A Senior Scientist at the Accelerator Research Center of GAEC, Dr. Amos Forson has stated that data from his research on the origin of the people of Wenchi buttresses their long-held belief that their ancestors came from a hole.
He made this comment at the maiden edition of the GAEC Seminar Series held on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.
Dr. Forson revealed that contrary to the written history about the origin of his people, scientific evidence proves otherwise. “Their history as was mostly written by the Europeans indicates that they migrated from Middle Niger in the 17th century and settled at Bonoso before relocating to their current location, Wenchi. However, results from radiometric dating from the Bonoso Site suggest that the people inhabited that land long (about 400 years) before then.”, he said.
He specifically stated that the results showed that the Bonoso Archaeological Site was inhabited continuously for about 500 years, 610AD (7th century) to 1160AD (12 century) and therefore rejects the Scholarly assertions that Bonoso was just occupied in the 17th Century. “Western-written documentation on Ghana’s past has superficial time-depth going only as far back as the fifteenth century AD”, he added.
He was giving a presentation on “The Vital Role and Application of Accelerator-Based Techniques in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Research for the Development of Archaeo-Tourism Industry in Ghana for National Development”
Dr. Forson stated that Ghana has a high number of excellent and very rich cultural heritage and several historic and archaeological sites, as well as valuable assets. These he said have potentials of becoming major educational and Archaeo-tourists attractions in the country when developed and preserved. “But this is not so”, he lamented.
He said that stakeholders have a huge task of correcting our negative image and providing an authentic reconstruction of past heritage for the development of Ghana’s Archaeological tourism (Archaeo-tourism). “This can be achieved through promoting public interest in archaeology and the conservation of historical and archaeological sites, museums, monuments, Palaces, interpretation centers, etc.”, he added.
He urged that there is an urgent need for the application of appropriate scientific technique(s), to investigate Valuable Heritage materials, potential Archaeological sites, and artifacts.
Cultural heritage studies involve the investigation and analyses of cultural heritage materials such as inorganic (eg; Pottery, beads) and Organic materials (eg; Bones, Charcoal paper, etc).
His work utilized an Accelerator ion Beam Analysis (IBA) and Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Radiocarbon Dating (AMS-14C Dating). Although there are other techniques mostly used for elemental characterization of Archaeological materials, such as Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS), X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission (ICP-OES), Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) and Laser Ablation (LA), accelerator-based techniques in recent times have been the most successfully applied technology in the field of Cultural Heritage studies.
The Seminar series is a Ghana Atomic Energy Commission monthly presentation session on scientific findings and innovations and their relation to the socio-economic development of Ghana.
“Estimates of Age-Standardized ratios of cervical cancer prevalence for Ghana (35.4), are higher than those of Benin (29.0), Burkina Faso (23.3) and Cote d’Ivoire (21.7)”.
A revelation made by Dr. Adolf Kofi Awua, a Senior Research Scientist at the Cellular and Clinical Research Centre of GAEC. He made this statement during his presentation at the February edition of the GAEC monthly Seminar series.
His presentation on the topic, “A tailored within-Community Specimen Collection Strategy Increased Uptake of Cervical Cancer Screening and the Detection of non-Vaccine-type HPV in a Cross-Sectional Study in Ghana”, focused on risk factors, screening, preventive measures and prevalence rates among others.
He indicated that when it comes to cervical cancer prevention, there are three types of Vaccines against the sexually-transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – the causative agent. “It also takes a long time (about 15 years) before the severe form of the disease develops”, he added
According to Dr. Awua, pre-cancer lesions are detectable using effective screening tools, and early detection means the disease can be completely cured. He added that cervical cancer is the most preventable of all cancers. “While some countries are working towards Elimination Programmes, Ghana still doesn’t have a Control nor a Prevention Programme”, he lamented.
He opined that Ghana does not have a cancer prevention programme, most probably due to the constant habit of officials acting only when there is an observable large effect of disease among the population.
