Ghana. In April, Ghana, as the first country in Africa, began to vaccinate children against two of the continent’s deadliest childhood diseases, rotavirus infection, which causes diarrhea, and pneumococcal disease. Over 2.7 million children worldwide die each year in these diseases.
The program is supported by the Global Vaccination Alliance GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization). Ghana already had an expanded program for vaccination against polio, measles and tuberculosis. Thanks to the vaccinations, Ghana looked to reach the UN’s fourth millennium goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds by 2015. Health Minister Alban Bagbin said this was possible thanks to adequate health care in Ghana, enough vaccine and international financial support. Poverty in the country has also diminished since the turn of the millennium and Ghana looks to meet even the first millennium goal, halving the extreme poverty by 2015.
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At least ten people died when a cargo plane crashed into a minibus at the international airport in the capital, Accra, in early June. The aircraft, which belonged to a Nigerian airline, got into the runway and crashed with the minibus. Those who perished sat in the bus.
On July 24, President John Atta Mills died suddenly. Vice President John Dramani Mahama was immediately sworn in as new president, and new vice president became Central Bank Governor Kwesis Amissah Arthur. Mahama promised to maintain the stability of the country, which is one of Africa’s most solid democracies. The opposition paid tribute to the smooth transition to Mahama, saying it showed that Ghana is a mature democracy.
The Election Commission announced that the presidential and parliamentary elections would be held as planned in December. Mahama would sit until the election, but it was uncertain if he would replace Atta Mills even as a candidate for the December presidential election. The NDC (National Democratic Congress) government announced that they would hold an extra congress to elect a new presidential candidate. The congress was held in August, when the NDC appointed the newly elected Mahama as its candidate in the presidential election.
At the beginning of November, Parliament decided on sharp wage increases for the country’s leading politicians, which led to criticism from anti-corruption organizations. The critics were also upset that the decision had been taken during a closed parliamentary session without any chance of public debate. The president’s tax-free salary was raised from about $ 4,240 to about $ 6,357 a month, while ministers, who also have cars and other pay benefits, received a monthly salary of about $ 4,770. MPs’ salaries were raised by close to 50% to $ 3,800 a month. The minimum wage in Ghana is $ 75 a month and a teacher earns about $ 500 a month.
Fourteen people died and many were injured when a six-storey high-rise department store in Accra collapsed on November 7. Around 80 people were trapped when the department store collapsed and were helped out by rescue workers. One week after the accident, 13 injured were still in hospital. Authorities said the crash was because the department store, which had opened earlier in the year, was inadequately built. The property owner and the municipal official responsible for the building standard were arrested by the police. There were divided opinions about whether the premises had been inspected by the authorities before the department store was opened. After the accident, the authorities ordered the property owner to evacuate their other buildings next to the wrecked department store. President Mahama promised that those responsible would pay for their carelessness.
The presidential and parliamentary elections were held as planned on 7 December. Acting President John Mahama of the ruling party National Democratic Congress (NDC) won in the first round by 51% of the vote, against 48% for opposition leader Nana Akufo Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). The turnout was over 79%. The Election Commission approved Mahama as the winner and according to international election observers, the elections were free and fair. The opposition party NPP claimed that electoral fraud had occurred because too many votes had been received and that these had been deducted from NPP’s results when counting. At the end of the month, the party appealed the result to the Supreme Court, which was expected to decide the issue in January 2013. In the parliamentary elections, the NDC received 148 of Parliament’s 275 seats, and thus its own majority. NPP received 123 seats.
According to countryaah, the population of Ghana in 2012 was 27,849,094, ranking number 47 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.360% yearly, and the population density was 122.3926 people per km2.