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Month: March 2013

This Easter: Give Blood

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Credit: Ghana National Blood Centre

Everyone wants to be a hero. At least that’s what I’d like to think so please do not pop my bubble.

Perhaps we’re used to super heroes like “Superman”, “Optimus Prime” “Black Widow” who risk life and limb to save the world. Maybe our ideas of heroes are of the brave men and women who fight wars to keep our ideologies safe, or of the people who jump in front of gunmen and buses to protect the lives of others.

But there’s a kind of hero that’s often overlooked. The hero who walks into a hospital or donation station and offers, free of charge, a spare organ or life-saving blood.

Last month, Blogging Ghana in partnership with the Rotaract Club of Adentan hosted a Donation Drive at Pentagon. We had 80 heroes that day.  On that same day at the Mall, Dr. Paul Mensah (who is partnering with the docs at the Accra Mall Clinic) was also receiving donors. Over 60 heroes turned up at the mall; the greatest turnout so far, for that location.

Here’s a message from Dr. Mensah from the last exercise at the Mall.

Video Credit: Gameli Adzaho of Blogging Ghana

I’ve spoken of giving blood here and here and hope by now that word has spread about the Monthly donation exercise at the Accra Mall Clinic. We may have pulled some numbers to voluntarily donate blood but now we’re asking for Ghanaians to make it a regular exercise. Every four months, please walk yourself on down to the Accra Mall or to the Korle Bu Blood Centre and give a pint to keep the Blood Centre running.

This Saturday, Dr. Mensah and the National Blood Centre will be at the Mall collecting Blood. You can sign up for the event here. I will drop in to support the heroes who turn up. I have a few cupcakes (made by moi) for people who donate (will be in the recovery room).

One lucky donor who also happens to read this blog will get a box of frosted cupcakes (vanilla and chocolate) delivered to a location of their choice.  All you have to do is go give blood this Saturday and drop a comment on this post. Tell us about your experience (was it good or bad? will you return to donate? Would you recommend blood donation to others?) and you very well may be the lucky person to get a box of my yummy treats. Winner will be announced Saturday Night.

Happy Easter everyone and thanks for being heroes!

~Daixy~

Enough is Enough

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I was checking out Adventures From, yesterday and read something that dug into me.  The topics discussed on that site usually jab at me for various reasons but this article pretty much sums up a lot of what’s been on my mind. The article is titled “What Exactly Are Our Attitudes About Abuse” and it’s written by Malaka.

Malaka points out a lot that’s wrong in the way our society handles victims of abuse in general and sexual abuse in particular. Victims do not get help. They’re told to suck it up and move on; burdened with a load that should not be theirs to carry. It saddens me even more when the victim is a young child. Why should children have to deal with the depravity of adults?

I’m not saying it’s better to rape an adult than a child. I’d rather sexual abuse never came up anywhere but I can’t wrap my mind about anyone thinking it’s okay to turn their sexual attentions on a child. The statistics Malaka points out are disgraceful. As always, it’s usually the females targetted and I wonder when something will be done.

In a country where less than 5% of the National Health budget goes to mental health, how are we going to provide the necessary psychological care that victims of abuse need in order to move forward with their lives? When will we realise that abuse leaves victims with PTSD which can evolve into other disorders? We’re not just talking trust issues and a few nightmares. We’re talking possible depression and suicide. We’re talking about potential multiple personalities etc, simply because people are not given the tools with which to not only cope, but overcome their experiences.

It sickens me to hear some of the scenarios Malaka mentions. It’s about time we placed responsibility squarely on the shoulders on which they belong. The abusers, the society, the security and health agencies. 

Making victims keep quiet about their experiences only goes to pile more needless shame on their shoulders. Depriving them (knowingly or unknowingly) of counseling and other support is a travesty. Making them protect their abusers is a sin my fellow Christians should never ever commit.

Adventures from is doing something about it. They’re organising “Surviving Sexual Abuse” This Friday (29th March) at Passions Cafe in Osu. More info here. Readings and performances on surviving are a great idea! Excellent group therapy, if you ask me. If you can make it, please drop in, even if it’s only to offer support.