Again, he indicated that low levels of knowledge and understanding limit the populace from taking appropriate actions until it is too late. “Without a cervical cancer prevention programme, Ghana will continue to see cervical cancer cases at the late stages of the disease at our treatment centres and each death due to cervical cancer in Ghana is a tragedy that should have been prevented”, he cautioned.
In her closing remarks, the chairperson of the programme, Prof. Mary Boadu, who is also the Director of the Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute, added that treatment of cervical cancer is very expensive and a better way is to prevent it from developing in the first place. “There is, therefore, the need for increased preventive awareness creation and expansion of facilities to cater to Ghana and the subregion”, she added.
She thanked the organizers and other participants for coming in their numbers and making the programme a success. Present at the seminar were Research Scientists, Technologists, Administrators and other Staff of GAEC.
The Research Scientists Association (RSA) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has ended its three day celebrations with a call on government and major stakeholders to employ nuclear technology in pursuing reliable electricity supply and production as well as ensuring an agenda to apply nuclear technology to health care, particularly in the treatment of cancer, tuberculosis, malnutrition and a number of others.
The calls by Dr. Vincent Agbodemegbe, Manager of Localization and Stakeholder Support Center of the Nuclear Power Institute and Dr. Francis Hasford, Head of Medical Physics of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission respectively formed part of a public lecture at the British Council in Accra on Thursday as part of the Research Scientists Association’s maiden weeklong celebrations.
The RSA with membership at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Authority organized the public lecture as part of the RSA week celebration 2019 themed: “Ghana beyond aid: the role of nuclear technology.’
The aim of the lecture was to educate the general public on the peaceful application of nuclear in medicine and for the generation in electricity for the country.
To ensure dependable electricity supply, Dr. Vincent Agbodemegbe called for the pursue of nuclear technology which he said was a proven means of ensuring sustainable electricity which is the key energy component that supports and sustains national growth.
To ensure the dependence on electricity as a key energy component that supports and sustains national growth, Dr. Vincent Agbodemegbe said nuclear technology was the way to go as it remained a proven means of ensuring dependable electricity supply.
Speaking on the topic, “Sustainable Power Generation, the Nuclear Position,” the Manager Of Localization And Stakeholder Support Center of the Nuclear Power Institute argued that Ghana stood a good chance of creating wealth for its citizens and growing its economy if it could deliver affordable and dependable electricity power to its citizens, adding that most countries grew their economies and became prosperous with the provision of cheap and reliable electric power to their citizens.
He urged the Research Scientists’ Association to engage the public on the benefits of Ghana going nuclear especially with nuclear opportunities providing the needed energy for development and job creation.
Dr. Agbodemegbe described nuclear technology as presenting a comprehensive resolution to ensuring the effectiveness of Ghana’s economy, especially as key sectors that facilitated economic growth relied on electricity.
Dr. Francis Hasford who spoke on the theme, “Ghana Beyond Aid: Nuclear Technology for Better Health” recounted Ghana’s history of its agenda to resort to the use of nuclear technology in treating various health conditions including cancer.
According to him, there was the need for the full coverage of cancer care in the National Health Insurance Scheme, and the full implementation of the National Cancer Control Program.
With the active working age group usually affected with cancer, Dr. Francis Hasford said the technology was an effective option in detecting and curing the disease.
He called for adequate education on and screening to detect cancer in its early stages to back efforts at achieving the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda in the health sector, adding that there should be satisfactory numbers of medical imaging and radiotherapy centers, as well as trained professionals.
Chairman for the occasion and a Board Member of GAEC, Professor Alexander Kwadwo while acknowledging the RSA’s proximity to the Agriculture, Energy, Education and Health Ministries noted that the association’s work was critical to the development of the nation.
He described the theme as very apt as it underscored the peaceful use of nuclear technology as its works had the potential of pushing the country’s economic development.
Representing the Director General Of The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Director Of The Radiological And Medical Sciences Research Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Prof Mary Boadu said the RSA’s weeklong celebration was in response to the need for research scientists to make the findings of their work known to the public and clearly reveal their role in the development of Ghana.
