47 receive national awards for iconic service
A total of 47 Ghanaians were on Tuesday awarded in Accra for their iconic services and contributions to national development.
The recipients were decorated with medals and sashes in three categories under the Order of the Volta, the second highest decoration of Ghana, awarded to people for their outstanding service to the country.
Among the recipients were the first Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Prof. Akwasi Osei; Ghana’s first female Commissioner of Police, Margaret Sarpong Darkwah; a renowned philosopher, Prof. Johnson Kwasi Wiredu, and a crop scientist, Dr Veronica Agartha Martinson, who were all honoured with the national honour of Order of the Volta, Companion.
Veronica Bekoe, the designer of the Veronica Bucket that received international recognition for the washing of hands was also given an individual award, the Order of the Volta, Companion.
Others included members of the National COVID-19 Task Force, trustees of the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund and the team that executed and won Ghana’s case at the International Tribunal for the Laws of the Sea against Cote d’Ivoire.
The event also paid homage to 19,557 frontline health workers across the country for their roles in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as individuals and organisations that supported the fight.
Presenting the awards, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said the awards were purely a national event, devoid of partisan, ethnic or religious considerations and organised solely for the recipients whose work and contribution had benefited the country.
Justifying the awards for those who gave of their best during the COVID-19 pandemic, he recounted the difficult times and the comprehensive strategy the government adopted to secure the priority, health and safety of the Ghanaian.
He said the country was in serious times when “we were restrained from shaking hands with one another, keep a distance from one another and put up with the discomfort anytime we left our homes.”
Although the country was in difficult times, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the pandemic inspired the entrepreneurial and ingenuous spirit of Ghanaians, which deepened the country’s self-reliance, leading to increased production of sanitiser, liquid soap and other essentials locally.
He said the country was able to procure GH¢81 million worth of locally manufactured scrubs, hospital gowns, face masks, among others, for health workers and students who wrote their final examinations.
He noted that Ghana pioneered life-saving innovations that the World Health Organisation replicated elsewhere.
He said the country’s relative success in winning the fight against the COVID-19 was a testament of the tireless work of researchers, scientists, advisors, public health managers, frontline workers, contact tracers, the security services and FBOs.
The awards, he said, were to express the country’s appreciation to all those who helped in diverse ways to fight the pandemic.
On recognizing those who led Ghana’s court case to secure the western border and its oil deposits, President Akufo-Addo lauded the collective effort played by successive governments and groups of individuals saying that it “cannot be overlooked, discounted or understated”.
He said the judgment had ensured that the country’s western maritime boundary was intact, bring finality to a matter that had been hanging for over five decades.
He said contrary to fears, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire still maintained great bonds of cooperation and a strategic partnership agreement.
On behalf of the awardees, Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, a former Deputy Director-General of the WHO and Coordinator of Ghana’s COVID-19 Response Programme, expressed their appreciation for the honour and recognition, saying that would encourage them and others to continue to work for the good of the nation.
He commended President Akufo-Addo for showing leadership during the fight against the pandemic.
BY TIMES REPORTER