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The anticipation, the complication and the joy… my baby Nathan

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Ameyaw Debrah and baby NathanThe month of November was one that I was excited about; I was meant to visit Morocco for the first and then head off to the US to welcome my son, who was due on November 21. So after my fun-packed tour of Casablanca, Marrakech and Agadir I got on a flight on November 19, and headed straight to New York. On arrival at JFK Airport, I made my way to New Jersey on a rather costly Uber trip to New Jersey ($163) but seeing my pregnant fiancée and ever-fun mother-in-law welcome me with such happiness was worth every cent!   I arrived at least two days ahead of the ‘due date’ so incase the baby decided to come early I would be there. On November 21 I went with my fiancée to see her gynecologist and soon we realized that we had miscalculated ‘our due date’. Instead of Tuesday November 21, it was rather Friday, November 24 (plus or minus 14 days anyway!!!). After the doctor performed some quick checks, he predicted the baby would come over the weekend or latest by Monday, November 27. Our families on hearing the news started guessing the day the baby would arrive, most hoped it would be Saturday (so he could be Kwame just like my late father) but I had a feeling, especially guided by what the doctor had said, that the baby would arrive on Monday. Another thing I had miscalculated was the day for the finals of Miss Universe 2017, a program I had agreed to attend during my stay in the US. Initially I thought the finale was on Saturday, November 25 but found out last minute that it was rather Sunday, November 26. Now, I was faced with the dilemma of going to Las Vegas for Miss Universe, and possibly missing the birth of my son in New Jersey in the process. After a last minute ticketing, my fiancée accompanied me to the Airport on Sunday morning and I left Jersey with a 6.20am American Airline flight. I made a connecting flight at Dallas, Texas and I arrived in Las Vegas around 12.40pm (local time). I got to my stunning hotel, The Cosmopolitan around just around 2pm, bathed and dressed up for the Miss Universe finale, which was starting at 4pm. como After dressing up, I quickly stepped down to the Wicked Spoon Buffet to grab something to eat. And at $49 there was so much good food to eat but I had to rush to meet up with Menaye Donkor (Country Director for Miss Universe Ghana), so we could go to Planet Hollywood for the show.wicked sppon Well, the Miss Universe finale was fun and worth my journey because Ghana’s Ruth Quarshie made the Top 16 cut. After the show I joined Menaye and Ruth for dinner before we headed to the Caesars Palace for a little Miss Universe after party.

