must cover completed application forms, updated curriculum vitae, work documents, and recommendations from the Managers and Directors of the Centres and the Directorates.

He noted that the work documents must include relevant work experience obtained by staff at that grade, service output in areas such as feasibility reports, manuals, and memoranda that propose and seek to inject change or transformation, and then publications such as technical reports, refereed journals, and others.

“Other requirements include committee membership, administrative experience, and scholarship, such as academic work or degrees,” he added.

Mr. Etornam Akaho, an Administrative Officer with the Commission, led the senior members through some case studies to help them better understand the subject.

By Raymond K. Baxey/CPRC

Mrs. Lellatom bows out of GAEC

Mrs. Juliana Akua Lellatom, the Head of the Registry Department, has bowed out of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) after 17 years of dedicated service.

Joined by colleagues, friends, and some distinguished personalities of the Commission, including the Director-General of GAEC, Prof. Samuel Boakye Dampare; Deputy Director-General of GAEC, Prof. Dickson Adomako; and Director of Administration, Mr. William Srekumah; the curtain on her working life with the GAEC was lowered at a send-off ceremony last Friday, July 29, 2022, at the Commission’s Council Chamber.

The Director-General of GAEC Prof. Samuel Boakye Dampare presenting Mrs. Juliana Akua Lellatom with a plague.

It was a joyful moment in many ways, characterized by the solemn atmosphere even in a brisk working environment; but it also evoked strong emotions—with hints of nostalgia—for Mrs. Lellatom as she reminisced about the good old days and recounted the wonderful working relationships, and experiences.

Soft smiles were mixed with teary eyes as colleagues and friends cheered during her recounts of memorable experiences. Her speech had a single message: retirement is inevitable, so plan ahead of time.

“When you retire, you will realize the value of welfare contributions, and I will encourage you to invest more in such avenues,” she stated.

The Deputy Director-General of GAEC Prof. Dickson Adomako presenting Mrs. Juliana Akua Lellatom with a parting gift.

Mrs. Lellatom expressed gratitude to God for guiding her and giving her the strength to always go about her work. She was also grateful to her colleagues and the entire staff for supporting her throughout her career.

The Director-General of GAEC, Prof. Samuel Boakye Dampare, said the Commission was extremely grateful for Mrs. Lellatom’s contribution to the Commission’s success over the years.

“Under your leadership, you initiated and oversaw the Registry’s transition from a section to a department, which is very commendable,” he noted.

“We will remember and be grateful for your dedication to the Commission. That, however, is not the end of the story. We will keep the Commission’s relationship with you and will contact you whenever we need your assistance,” Prof. Dampare added.

On his part, the Deputy Director-General of GAEC, Prof. Dickson Adomako, extolled Mrs. Lellatom for her good works and for etching her name in GAEC history.

“I keep saying that wherever you go and find yourself, you must leave a legacy, which you have done by initiating and ensuring that the Registry is upgraded from a section to a department. I would like to assure you that we will continually stay in touch and that you are not leaving us entirely,” he said.

Mrs. Lellatom was employed by the GAEC on February 1, 2005. Prior to that, she had worked with the Ghana Education Service (GES) for a about 21 years.

She was first posted to the Radiation Protection Institute (RPI), but was moved to the Nuclear Security Centre, and then to the Radiological Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI), and finally to the Registry Department, where she was appointed the Head of the Registry Department in 2014. During her time at the Achimota Senior High School of the GES and RAMSRI of the GAEC, Mrs. Lellatom received a best worker award.

By Raymond K. Baxey/CPRC

 

GAEC hosts radiation protection and safety training for radiographers

The Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) will host a five-day training course on radiation protection and safety in Accra, from the September 26 – 30, 2022.

This year’s training is designed to provide radiographers and X-ray technicians with knowledge of emerging trends in practical radiation protection and safety in their field, allowing them to avoid potential health risks associated with ionizing radiation to staff, patients, and the general public.

RPI facilitators leading a training session with previous participants

According to the Deputy Director of RPI, Prof. Stephen Inkoom, it is a requirement for Ghana to at all times meet the Basic Safety Standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) through the training of radiographers and X-ray technicians whose jobs involve exposure to radiation.

Prof. Inkoom mentioned that Ghana continues to transit its radiography practices from film screen to digital radiography. “Digital radiography technologies have advantages of availability, flexibility, and convenience over conventional screen-film” he added.

Previous participants in a training session

“When it comes to radiation protection and safety, digital radiography presents its own set of unique challenges. For example, over or underexposure of radiation to patients is difficult to detect as compared to film screen. Participants will receive training as a result to stay up to date in this field”, he said.

He stated NRA, has authorized RPI of GAEC as a Technical Support Organization (TSO) to provide several services including Radiation Protection Training Services.

In this training course, apart from modules drawn from the National Policy for Education and Training in Radiation Protection, Transport and Waste Safety training modules, and the IAEA standardised training modules, “participants will also use the Ionizing Radiation Safety Training Manual developed by RPI from a collaborative project with the Skills Development Fund, Ghana, and be awarded certificates at the end of the training course,” he noted.

According to Prof. Inkoom, although the training course is mainly targeted at Radiographers, X-ray Technicians, Biomedical Engineers, Radiologists, Physicians, Medical Physicists, etc., can also attend, adding: “participants stand to gain credit points from the Allied Health Professions Council of Ghana as part of their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and career progression.”

Topics to be treated include Occupational Ionizing Radiation Protection, X-ray Imaging Safety in Pediatrics and Pregnant Women, Decommissioning of X-ray machine procedures, Safe uses of X-ray, Radiation Protection in Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine.

The others are emerging trends in Diagnostic Imaging, Radiation Protection Trends in Medical Exposure, and Practical Radiation Protection in Digital Radiology. There will also be a practical exercise on key parameters that have affect patient dose at a Diagnostic Imaging Facility.

By Exornam Awudi and Raymond K. Baxey/CPRC