Dr Felix Anyah, the Executive Chairman of the Holy Trinity Medical Center, has commended the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG) for its role in producing highly skilled professionals.
He emphasised that these professionals have played a significant part in guiding both the public and private sectors of the economy.
Dr Anyah, a former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana’s premier teaching hospital, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in the Greater Accra Region, shared these remarks during his speech on the topic ‘Our Planet, Our Health, Our Wellbeing’ at the annual presidential luncheon of the institute held in Accra.
Below is the full statement:
A SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR FELIX ANYAH ON THE TOPIC “OUR PLANET, OUR HEALTH, OUR WELLBEING” AT THE ANNUAL PRESIDENTIAL LUNCHEON OF THE INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS, GHANA AT THE KEMPINSKI HOTEL 28 TH SEPTEMBER, 2023
Our Distinguished Guest of Honor, the President, Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana(ICAG GHANA), Senior Civil and Public Servants, Business Executives, Policy Makers, Seasoned Personalities of various disciplines in Commerce, Distinguished invited guests, the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is my profound honor to be here today, especially as we come together to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAG).
For six decades, this esteemed organization has maintained unparalled professional excellence with rigorous standards and ethical guidelines.
These directions have produced a caliber of professionals, who have been pivotal in steering both public and private sectors of our economy towards sustainability, accountability and positive societal growth.
ICAG- Ghana, has not merely been a standard setting institution, it has been an active participant in
the story of Ghana’s progress by setting and vigilantly enforcing the highest standards in accounting and governance. The Institute has nurtured an environment of transparency and financial stability.
The integrity in operations has not only attracted investor confidence but has been a cornerstone in driving Ghana’s economic growth and development.
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, I’m to give a talk on the topic ‘’ Our Planet, Our Health, Our Well-being”
On the anniversary of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, I shall endeavour to give a short overview of consequences we face in managing our planet earth, my humble suggestions on how our great Institute Of Chartered Accountants –Ghana (ICAG) could be involved in creating a better planet –our earth-
for our well-being and the 10 pillars of wellness which could guide us against the myriad of health challenges.
TRADITIONAL PERSPECTIVE ON OUR ENVIRONMENT
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is remarkable that our ancestors forbade certain explorative activities in demarcated areas in our traditional setting.
· Certain water bodies were designated a no go area for fishing and related activities. For example, fishermen were forbidden to fish on Tuesdays in our seas while our farmers were forbidden to farm on Fridays.
· Some forests were revered such that farming, hunting and harvesting of wood and destruction of trees were not countenanced in these places.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, in the bible, we have several references for rest of the earth as well as for the human being. This allows among others, for the land and environment to renew itself.
Leviticus 25 verse 2-5:
Speak to the Israelites and say to them: `When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the LORD.
For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of rest.
· It is instructive to note that because the children of God did not take the 7th year for the land to rest, Prophet Jeremiah prophesied their captivity to another land.
They never changed until they were finally captured by king Nebuchadnezzar and sent for 70years to Babylon.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Jeremiah’s prophesy in 2 chronicles 36:21 essentially that
“Because you have been farming the land without making it rest, you will be taken away for 70 years to another land so that as long as the land lay desolate, it restores itself.
This prophesy was in 605BC.
· What happened to the earth after Prophet Jeremiah is rather a human offensive on a scale never seen!
· We can only on this occasion, recount a few of the “penalties” we are facing, without going to Babylon.
l The W.H.O. in October 2021 sated that;
l “Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity, and health professionals worldwide are challenged by the health hazards caused by this unfolding crisis’’
Ladies and Gentlemen, the earth is confronted with rising sea levels as well as increasing global temperatures.
· The rising sea level is a consequence of global warming which has resulted in some societies becoming extinct.
Eg.Lohachara Island in India, which was home to over 10,000 people disappeared in 2006 due to rising sea levels caused by climate change.
· The entire Keta municipality is now just a narrow stretch of land and is the area worst affected by sea erosion in Ghana.
· Fuveme, in Keta municipality is one of coastal villages which are vanishing because of rising sea levels from climate change in Ghana
· A 2010 study by the World Bank reports that rising sea levels are swallowing up lands along the West African coastline at an astonishing rate!
· Just a month ago in North Africa, Libya, especially the coastal city of Derna experienced devastating floods at the end of which over 5000
lives were lost.