GHANA MAKES TOP16 #missuniverse2017

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When I returned to my hotel room I set up my alarm since I wanted to wake up early by 6 am to get ready for my 9.40 flight. I woke up in the morning and noticed some missed calls from my mother-in-law, and immediately I got worried. I called back and she told me my fiancée went into labour around 2am (New Jersey time), and she was in the hospital being monitored by doctors. Now the fear of missing the birth of my son had become real. I started blaming myself for missing the big moment, which was my main reason for traveling to the U.S. I also read a text message from my aunt in Virginia, who was scolding me when she found out on social media that I had left for Vegas. So I told her that my fiancée was in labour before I went into the shower. I dressed up to get ready for the airport in a confused state of happiness, expectation and guilt. I texted my fiancée to apologize for not being there during her labour and encouraged her to be strong during the process. When I got to the Vegas airport I called my mother-in-law for updates and she explained that the doctors had put my fiancée on oxygen because she had a little fever but all was well. I got on the flight and when I got Charlotte, North Carolina airport around 4:53pm (local time), I called her again, and this time she said the baby had arrived, and my fiancée was fine too. Now calm, I texted my aunt who was already scolding me for leaving my pregnant fiancée in the first place, that the baby and mother are doing well. I also sent a similar message to my mother on WhatsApp, and explained that I was at the airport heading to New Jersey. I made my way to board my flight to New Jersey with plans of how to order flowers and balloons to congratulate my fiancée lingering on my mind. When I arrived in New Jersey around 8:30pm. I checked online if I could order any but I wasn’t successful. I called my mother-in-law to tell her I would pick an Uber home, so she didn’t have to come pick me up. When I got home I could tell my mother-in-law was tired to take me to the hospital to see the baby and mother, so I tried to get as much information about the birth as possible. She then opened up to tell me my fiancée had undergone a caesarian section, after a delayed childbirth. She served me so fruits and when I couldn’t eat it like I usually do, she realized I wanted to go and see them at the hospital. She said and I remember clearly, “Yaw I know you can’t sleep without seeing them, so you let’s go!!!” I was so expectant and happy when we got in the car. But when we arrived at my fiancée’s ward, I saw her in tears. A nurse had just come to tell her the baby was in critical condition. We calmed her down and made our way to go see the baby and find out what was going on. Although my mother-in-law in her earlier conversations with me on phone, mentioned that the baby had some stuff blocking his nose at birth, she made it seem it was nothing to worry about in order not to stress me up during my journey to New Jersey. After going through security and getting a tag on my wrist as the daddy of the boy, we made our way to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the University Hospital to see baby Nathan for the first time.neonatal intensive care unit tag I broke down and shed some tears seeing my son in so much discomfort with tubes running all over his body, and a machine shaking him up almost violently. This was not what I had imagined on my way to see him; and the sharp contrast just broke me down. But I knew I had to be strong for my fiancée and our baby, Nathan as the doctors updated me on the baby’s condition. Nathan was suffering from meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS). MAS can happen before, during, or after labour and delivery when a newborn inhales a mixture of meconium (the early stool passed by a newborn soon after birth) and amniotic fluid (the fluid in which the baby floats inside the amniotic sac). Nathan inhaled meconium, which blocked his airways. Although air could flow past the meconium as he breathed in, it was trapped in his airways when he breathed out. This made it difficult for him to breathe. MAS can affect the baby in a number of ways, including chemical irritation to the lung tissue, airway obstruction by a meconium plug, infection, and the inactivation of surfactant by the meconium. MAS is often related to fetal stress, as was the case of Nathan due to delayed birth. My fiancée had a long and difficult delivery until doctors finally decided to operate on her to bring the baby out. In the process, the baby became distressed resulting in hypoxia (decreased oxygen), which made his intestinal activity increase and cause relaxation of the anal sphincter. This relaxation then moved meconium into the amniotic fluid, which Nathan eventually inhaled. Treatment for Nathan began right after delivery. The doctors inserted a laryngoscope into the trachea to remove any meconium. Several tests, such as a blood test that helps determine if the baby is getting enough oxygen and a chest X-ray that can show patches or streaks on the lungs that are found the baby, were conducted. And in fact the following days, more would be conducted. After seeing Nathan and getting an insight into the issue we returned to my fiancée in the ward to give her more details and assure her that all would be well. Due to the long flight I had back to Jersey, my mother-in-law suggested that we go home and get some rest so we could come back in the morning. The following day and indeed the rest of my stay in New Jersey were spent in the hospital, hoping for positive response from baby Nathan and a speedy recovery and healing for my fiancée. Day in day out, my fiancée was getting stronger, and was able to go see Nathan in the NICU all by herself but Nathan’s progress was not consistent. Nathan’s treatment included oxygen therapy, antibiotics to treat infection, nitric oxide inhalation, and frequent blood tests to see if he was getting enough oxygen. Since he had severe aspiration, he needed mechanical ventilation. An artificial surfactant was put into his lungs to help keep the air sacs open. He was also put on a special ventilator, which vibrated air enriched with extra oxygen into his lungs. Nitric oxide was added to the oxygen in the ventilator, which dilated the blood vessels and allowed more blood flow and oxygen to reach Nathan’s lungs. After going through these treatments for days, we were given more distressful news when the doctors said Nathan was not responding as expected, and there was the need to explore a higher intervention at the Beth Israel Hospital. The doctor said there might be the need for Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a form of cardiopulmonary bypass, meaning that an artificial heart and lung will temporarily take over to supply blood flow in Nathan’s body. ECMO lowers the fatality rate for these severely distressed babies from 80% to 10%. The University Hospital was not an ECMO center, so we signed a consent form to transfer our baby. So Nathan was transferred to the Beth Israel Hospital. The transfer brought the whole family more worries, and our prayers heightened every step of the way. When Nathan arrived at Beth Israel, he was not placed on ECMO immediately; he was placed on an advanced ventilator to see how he responded before possibly going through ECMO. In the first 48-hours, the doctors were happy with how he was responding and so decided to keep him on the ventilator for more observation. And just like the miracle we all prayed for, each day Nathan showed slight improvements. Sadly due to some responsibilities in Ghana, I was soon faced with the dilemma of leaving while Nathan was still at the hospital but I cheered myself up with the slow progress he was making, and the fact that he would not need ECMO. In fact before I left for Ghana, Nathan had been taken off the antibiotics and the levels of his intake of oxygen and nitric oxide had been dropped. Before leaving, we requested for the NICU email updates so on a daily basis I could know how Nathan was faring.nicu updates In God’s perfect timing, I spent my last day with Nathan at a period when he was now good enough to be touched. In the first two weeks, he required heavy sedation so we were not allowed to do anything that could excite him too much, since he had many tubes and wires attached to him; and of course, the risk of complications with infections. So I rubbed some hand sanitizer in my palms and finally touched Nathan for the first time. I played with him, and as if he could hear my jokes, he squeezed my finger when I placed it in his palm. I left New Jersey for New York later that evening to catch my flight back to Ghana the following morning. When I got to Ghana, the news of progress continued; each day I would get an email from the NICU on Nathan. Each day either one tube was removed or his dependence on some medication had reduced. My fiancée kept me up to date with photos, videos and at some stage the NICU even allowed us to do video calls. Nathan was soon taken off the ventilator completely and put into a small incubator; and later he made his way into a baby court with the only tube attached to him being one for taking in breast milk. And as he made more progress with feeding from a bottle and eventually directly from his mum’s breast, we wondered if Nathan would be strong enough to come home before Christmas. In the early hours of December 24 (Ghana Time), that answer came; and it was positive. I watched with joy and excitement via WhatsApp video call, as his mother and grandmother cheerfully dressed him up and carried him from the NICU home. Yes, we finally got Nathan home to his crib that has been waiting for him for four weeks after his birth, and just in time to bring us some real Christmas cheer. If ever we had a Christmas wish, this was it! Welcome home Nathan, mum, dad and the whole family loves you!]]>

