The Royal Society of Chemistry of the United Kingdom has acknowledged the work of a Ghanaian Scientist and included her in the recent list of distinguished individuals who have been elevated as Fellows of the Society. Dr. Sylvia Josephine Anie is a Chartered Scientist and an Inventor. She holds a patent for a compound she created at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom for Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the gastro- intestinal tract and this was filed in March 1990.
She disclosed to XFM’s David Apinga in an interview, how honoured and delighted she was when she heard the news of her admission as a Fellow of such a prestigious society.
“I received a letter from the Royal Society of Chemistry in November last year inviting me to the elevated position of Fellow of the Society. They commended me for my contributions to science which they recognised as innovative and progressive,” she said.
She wasn’t expecting to be honoured in this way and is however overjoyed that her role in Science has been acknowledged by such a noble institution.
She bemoaned the lack of interest in science by girls and urged parents and teachers to encourage young girls to nuture interests in Science.
” As a woman, I look at issues of girls and their interest in Science because we all know all over the world and also in Ghana, that the number of females who are taking up in Science is dropping. I think we should proactively advocate to reduce this gap.”
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is a learned society (professional association) in the United Kingdom with the goal of “advancing the chemical sciences.” It was formed in 1980 from the merger of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new Royal Charter and the dual role of learned society and professional body. The headquarters of the Society is at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London.
The organisation is the professional body for chemistry in the UK, with the ability to award the status of Chartered Chemist (CChem). The designation of fellow is FRSC and is given to a group of elected Fellows who have made major contributions to chemistry. The names of Fellows are published each year in The Times (London).
Other Achievements of Dr. Anie
With a great deal of scientific knowledge and leadership qualities, Dr. Anie who is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, steered the affairs of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for 5 years as a Deputy Chief Executive and this, she says ” has strengthened her ability to provide leadership to large teams of diverse individuals”.
Dr. Anie’s achievement knows no bounds as she continued to work in the area of sustainable development for several years on both international and national levels focusing largely on education, health and gender.
Her most recent position was with the Commonwealth Secretariat as Director for Social Transformations Programmes Division, working across 53 countries and 5 continents. In this regard, she provided intellectual leadership on the conceptualization of policies and programmes to implement the Commonwealth Secretariat’s mandate on Health, Education and Gender, provided advice to Governments and Institutional partners and she served as Conference Secretary and coordinate Ministerial meetings.
In 2011 and with her team, she convened the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in Geneva under the theme ‘Non-Communicable Diseases – A Priority for the Commonwealth’ and in 2012, convened the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Mauritius, where they discussed progress and challenges of achieving the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All Goals. Dr Anie further addressed the United Nations General Assembly at the High level meeting on AIDS in 2011 where she delivered the Commonwealth Statement emphasising that many Commonwealth countries, including Ghana, had made great strides in applying a multisectoral approach to increasing antiretroviral drug access. Concerned with women’s heightened vulnerability to the disease, the Plan of Action for Gender Equality designed by the Commonwealth Secretariat recognized the need to put women at the centre of the development agenda and also at the heart of the global health agenda.
Dr. Anie was instrumental in establishing Ghana’s multi-sectoral response to HIV and AIDS. She was appointed as the first Director of Policy, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ghana AIDS Commission and served as a member of the Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group, UNAIDS, Geneva and on many related Advisory Boards .
Through her work on education and health, she has facilitated and driven reforms to protect the marginalised, empower girls (including adolescent girls) and women and ensure children have a right to quality and affordable health, education, safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
Her values in life
The Scientist attributes her success to the mercy and favour of God and counsels others to trust and believe in God.
Dr. Sylvia Josephine Anie also believes in the importance of family. She is married with 3 children ;Silvia, Florence and Emmanuel.
According to her, ” in the absence of family support , it would have been virtually impossible for me to climb the professional ladder and to chalk successes”.
She says playing the role of a mother was very challenging especially at the early stages when her children were young. She was therefore grateful to her family and siblings for being supportive and encouraging her to aspire to greater heights.
” You can achieve so many laurels and fellowships but at the end of the day, it is the family that underpins your efforts and achievements,” she added.
She values friendships and stated that in life ” you need to have friends who can encourage and stir up your ambitions to succeed. I have been blessed with good people who have served as pillars of support.”
She added that,” where one has done you no harm, it becomes a very difficult thing to damage another person. You must strive to lead a life that is of benefit to others, to hold a hand when a person is suffering, to speak a word of encouragement and advice. I believe in those values of being selfless and that has brought me a long way” .
Goals and vision
On what was next for her, Dr. Sylvia Josephine Anie said she hopes to use her knowledge and experience for the benefit of others.
The Researcher made it known that she is currently consulting for various Government agencies and private organisations. She is also writing on issues concerning the girl child in science and some of the benefits and challenges. Additionally, she continues to explore how she can further contribute to the work of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Society of Medicine.
She is passionate about giving back to her country and society especially in the area of science, health and development.
According to Dr. Anie, there are two words that have led her on: courage and perseverance.
She emphasised the need for people to have courage as there are many life battles one comes across and without perseverance nothing can be achieved.
” There are hurdles that will come your way and often there will be the need to pause and restrategise and reenergize. As I say to my children all the time, if you want to do something different you need to persevere and have courage. No great scientist was fearful. No great scientist tried one experiment and after the first attempt decided not to go further. You keep on and you keep on and you keep on and invariably some doors will be open, others will close. But for those doors that will open, you must delight in the opportunity and make your mark,” the accomplished woman added.
For those in school, she advised them to embrace Science . She also advised students that reading was key.
“Read about the life of other scientists, apply your mind, be ready for change and nurture commitment”. She concluded.
story By David Apinga, Xfmnewscenter, Accra