The Mayor of Derna puts the death toll at 20,000.
· The Libyan floods occurred just after the earthquake in Morocco where 3000 lives were unfortunately lost.
· Regular floods is a yearly ritual in Ghana, caused especially by construction of structures in waterways and poor management of our waste as well as unpredictable rainfall due to climate change.(stop to look at crowd)
· Between 2008-2011, (AFD) Agence Francaise De Development in France invested more than 700 million Euros in Ghana to assist us manage floods and the avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions.
Additionally, in May, 25th 2013, the Government of Ghana received $150 million from the World Bank as additional financing to improve flood risk management for the 2.5 million people in the Odaw River bank of the Greater Accra Region.
· Huge sums of loans are spent on managing floods in Ghana instead of providing adequate housing, health, education, and “planting for foods and jobs!
· As if this this menace is not enough,vast tracks of land in nearly all the sixteen (16) regions of Ghana have been destroyed in the name of mining. This has affected water bodies that serve large population in the country.
The story of “Poisoning for Gold” is to be aired on Ghana Televison soon.
(take a breath and lift head)
The floods, rising sea levels, increasing global temperatures ,earthquakes, depletion of vital resources like fresh water, soil, forests, accumulation of various wastes including carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the destruction of the ecosystem essential for life on earth-are all “penalties” of our destructive lifestyle on our planet earth-this time,without the prophesy of Jeremiah!
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, According to the World Health Organization, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 -205
The Global Footprint Network has warned that, if the human beings continue with the current rate of consumption of earth’s natural resources and waste production, it will take 1.6 earths- like planets to sustain us,not one planet!
This simply means that the current rate of mismanagement of the earth with collateral waste will soon destroy the single earth we have.
· On reflection, Ladies and Gentlemen, can we say the killing and captivity of the children of Israel to Babylon was a blessing because they came back to their land?
· There is an urgent need globally, for sustainable practices in every aspect of human life-from individual consumption habits to corporate behavior and governmental policies.
THE EVOLUTION OF GREEN CONCEPTS.
In the early 19th century, Von Humboldt, a German geographer and naturalist published that human destruction of our environment directly and adversely affect the climate and he is remembered for his aphorism “NATURE HAS ITS OWN LAWS, AND IT IS THE DUTY OF HUMANS TO DISCOVER THEM”
· Greening, meaning the process of pursuing knowledge and practices, with the intention of becoming more environment friendly, enhancing decision making and lifestyle, in a more ecological responsible manner that can protect the environment, sustain natural resources for current and future generations.
· Greening is internationally accepted as a universal strategy to save the earth.
· In Ghana,the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources under the auspices of the Presidency, declared 10th June, 2022 “Green Ghana Day to plant 20 million trees all over the country.
· The Green Ghana Day instituted by our President H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is an annual event aimed at restoring our forest cover and combating the adverse effects of climate change. The awareness to save our planet have resulted in;
· Green Housing
· Green House Technology
· Green House Farming in Ghana
· Green Infrastructure
· Green jobs in Ghana
· Green TVET Institutions (Technical, Vocational, Educational and Training) and Skills Development.
· Green Projects
· Green finance in Ghana
· Green Climate Fund
I would however limit myself to GREEN ECONOMY.
· The GREEN ECONOMY is an economy that aims at reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities and aims at sustainable development WITHOUT DEGRADING THE ENVIRONMENT.
· It creates guidelines and policies essential for maintaining goods and services so\ that the natural environment on earth is minimally harmed or not at all.
· GREEN ECONOMY emphasizes that the natural environment is also a factor in production, but one which both classical growth theory and historical patterns of economic growth have largely ignored.
Pillars of the Green Economy are
· Land management
· Water management
· Waste management
· Clean transportation
· Green building
l Renewable Energy
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the issue confronting the world and especially our nation today is that, despite Ghana’s effort to transition to GREEN ECONOMY by the implementation of a number of GREEN ECONOMY related policies, the country is yet to record any significant achievement .
How will the INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS CONTRIBUTE to the green economy?
The Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana, although primarily focused on financial matters, can effectively encourage businesses and public bodies to invest in environmentally friendly and health-focused initiatives, thereby playing a key role in promoting sustainable investments for a GREEN ECONOMY?