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LuvmeHair Headbands for Wigs: An Essential Product Guide

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Whether you’re looking for a way to keep your wig in place or customize your look, headbands for wigs are a must-have accessory. (more…)

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Looking To Start A Side Business? These Are 5 Key Reasons Why It Should Be An Online Business

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Small Business

If you’re like most of us, your income isn’t enough to cover your expenses any more. Especially in the current economic climate, it is crucial that we all find means to augment our income. In our part of the world, however, taking a second job is not an option given that most of our jobs aren’t structured in a way that allows us to squeeze in enough time to take on another, assuming you can find another. These odds leave us with one primary way of creating another line of income: entrepreneurship.

Most people only consider traditional brick-and-mortar businesses when they decide to launch a side business. However, with the proliferation of internet-enabled devices and the internet now being ubiquitous, starting an online business has never been more feasible.

In this piece, we will analyze the key advantages an online business offers over a traditional brick and mortar business to emphasize the tremendous benefits. In a subsequent article, I’ll delve into key tips and tactics to help you start your online business. So keep an eye on ameyawdebrah.com for that. Now let’s get down to business.

ONLINE VRS BRICK AND MORTAR BUSINESSES

Starting an online business is worthwhile due to its many benefits. Here are a few examples:

  1. The start-up costs are lower.

Before starting, the majority of conventional brick-and-mortar businesses demand sizable initial financial commitments. You would need to take into account merchandise, employee salaries, rent and lease payments, annoying charges from district and municipal authorities, taxes etc.

The majority of these costs can be easily avoided by starting online. In many cases, with a good plan and the right networks, you can start with very little and still manage to build a successful business.

  1. Greater potential for growth

Due to their physical presence, brick-and-mortar businesses are constrained in a number of ways. This implies that the speed and size of their growth can be influenced by physical factors such as time and location.

For instance, having a store in a desirable area like Makola or East Legon means paying high rent, but even this does not ensure that there will be sufficient sales on a regular basis. There is also the fact that you are restricted by your working hours. All these factors put a cap on the growth of a physical business.

Online enterprises, on the other hand, are unaffected by any of these restrictions. When you manage an online business, you transcend locations, boundaries, and time. With more individuals having access to the internet and becoming accustomed to purchasing online, your potential market is constantly growing.

  1. Not limited by time

As we previously mentioned, online businesses are not constrained by the passage of time like brick-and-mortar enterprises are. Even during lockdowns or other disturbances, they can remain open all day, every day of the week.

Once you establish an online presence for your business, clients may place orders and finish transactions whenever they want. This enables your business to produce income without requiring a lot of day-to-day participation.

You will have to put in a lot of time and effort during the early phases of your business. However, with time, you will develop a workable strategy that enables you to effectively increase your ecommerce activities while learning to delegate. In the end, it’s liberating, as you’ll have control over your schedule.

