BNARI Gets New Director

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) appointed Dr. Micheal Yao Osae as the new Director of the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) in a short ceremony organized in Accra.

In his opening remarks, the Director-General (DG) of GAEC, Prof. B.J.B Nyarko, commended Prof. Kenneth Danso (the outgoing Director) for his consistency in keeping the Institute actively running even in times of difficulty. He also congratulated Dr. Osae for his new role and called on all staff of the Institute to offer him the needed unconditional support.

Prof. Danso in a short address expressed gratitude for the opportunity offered him by the DG and Management of the Commission to serve for two terms (8years).

Prof. Danso has been credited with significant successes during his tenure in the areas of research, development, and commercialization. One such success under his leadership was the Institute’s collaboration with the University of Cape Coast to release a high starch content, beta carotene fortified and Vitamin A enriched cassava varieties.

The Institute also received a grant from the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) to expand the production of protein bait for the control of mango fruit flies in Ghana. Additionally, Prof Danso’s stewardship also led to the recognition and elevation of BNARI by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), resulting in the training of more scientific staff from Ghana in the area of mutation breeding.

He has played key roles in ensuring capacity building of staff through the acquisition of a flow cytometer – a sophisticated equipment used to detect and measure the physical and chemical characteristics of a population of cells or particles. He also initiated the processes for the procurement of a Near Infrared (NIR) spectrometer for the Institute.

Finally, he championed the development of new products at the Radiation Technology Centre (RTC) of the Institute and the introduction of the floriculture project for GAEC. Among the many achievements, he was also instrumental in the introduction of commercial poultry production at the Institute.

Dr. Michael Osae, in his acceptance speech was thankful for the opportunity given him to serve as the Head of the Institute. “I want to transform BNARI into a world-class research-intensive Institute, one of the foremost centres of excellence in biotechnology and nuclear techniques in agriculture with support from my abled staff”, he added.

He explained that to achieve this vision, his administration will be first, a human resource focused, with the goal of motivating staff to put in their very best.

He also plans to establish the first-ever agriculture-based laboratory with the capacity to perform all laboratory tests required in the agricultural sector to enhance research output as well as create avenues for generating funds through technical and laboratory services. “With regards to research and development, my administration will chart a new course”, he revealed.

Dr. Michael Osae briefly served as the Deputy Director of BNARI after serving as the Manager of the Radiation Entomology and Pest Management Centre (REPMC) for a period of 10 years. He is an accomplished agricultural entomologist and a Principal Research Scientist.

Present at the ceremony were the Deputy Director-General, Prof. Dedeh Shiloh Osae, Director of Administration, Mr. Felix Adeku, Director of Finance Mr. Cyprian Basing and the Director of Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI), Prof. Mary Boadu.

 

Established in 1993, the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) is one of the research, development and technology transfer Institutes of GAEC.

 

The Institute currently has six centres namely; the Biotechnology Centre, Radiation Technology Centre, Radiation Entomology and Pest Management Centre, Soil and Environmental Sciences Research Centre, Nuclear Agriculture Research Centre and Socio-Economics and Commercialisation Centre. The main objective of the Institute is to be the leading institution that provides sustainable solutions to challenges in agriculture, health, and industry through the application of biotechnology and nuclear science interventions.

 

By: Office of Cooperate and Public Affairs, GAEC.

People of Wenchi From A Hole – GAEC Scientist

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.

By: Office of Cooperate and Public Affairs, GAEC

Ghana’s Cervical Cancer Prevalence Highest in The Subregion

“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.

By: Office of Cooperate and Public Affairs, GAEC

Scientists call for Nuclear Technology in Energy, Health Sectors

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.

    Dr. Francis Hasford

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.

Cross-section of the public

 

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. Vincent Agbodemegbe

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.

Source:ghanaweb.com

Deputy Minister Calls for more Women inclusion in Competency Based Training (CBT)

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