According to her, research output should no longer be on the shelves of libraries nor in the laboratories.
Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy, Ing. Seth Manu who underscored the vital role energy played in every economy said one cannot talk about the economy without first talking about energy. “Energy we say is the economy and the economy is energy,” he said, adding that the development was the reason the Ministry of Energy saw the importance of nuclear and other sustainable energy.
He said the Ministry of Energy through its affiliated institution and agencies, was progressively making the required efforts at improving Ghana’s energy situation as it was closely working with all stakeholders to achieve an efficient energy mix that will power the development of our dear nation Ghana, arguing that the need for sustainable, reliable, resilient and renewable energy as base-load is critical for the country’s development.
While acknowledging that the role of nuclear energy cannot be over emphasized, the Chief Director said what Ghana needed was adequate education of the public in this regard with the assurance that the Ministry of Energy as the parent ministry driving the nuclear energy development agenda, would continue to play a leadership role by contributing to the efforts of the RSA towards achieving the necessary education and awareness through strategically planning and mobilizing resources for the attainment of the country’s collective goal.
Ghana’s nuclear journey which began in the 1960s with the construction of the nuclear reactor was designed for experimental work in the field of nuclear and atomic physics. In addition to provision of nuclear power, it was to serve as a focal point for research works involving nuclear techniques in biology, agriculture, medicine, physics and chemistry.
In health, non-communicable diseases like cancers can be managed using the nuclear technology for both diagnosis (using CT, mammography, x-rays) for treatment.
There is currently a Cancer Control Strategy which comprises prevention, early detection (diagnosis and screening) treatment and palliative care. Currently, Ghana needs to increase the number of cancer treatment centers in Ghana.
The nuclear deal is the real green deal which would provide the needed energy for industrialization, job creation which would provide the needed energy for industrialization, job creation and dealing with the climate change.
The way forward therefore is for the research scientists association to also engage the public on the benefits of Ghana going nuclear.
Deputy Minister for Environment Science Technology and Innovations, Hon. Patricia Appiagyei, has called on the Ghana Electronic Servicing Technicians Association (GESTA) to increase the participation of female Electronic Technicians in the Competency Based Training Programme (CBT).
She made the call at the first graduation ceremony of Master Craft Persons in Electronics, who were trained under an initiative of the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), dubbed CBT.
The initiative, sponsored by the German and Ghana Governments saw the graduation of 90 leaners after six months of intensive training in Proficiency one (P1) course in electronics. Four Institutions namely; Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Accra Institute of Technology (AIT), Accra Technical Training Centre (ATTC) and Tema Technical Institute trained the graduands.
Aside from Electronics, the graduands were taken through generic courses like English, Mathematics, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and Entrepreneurship.
Addressing the gathering at a ceremony held at GAEC, Accra, Hon. Patricia Appiagyei advised the graduands to put the skills acquired to good use for their economic empowerment.
She advised that females should be included in this great opportunity of competency training for the informal sector.
The Executive Director of COTVET, Mr. Fred Kyei Asamoah, who delivered the keynote address on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Education, in charge of Technical and Vocational Education (TVET), Hon. Gifty Twum Ampofo, noted that the TVET programme is one of President Akuffo Addo’s means to improve Ghana’s informal sector.
He added that the President is keen on making Ghana the Centre of Excellence for TVET programmes. “This requires the standardization of most of the training done at the informal sector to meet industry demands”, he added. He commended GESTA for the efforts put in to make the programme successful.
Mr. Kyei Asamoah who doubled as the chairman for the occasion revealed that COTVET is working with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Private Enterprises Foundation, various government Ministries and Departments, development partners and other relevant bodies to set up a permanent body to generate standards for the CBT.
“The five year strategic plan approved by cabinet in 2017, focuses on areas such as Agriculture, Industry, Tourism and Hospitality, Strategic Manufacturing, Electricity, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)”, he added.
The President for GESTA, Mr. Andrew Gyan, expressed gratitude to the German and Ghana governments for sponsoring the training programme through COTVET.