  1. Work from any location

You will undoubtedly be confined to a specific area if you operate a brick and mortar firm.

You can choose the location from where your staff work if you manage an online business. They have the option of working from a home office, a co-working facility, or any other location, depending on the type of business you’re into. Additionally, there is space for mobile work. Simply find an affordable employee monitoring program to keep tabs on your team’s actions.

  1. You have control.

For most brick-and-mortar businesses, the control and management of your staff are dependent on your being physically present. This is especially important in our part of the world, where many employees can be negligent and sometimes even dishonest in carrying out their tasks. For the most part, employees may behave very differently depending on the presence or absence of the business owner.

With online businesses, however, because the majority of the business activities are carried out online, the business owner can easily monitor the activities of staff without being physically present. Most online businesses also have built-in audit systems that are easily accessible to the business owner and cannot be easily altered by employees who wish to engage in fraudulent activities.

 Conclusion

I hope you found the information above helpful. If you’re on the verge of starting a side business, critically consider the above advantages. Crucially, remember that lots of businesses that we once thought could only be done physically have been successfully converted to online businesses. So think long and hard and be creative. Above all, keep learning. Look out for my follow-up article .

To your success!

By Aboagye T. Mintah

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12 Surefire Tips For Successfully Starting An Online Business

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Starting an online business might be exciting, but it also has its fair share of difficulties. The fundamental prerequisites for starting and operating any business also apply to online businesses. Starting a business of any kind is tough and requires lots of work and persistence to make it a success.

To assist you in starting and operating your own online business, we have put together a compilation of time-tested tips and tactics to smooth your path. Let’s dig in

  1. Settle on a business idea and a niche to target

Your “niche” is a specific segment of the market that you primarily aim to serve. This can be broad or narrow. For instance, instead of focusing on women’s clothing in general, you could sell only lingerie.

You must choose your niche wisely, though, as it will define your success. Don’t just choose what appeals to you. Analyze the viability of the niche. To find the ideal niche to target, check that they have:

  • A key problem or need that nobody else is resolving.
  • The readiness to pay for a fix to that problem or need.
  • Sufficient disposable income to cover the cost of the solution.
  1. Research the market to support your business idea

In most cases, your own personal research to establish the viability of a niche may not be enough. Remember the biblical words, “the heart of man is treacherous,”. Many people fail because they’re swayed by their own biases into thinking there’s a big market, when in fact that may not be the case. If you have the resources, you may want to hire an independent agency to conduct proper market research for you.

Another way is usually to pilot the business on a microscale to actually test the level of sustainable demand. In both cases, pay attention to exactly what the data says. It holds the key to your business’s success.

Based on the viability of the data, draft a simple business plan that covers how you will source the product or service, how you plan to market it, and how you intend to raise the capital for both. If you have a good, realistic grasp of these three core issues, you’re good to go.

  1. Develop your product or service

It is now time to put your business plan into action. Either selling products or services is an option. It’s important to figure out how to source your products, if that’s what you’re into. You have two options: either make things yourself or find a supplier or manufacturer for your goods. Create packages of your service offers if you are selling a service.

  1. Build your online brand.

You’ll probably need a website to start, depending on the type of business you’re in. Choose a domain name and confirming its availability. Hosting costs normally begin at $8 per month, while domain names typically cost around $20 per year.

 Remember to effectively brand your website in order to distinguish it from competitors. Create a logo that’s unique to your business. Choose a typeface that is appropriate for your sector and ensure that the colors complement the entire design. When finished, the online brand will start to take shape.

Additionally, since the goal of your company is to generate revenue, your website must support payment processing. However, at the start, this might be expensive and challenging. Thank goodness, there are numerous payment options available. You could simply rely on momo payments or connect with any of the numerous payment platforms currently available to assist you.

  1. Market the hell out of your business.

The next step is to make your internet business visible to potential clients after setting it up. There are numerous marketing channels you may use for this.

We will discuss some of the best marketing channels next.

  1. Utilize email marketing.

Numerous messaging platforms are developed daily. Email, however, still remains one of the most effective online communication tools. Your small business can grow and make more money with the aid of email marketing. I have a detailed article of the benefits of email marketing also on ameyawdebrah.com. You may want to check it out.

Start with an email list of your friends, family, schoolmates, acquaintances, etc. Once your list has grown to a respectable size, you can start promoting your company to current and potential clients.

