Sir Sam Jonah calls on citizens to be active in governance

By Mildred Siabi-Mensah

Apremdo (WR) Sept. 8, GNA – Dr Sir Sam Jonah, the Chancellor of University of Cape Coast (UCC), says Ghanaians must rise and actively play their civic role in the governance processes. 

He said, inspiring freedom and justice, standing up against wrongs in society and not shielding ill deeds among public officers in particular, would help the country to achieve the needed growth in real time. 

Dr Jonah, who was the key speaker at the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), said the silence of Ghanaians and professional bodies, could not be an option in this critical stage of the country’s life. 

The AGM was under the theme: “Pharmacist for National Development.” 

Dr Jonah said silence was not the option thus, the need to wake up and be counted among “the voices of the voiceless.”    

He said professionals like PSGH were key to national development and could make a tremendous difference in society. 

He said another was the infiltration and dumping of sub-standard medicine across Africa’s sub-region where out of 100 drugs imported, about 18. 7 per cent were fake, killing about a million people, annually and a subject which must engender national discussion for change. 

“He asked “Who imports and sell these drugs?  Hundreds of thousands of children die in the administration of counterfeit medicines.  Are we sacrificing these children for money or covering up these murderers. Where are your outrages. Where are the courageous pharmacists among you?  You need to stand up and speak. Silence is not an option.” 

Dr Jonah argued that key institutions for check and balance had been compromised, leaving the youth with no hope, so “We must do all we can to eliminate corruption and prevent it from becoming the norm” calling on leadership to show the way. 

He said the PSGH must be heard on national issues like corruption because the canker deterred investment, made life unbearable, reduced economic growth and   the development of the society. 

“Be active citizens and speak out. You are powerful professional and need to recognise  that you have the power, speak with your professional voices for the sake of our children and grandchildren and save this country and the future. In these troubling times, silence is not an option,” he added. 

Dr Jonah described the degradation of forest cover, pollution and poisoning of water bodies like River Pra, caused by illegal mining as “not proper” and example of the erosion of values and self-respect. 

 He noted that despite the plunder and pollution of Ghana’s valuable resources, the   perpetrators “got away with” …. The challenge was not about the laws, but, with enforcement. 

“There is power in the truth, truth is eternal, learn to speak to power the truth is liberty, freedom and justice and right,” Dr Jonah said. 

Dr Jonah, stressed the need for Ghana’s pharmaceutical industry to apply cutting edge tools, including research, innovations and good laboratory practices, working with actors like Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and scientific community, to develop all active pharmaceutical   ingredients to reduce imports and cure substandard drugs. 

These efforts, he noted, could be in the form of joint venture with local partners or investors and governments backed by World Health Organisation (WHO) certifications and liberalization regimes to meet local demands.