He said that the association’s vision is to ensure that modern technicians are offering quality service delivery. He expressed joy at some of their finished products including amplifiers, power inverters, automatic traffic lights, among others.
He encouraged other electronic technicians across the country to register with GESTA in order to tap into the vast opportunities available to members. “The competencies that we have acquired are what we will use to develop this country Ghana”, he concluded.
By: Thykingdom Kudesey, Office of Corporate and Public Affairs (OCPA) – GAEC
The Radiation Protection Institute (RPI), through the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), has inaugurated a Radon laboratory with a state-of-the-art Radosys Radometer 2000 equipment for research, training and routine monitoring.
The laboratory, which is the first of its kind in Africa is a collaborative effort between the GAEC and the Regional Agency for Radiation Protection in Ivrea, Piemonte and Udine, FVG, all in Italy.
Madam Patricia Appiagyei, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), at the inauguration in Accra on Tuesday, said Radon was a naturally-occurring radioactive gas, which emanated from the decay of uranium over a period of time, and existed in the atmosphere in small amount.
She said although it cannot be smelled, seen or tasted, radon presented considerable health consequences, especially when trapped indoors in places including; homes, schools and workplaces, and breathing in over a period of time, increases one’s risk to lung cancer, which was the number one cause of related deaths among non-smokers globally
Madam Appiagyei said in many developing countries including; Ghana, activities leading to the exposure of radon and other decay products in the environment were extensively investigated and subjected to regulatory control as a result of lack of appropriate equipment to meet research standards in the area of natural radioactivity.
She said data on radon concentration in local and processed materials, residues and wastes, as well as in buildings, and exposure of the population were scanty, leading to a general lack of knowledge and awareness of the hazards by the public including; legislators, regulators, operators and decision makers.
She stressed the importance of the health and well-being of Ghanaians in the achievement of sustainable development, and said the effective way to determine the risk of exposure to radon gas was by measuring the levels in dwelling and workplaces, and improving ventilation systems of buildings in order to increase the rate of air exchange.
However, “considering the type of the buildings being developed in Ghana lately, that incorporate modern architecture such as aluminum and glass doors and windows, with increasing use of air conditioners, which kept majority of these indoor environment air-tight from natural ventilation, the radon gas can accumulate over a period of time,” she said.
Madam Appiagyei commended the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Italian partners and Radosys of Portugal, through whose guidance and technical support, the GAEC have been able to acquire the facility.
She urged the RPI and other key stakeholders to continue with interventions to promote public, occupational and environmental radiation health safety and also develop programmes that were directly related to the present national, regional and global development needs.
Professor Benjamin Jabez B. Nyarko, the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Nyarko said the facility would ensure more accurate measurements and establishment of standards, improving research, training, and technical services in the area of radiation protection and safety at GAEC, help in creating public awareness about the harmful effects of ironising radiation and radon in particular.
He was hopeful that the new facility would aid in acquiring data, that would be important in formulating guidelines for radon exposure mapping and strategy for the control of radiation exposure in Ghana, and create a pragmatic focus to multidisciplinary research that would help the RPI to attract new research collaboration and external funding.
Again, data on radon could be used for studying seismic activities to predict earthquake occurrence and exploring for uranium resources, and further, for determining movement of Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere in relation to climate change, he said.
Prof. Nyarko said the facility would complement the Institute’s effort in training scientists both in GAEC and others from institutions of higher learning who were engaged in radiological health and safety issues, by providing them with the needed skills to carry out measurement, analysis and interpretation of Radon and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM).
“Students, researchers and others will also have the unique opportunity to explore areas that extend beyond their boundaries of conventional academics within their faculties,” and urged the Institute as it intensifies research and training in radiation protection to cover homes and workplaces, chemical waste and the extractive industries in particular the mining, oil and gas sectors.
Mr Paulo Pinto, the Managing Partner, of Radosys, Atlantic of Portugal, who did the installation of the equipment and staff training, testified to the high standard of the facility, and appreciated the collaboration with GAEC.