Tell them why they should pick you over the competition. To market your company to various audience demographics, you can test out various email campaigns. Stick with what works best.

  1. Create an SEO strategy

For your online business, ranking on the first page of search results on websites like Google can be a game-changer. This is what search engine optimization (SEO) means. You must optimize the text, graphics, and videos on your website or online store to rank highly in organic search results.

 With a good SEO strategy, you can significantly increase your consumer base, sales, and financial position. This can be accomplished naturally or with paid advertisements. If you’re internet-savvy enough, you can learn and implement an SEO strategy yourself on YouTube. However, in most cases, you may need an agency that specializes in this to assist you.

  1. Utilize social media to your benefit

The decision to create a social media presence for your small business is no longer a choice. Your online business’s success depends on it. You should get started by learning which social media channel your clients prefer to use and which is most effective for your line of business.

  1. Discounts and promotions are important

Even the tiniest incentives can significantly increase the likelihood that new customers will become repeat ones. Discounts, gifts, free delivery, or anything else that appeals to your customers can be used as incentives. You can use reward-based games and referral programs to express your gratitude to your customers.

  1. Go Mobile

More individuals than ever before utilize mobile devices in their daily lives. Nowadays, a growing number of people utilize their mobile devices for the majority of their daily activities, including shopping. This is why it’s important to make your website mobile-friendly as early as possible.

  1. Create a community for your brand

Building a community around your internet business might seem difficult, but it is doable. You can create powerful communities like many other successful firms have done. You can accomplish this by assembling small groups of your clients—those who have similar values to your company—and capitalizing on them.

It’s the simplest method to turn your customers into brand ambassadors. As soon as you have a sizeable enough customer base, you can create a Facebook group with your customers. Be sure not to surprise them. Get their approval first. Be sure that the parameters for the group are well targeted. With this, Facebook’s robots will help find you more people like your customers to join the group.

Once formed, keep the group active and busy. Offer relevant information about your product or services as well as other incentives. The bigger the group gets, the more potential customers you have to sell to.

  1. Think big

The capacity to leverage the global reach of the internet is the primary distinction between traditional businesses and online ones. Using the internet, you can easily expand your small business internationally.

This is a great approach to growing your consumer base and generating more revenue. Your brand’s awareness may soar if you get into the global market.

Conclusion

Yes, times are hard, but the fact remains that opportunities also abound. Every day, regular folks with unique ideas, training, and services as well as products are building small and big fortunes online. The trick with making it online is to move from being a consumer to a producer. So don’t just binge on YouTube videos and buy from your favorite online stores. Aspire to also leverage the power of the internet to create something that others will be interested in buying.

If you choose to go this route, then I certainly hope you find the tips in this article helpful. Let’s go make some money. To your success!

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5 Timeless Life Lessons In “Once Upon A Riddle”

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KA

Come Saturday, December 10th, 2022, we officially premiere our new play, ONCE UPON A RIDDLE, at 3pm and 7pm at National Theatre. Having worked on this story for over a year, I am filled with joy to finally see it come to life on stage. Being our eight play, we are taking it a notch higher. We have written fourteen (14) original songs set to be performed for the first time ever during the play.

In #OnceUponARiddle, a superstar is diagnosed of terminal lung cancer on his birthday. With just a few months to live, he meets a mysterious man who promises to give him an extra life if he answers a riddle correctly. This musical didactically throws light on how money doesn’t matter anymore on one’s deathbed if they have to choose between it and their life.

In a world where money has become the ultimate goal, such a timely play draws the attention of its audience to the little things they daily take for granted. Telling a unique story through music, dance and drama, one question the musical directly poses to its audience is, “How different would you have lived life if you knew you had only 6 months to live?”

There are timeless lessons carefully inculcated into the story. Some of these lessons include;

  • The applause is for your position, not you.

If you are the president, people will hail you because of your office. If you are an army commander, you will be saluted wherever you go. The applause people give you is not for you. The day you lose your office, you lose the applause.

In life, we sometimes get carried away by applause for the things we have. People bow to us because of our nice cars or lucrative careers. They sing our praises because of our gifts and talents. Little do we know that who we are is not what we have. We are not our gifts, neither are we our achievements.

Who we are is what we become when we lose all that life has blessed us with. How people have always perceived us will be revealed the day we lose our luxury. When life takes away our privileges, the applause will fade away. After all, the applause was for those privileges.