And if you’re in a position to make change happen, please do. I think it’s long overdue for victims to not only have a voice but the proper help they need.

~Daixy~

Save A Life: Part 2

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So back in December, 2012, I worked with Blogging Ghana, StACC-Ghana and Noguchi on the “Save A Life” Blood Drive.  It was all pretty rushed but we got 30 people to Give Blood at Korle Bu  and Noguchi.
Several Bloggers (eg here, here, and here ) gave their takes on  their experiences, or asked people to go #GiveBlood. The support on twitter and facebook was wonderful and I would like to thank everyone who tweeted, texted, emailed or showed up to donate during that period. That December, a lot of people heard the over-all cry for help. 
Photo credit: Greg McGoon
On the day I went to give Blood for instance, the good men of the Ghana Armed Forces showed up to donate.  Overall, 801 people walked in to voluntarily give blood in December 2012. We need this trend to continue.  This is why I, Blogging Ghana, StACC and Noguchi are asking you to please make a habit of going in to donate at least every quarter of the year.
As promised, here  is my video of my experience. Please do not laugh at my “Ow Ow Ow face”. I do not like being pinched 🙁                        

I know, I know…I spent a lot of time ogling the men in green but what can I say other than that I love a man in uniform?

Photo credit: Greg McGoon

 A few things to note:

  1. Every last Saturday of every month, Dr. Paul Mensah of the Korle Bu Blood bank will be teaming up with the Doctors at the Accra Mall Clinic to collect blood for the bank.  For those of you who don’t want to, or can’t go to korle bu, this is a good option. Take a friend with you and chillax before and after you donate. Incidentally, this Saturday, he will be there.
  2. Drink lots of water and eat something before you go to donate.
  3. If you’ve given blood before, please be sure to take your donor card along with you. 
  4. I’ll be showing up randomly during the exercises at the mall and just may have some goodies for the people I meet there 🙂
  5. When you go to give blood, tweet/blog/facebook etc about it and tell others about your experience. Let’s create a culture of helping help ourselves. 

See  you on Saturday!

~Daixy~

Blast from the Past: National Identification?!!!

Remember when I blogged about the National Identification Scheme and questioned whether or not Ghana was ready for such an exercise? I was concerned with the amount of information that was being collated and questioned whether it was safe for our security personnel to have access to it.

It’s been four years since and since then I’ve noted the following:

1.  The website is no longer http://www.niaghana.gov.gh/ 
It redirects you to the new website
2.  The new one is http://www.nia.gov.gh/
Recently, I paid a visit to the NIA Office near Gulf House and being the curious person that I am, I followed a website mentioned in an ad placed in the lobby. The ad was inviting people to visit Ghana’s e-services hub.  Since I had my smartphone on me, I typed in the link and was actually impressed with the site. I decided to click on the NIA page there and followed a link there to the official website whereupon was promptly directed to….
3. a porn site. A Russian porn site. I thought my eyes were deceiving me so I went back and clicked the link. Same thing! So I checked from a tablet. Once again, I was directed to the porn site. NO, I did NOT take a screen-shot of the questionable content (I know some naughty ones will ask for evidence).
I informed the receptionist of the problem and she said “We know. The IT guys are on National assignment so we can’t fix it now”. For real? NO ONE was available to stop the hackers from redirecting visitors to their lewd gallery?
Later on, I was made to understand that the hack only worked on mobile devices. Computer browsers sent you to the actual NIA site so all I had to do was find a computer and save my eyes the trouble.
Still, this security thing nags at me.  This is the NIA. Information security should NOT be a problem for them. If we’re to trust them with our vital info, they should be able to handle the security of their own website, surely? 
This is what the website looks like today on both web and mobile browsers. 
I can only assume that the IT guys are finally back from assignment and are cleaning up the website. How long the welcome screen will greet us, I’ve no idea but I’ll take this to naked chics any day.
Have you registered with the NIA? Do you feel your data is safe with them? Have you experienced anything like I did when visiting any Ghanaian Government site?  Hit me up in the comments section.