East African Community ministers responsible for social development met in Bujumbura in October and urged the fast-tracking of an integrated e-health regional information network to identify, confirm and respond rapidly to outbreaks of diseases with international ramifications.
That’s the good news.
The not so good news is that this project was due to be piloted in 2007.
The Executive Director of the West African Network for Peace-building (WANEP), has challenged the government and peace-building partners to adopt a different attitude towards conflict resolution by redirecting their energies and resources towards the utilisation of early warning signals. According to Mr Emmnauel Bombande, the fire-fighting mechanisms that were used to tackle violent conflicts when they arose would not yield sustainable results, but only provide temporary relief. He gave the challenge in Tamale when he launched a National Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) to assist the security and peace analysts with timely information on security threats in various parts of the country, especially those identified as hot spots. The EWRS, which had been dubbed ‘Ghanawarn”, is a web-based system designed to capture early warning information on possible crime and conflicts in the form of incident and situational reports so as to elicit early response.
It is the second of that sort in Sub-Saharan Africa introduced into Ghana by the Ghana Network for Peace-building (GHANEP). A database centre had been situated in Tamale, at the GHANEP Secretariat, to co-ordinate and publish relevant information on the Ghanawarn website.
The acting National Network Co-ordinator of GHANEP, Mr Hafiz Muntaka, explained that the database was built such that it could receive incident and situation reports from 75 trained members of Community Surveillance Teams (CSTs) in 15 selected pilot communities in five regions. “Members of the CSTs have been provided with mobile phones to enable them to communicate swiftly with the database centre.
Mr Muntaka further pointed out that the Ghanawarn was not an espionage system or a replication of the state security’s intelligence, but an additional empowerment tool for the security. “When fully operational, the database will serve as a source of information to be exploited by the security agencies to help them abate crime and prevent violent conflicts,” he stated.
The acting co-ordinator also indicated that in order to prompt action from stakeholders regarding these signals, quarterly interface meetings would take place in the various regions to discuss these signals and draft an early response. “The ultimate aim of this whole exercise is to have reduced number of violent conflicts in our societies so that we can all live peacefully once again,” he intimated.
Story : Salifu M. Nurudeen