  • Life is a privilege, not right.

Life is a gift many take for granted because they assume they are entitled to it. They wake up each morning with little gratitude in their hearts. They assume it is usual for them to have life every day of their life.

 #OnceUponARiddle hints that life is a gift, not right. One must not wait to cherish this gift when they are about to lose it.

When we perceive life as a gift, we are filled with happiness all the time. Each day of our lives, we appreciate how privileged we are to have such a gift. To those who cherish life as a gift, no strife can stand in the way of their joy. As long as they have life today, they have hope for tomorrow.

Those who cherish life are grateful whatever regardless. They don’t wait to have material things to count themselves as blessed. They first count their life as the biggest blessing.

  • Loyalty is tested when hard times come.

The rich have friends; lots of them. When people occupy enviable positions, they have so many people around them. Good times help us know our supposed friends. Bad times help us know our good friends.

Nothing tests the loyalty of people better than hard times. When some things do not benefit some people anymore, their true commitment will come to bear. The commitment of those who claim will die for us will definitely be tested the day that they lose whatever benefits them.

In #OnceUponARiddle, one lesson that every patron is sure to take home is how friends desert us when the party of our lives is over. After all, most of them hang around us because of the party. When there are no more goodies, they vacate every seat they occupied in our lives.

Hard times will sieve our good friends from the bad ones. When life starts hurling failures at us, the true selves of those around us will show up. The day we get into trouble will be that day we will know who will stay with us in the trouble and who will be quick to dissociate themselves from us.

  • Misfortunes can happen to anybody.

We oftentimes assume that when someone is afflicted by a misfortune, it may have been as a result of some wrongdoing of theirs. Well, bad things happen to good people, too. And this is the humbling nature of life. It keeps us far away from pride because we get to realize that we could have been in the shoes of the afflicted.

When the main character of #OnceUponARiddle received the news of his cancer, he cried, “Oh no! But I am good man?”

When we come to admit that those who are enduring any pain of any sort are not any different from us, we sympathize with them. A misfortune is not necessarily a reward for sin. It is a happening in life and we all must learn to comfort those it visits.

Mourn with those who mourn. You are not any righteous than they are. Don’t go about mocking those who are pained. A misfortune is no respecter of person. You could be its next guest.

See you on Saturday, 10th December, 2022 at National Theatre. First show is 3pm and second show, 7pm. Rate is GHC80. You will have an experience of a lifetime!

The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company (www.scribecommltd.com). Order for copies of his animation book, Animuonyam The Bully Stopper, via 0243752793. His next play, Once Upon A Riddle, shows on December 10 at National Theatre.

 

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Alexander Quaisie is changing the narrative about HIV in Ghana by championing the U=U (U equals U) campaign

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Alexander Quaisie is changing the narrative about HIV in Ghana by championing the U=U (U equals U) campaign

Alexander Quaisie, co-founder and CEO of Verifie health is a health-tech entrepreneur who is improving access to sexual and reproductive health services through the use of technology and innovation to encourage testing for the youth in Ghana. His mobile and web application, Verifie, has since 2018 offered more than 3000 people access to safe and affordable testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections and reproductive health products such as contraceptives, condoms, and HIV self-test kits.

On December 1, 2022 Alexander and his team of more than 70 volunteers aggregated more than 600 people to offer screening and education on HIV as well as introduce a daring yet data-driven and internationally accepted concept of U=U.  According to him, this simply means undetectable equals untransmittable. This, he went on to explain, means “if a person is living with HIV and taking their medications regularly they eventually have an undetectable HIV viral load and cannot transmit it sexually to their partner, even without the use of a condom.“ This is a far cry from what we always knew and understood given that HIV is such a deadly virus and only condoms can prevent an HIV-positive partner from infecting an HIV-negative partner. He added that this meant serodiscordant couples, one positive and the other negative can now start families and have HIV-negative children without any special interventions apart from the antiretroviral drug therapy. With U=U, he explains, people living with HIV and their partners are encouraged to continue taking their medications which will contribute to the end of AIDS in 2030. He optimistically describes the U=U message as that of hope and a game changer to how we all perceive HIV today.

