Ghana Salutes Dr Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi and his team

Tue, 21 Dec 2004 Source: Jeffrey, Peter Nee

...of Researchers of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

The report on Ghana web (19/12/04) that researchers at K.N.U.S.T are on the verge finding a cure for HIV/AIDS shows that with the right equipments and facilities our scientists can compete with any medical institution in the world.

In my earlier article which was a rejoinder to Quaye?s (University of Ghana Medical Centre ? a Rejoinder) we both argue that by establishing Medical Centres at the campus of Legon and K.N.U.S.T Medical schools would afford our medical students the opportunity to be close to those centres and enable them to concentrate on what the nation requires of them. I commented on the reason behind the brain drain of our medical professionals and stated that it is not the monetary aspect that makes them leave the country, but the lack of proper research facilities impact greatly on their decision to move abroad. In an interview that I conducted in Nigeria (University of Nigeria Medical School, Nsuka), my interviewees (all medical graduates and were emigrating to the Western World Universities on scholarships) cited the lack of infrastructure as the reason of not thinking of coming back to serve the homeland??..a sad reflection of how our governments are failing to grasp the importance of our scientists to our developments in Africa. The students that I interviewed were from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Gambia.

The fact that Dr Ebenezer Terlabi has to appeal to NGOs to assist his team acquires Viral Load/CD count determinant machine should shame our policy makers. The NGOs who will assist acquire this machine will come with strings attach. And the patent for the medicine will surely be snap up by a Pharmaceutical MNC from the home country of that NGO. We in Diaspora will be watching this development with keen interest and will be prepared to challenge any MNC that would be foolish enough to take this away from Ghana. This will be vigorously resisted and will be given a wide publicity in the international media.

Our medical schools should be well funded to allow our brilliant scientists; people like Dr Terlabi and his team who have chose to remain in the homeland, the opportunity to carry out more research into such opportunistic disease such as Malaria and TB to find a cure. In my article supporting Quaye?s I argue for a Tropical Medical Centre to be establish at our 4th University, The University of Development Studies, Tamale, to ease the pressure on Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Medical School. The reason that I gave was, as we move forward towards our goal of Vision 2020, we will be flooded with a whole lot of problems from the sub-Region that will demand more research into various illnesses and thus our Medical schools, perhaps the finest in the whole of West Africa, the opportunity to take on these tasks. Thus it is imperative that we modernise and equipped our medical schools now before it becomes too late.

Dr Terlabi and his team of researchers should be given all the help and machinery that they need. To start with s Trust fund should be set up using our large inflows from the Diaspora community (our constituency). Those politicians who think the Diaspora constituency do not matter are living in cloud cuckoo land. (See my compatriot Kwaku S. Asare?s article on Ghana web 20/12/04). These large inflows are what are fuelling the spending of the middle class in Ghana. They are riding on the back of our hard earn money that we are remitting to the country. Those who do know understand the role Skill Migrants play in a country?s development should be reminded that once we stop remitting and start calling for accountability??the impact on the homeland will be negative and defeat all the hard work everyone put in. Kwaku Asare should be commended for taking on the vested interests who are know in the literature as ?Rent Seekers????????parasites.

When Kwaku Asare and Guy Foxx (Ghana web feature articles 20/12/04) called for accountability and respect of law, they are echoing the frustrations of the Diaspora constituency about the way politicians and businessmen tend to bend the rules to further their ?Nest?. Those of our constituency who did answer the call of duty, such as Mr Kwame Pianin, Minister Alan Kyeremanten, Dr Aquah and countless others should educate those ministers and other party functionaries about the importance of respecting institutions and laws of the land. They should be reminded that corruption and blatant abuse of power will not wash this time. Ghanaians are enlightened and knows that the country comes before self. Gone are the days of BIG MAN attitude. On this note I will appeal to the NPP government to pay more attention to what we the Diaspora constituency are saying and help our institutions as the nation head towards our objective of achieving middle income status in 2020.

This is a VISION that we all share. The urgency shown by all (both the Diaspora constituency and at home) towards our goal of achieving middle income status was the dream of our founding fathers (The Big 6). It has taken us 47 years to realise that the importance of developing our country should come before self. The dream of young Alhassan in Tamale, young Osei in Kumasi, young Yao in Ho, young Ato in Cape Coast, young Kwesi in Sekondi, young Boahen in Suyani, young Kwame in Akropon and young Nii in Accra are the same??. That is to look towards the day that they would not have to worry about the next meal, or the chair to sit on in the classroom or how their parents can afford their medication against opportunistic illness like TB. The futures of these youngsters are in our hands. The future of Ghana is in our hands. As these youngsters sing ?GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA? every morning at the school parade grounds right across the country, their future lies in our hands NOW. Their dream of better Ghana is our dream NOW. This is also the dream of our representatives, as they pass laws in parliament, they too will be putting in place the laws that will guide us as we march towards our cherish DREAM of VISION 2020. This too was the dream behind Dr Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi and his team during their research into the cure of HIV/AIDS?????Better Ghana.

Our Bankers, Teachers and others all share the same dream. Some of us might not be here when this dream becomes reality in 2020, but the fact that we all share the same dream??.means we can and should achieve this goal of middle income status for the children of Ghana. We cannot afford to repeat our past mistakes???that is why we should encourage selfless professionals like Dr Terlabi and others.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter Nee

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