Co-founder and chief operating officer of Verifie, Claudia Owusu in her speech also mentioned that “the U=U message serves as a conduit to break the fear and stigma about HIV and encourage voluntary testing and increased access to treatment.” She also encouraged her fellow health workers to spread this message to their patients and others who are not even affected by HIV. She alluded that “A proper universal understanding of U=U does not only break stigma and discrimination, but also promotes procreation, and improves the quality of life of people living with and affected by HIV.” During the event, 2 young ladies in their 20s shared their testimony about living with HIV for more than 20 years and remaining undetectable. This all happened during the annual World AIDS Day for the youth commemoration event which took place at the Accra Digital Centre organized by Verifie Health and supported by international partners UNAIDS, French Embassy to Ghana, European Union, DKT International and endorsed by Ghana AIDS Commission and the National AIDS Control Program.

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ARTSPLIT launches platform in Ghana with auction and exhibition by artists Ablade Glover, Kofi Agorsor and Isshaq Ismail

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Ablade Glover Confrontation 2022
Ablade Glover - Confrontation 2022

ARTSPLIT, the pioneering African art technology platform, has announced Bridges – the December edition of its modern & contemporary online auction featuring three iconic works by Ghanaian artists from 2 to 17 December available to access via the dedicated ARTSPLIT app and on public view at The Mix Design Hub in Accra between 11-16 December.

 

The auction follows from the successful inaugural Modern and Contemporary African Arts (MOCONA) Auction which took place in July 2022 and a recent November auction which coincided with Africa’s premier contemporary art fair ART X Lagos and saw the sales of works by some of the continent’s most celebrated artists including Yusuf Grillo and George Pemba.

 

The Bridges auction will continue ARTSPLIT’s efforts of creating better access and value for both emerging African artists and already established artists. The auction will feature works by three Ghanaian artists; bold colourful paintings by Isshaq Ismail, the vibrant works of Ablade Glover that capture the joyous everyday life of Ghana and finally Kofi Agorsor whose buoyant, semi-abstract and witty depictions of his subjects have received widespread international acclaim.

 

The artists included in the auction bridge generations of artistic excellence, divulging an exploratory voyage into artistic skill, medium, and narrative across generations. All three artists evoke emotions and canonise womanhood as an ode to the motherland, referencing sociocultural norms and features in their works and bridging generations of artistic mastery and skill. These artists use their art to express resilience, inspire, reflect, and motivate change in the face of ongoing national and international challenges.

 

Ablade Glover’s work reflects his deep love of life, activity, and colour. Glover depicts animated landscapes that mirror the exuberant diversity of Africa: its bustling market stalls, brightly attired crowds and women, and the dynamic energy that is Ghana, using warm impastoed pigments to express the dynamism, energy, and heat of his country. Mostly, his canvases are a love affair with Africa, generously splattered on canvas, evoking the continent’s struggle, tension, beauty, and verve.

 

The vibrant, bold colours used in Kofi Agorsor’s paintings depict the daily lives of modern Ghanaians. of spontaneity and order. His paintings are frequently embellished with splashes, drips, and flows of paint that intertwine to form magnificent forests or labyrinths, reflecting the interplay of music, dance movements, and geometry. He frequently employs pulsing colours to create an interpretation of the essence of contemporary Ghanaians; lived experiences set against the backdrop of entertainment.

 

Isshaq Ismail uses black, brown, green, red, ochre, purple, and blue to investigate and explore grotesque figures and textures. Ismail describes his process in sculptural terms, describing how he manipulates paint with thick, gestural brushstrokes in the same way a sculptor shapes clay. Through these striking and evocative works, he hopes to subvert and interrogate conventional notions of beauty. Representing the masses and advocating for the voiceless; his paintings explore themes of desire, resilience, power, and hope.

 

The ARTSPLIT app allows users to own fractions of prominent African artworks, also known as “Splits,” and keep or sell them on the app at the end of the Split Auction.” The Splits allow multiple people to co-own a single iconic piece of art, which no other art platform currently does. Users can also participate in a ‘Lease Auction’ on the app to win physical custody of these co-owned artworks for a set period.

 

The December auction follows the massive success of the November auction as well as the inaugural MOCONA auction held in July and attended by key figures in the Lagos art scene and exhibiting artists Edosa Ogiugo, El-Dragg Okwoju, and Abiodun Olaku. The MOCONA auction, titled Ode to Mastery, featured five prominent Nigerian artists who are key drivers of the continent’s contemporary art scene: Abiodun Olaku, Duke Asidere, Edosa Ogiugo, El-Dragg Okwoju, and Oliver Enwonwu.

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