1. The Institute can offer certifications and guidelines for green accounting and auditing.
2.The Institute can leverage its influence to advocate for companies to include not just financial metrics in their annual financial reports, but also sustainability metrics for GREEN ECONOMY.
3.The Institute could lobby for green taxation policies that provide tax benefits for companies adopting eco-friendly practices, contributing to public health initiatives and certified activities for GREEN ECONOMY.
4. On the educational front, the Institute can introduce courses, workshops, and seminars that focus on the intersection of accounting, sustainability, and public health, thus equipping future accountants with a holistic understanding of these critical areas of GREEN ECONOMY.
5.Collaboration with other sectors is also key; the Institute can forge partnerships with organizations involved in environmental conservation and public health to jointly address strategic issues that require financial oversight, accountability, sustainability for a Green Economy.
We have several challenges…
1.One significant challenge in promoting the concept of GREEN ECONOMY in Ghana is the prevailing focus on profitability within many organizations, which often views expenditure on sustainability for a Green Economy as unprofitable.
2.Existing regulatory barriers, including tax structures and laws, may not readily support the integration of sustainability and health metrics into traditional accounting frameworks. This calls for advocacy for systemic change in our TAX POLICIES.
3.Issues relating to GREEN ECONOMY across geographical area require a collaborative global approach. However, disparities in resources and political influence make unified global action difficult.( it appears ECOWAS could cooperate to invade NIGER than cooperate for a GREEN ECONOMY) in the sub-region.
4.Companies may also fear losing a competitive edge in the market if they focus on sustainability while their competitors do not
5.The short-term focus of businesses, often operating on quarterly cycles geared towards immediate financial returns, hampers the planning and implementation of long-term sustainability and well-being initiatives for a GREEN ECONOMY.
6.Technological limitations add another layer of complexity; while technology could aid in monitoring sustainability and health metrics, it often comes with high costs and requires specialized expertise that many organizations may lack.
7.Data gaps also pose a substantial challenge, as the absence of standardized metrics for measuring aspects of sustainability and well-being complicates effective assessment and reporting.
8.There may be cultural resistance within organizations or the broader industry to adopt new practices that consider environmental and public health impacts. This resistance often extends to accounting professionals who, without additional training, may find it difficult to accurately gauge and interpret environmental or health data.
HOW CAN WE SAFEGUARD OUR HEALTH, AND WELLBEING?
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the World Health Organization defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being and not only the absence of disease or infirmity”.
· As we face the onslaught of several toxicities from damaging our planet earth, the difference between “medical service” and “health service” in our environment need the greatest understanding.
l Medical care focuses on treating illness and injury for sick people!
l Healthcare focuses on preventing diseases and promoting health in places,times, and environment to check one’s health and promote well-being.
Respectfully, about 70% of us in this luncheon have what is now termed “lifestyle ill-health”
Hypertension, stress, chronic fatigue, difficulty in having quality sleep, overweight, ulcer, panic attacks, neck and back aches, arthritis, depression and many types of cancers are the major ill-health due to our lifestyle.
·The challenge with these lifestyle ill-health is that most of them do not have symptoms until is advanced or too late
l Hypertension is typically referred to as a silent killer.
l The reference “oh I saw him yesterday, goon so soon”, refer mostly to these lifestyle ailments.
l Our hospitals are mainly for medical services.
l One disadvantage is that, people go to the hospital when they are sick, not when they have ill-health as without symptoms and can kill.
l The term “sick care” is currently being coined to criticize medical care system and ADVOCATE for a more preventive approach to health and promotion of wellness.
l While C.E.O for Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, a Head of Department, young, fit, booming with life, , went for a Conference in the U.S.A. While returning, he died in the aircraft before Dubai from blood clot called-deep vein thrombosis.
l Our attitude to health need to shift from managing sickness to managing “ill-health”.
l Unfortunately, the middle class productive sector is mostly affected(lift, plane, snack at home, big meals).
l A very helpful trend for health promotion and disease for business executives is the emerging MICE TOURISM, which is very common in South East Asia .
l MICE TOURISM is acronym , Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition.
l Conferences in MICE TOURISM,come with medical exams, eye tests, dental cleaning and basic heart tests such as ECG etc.
l In order to promote health and prevent disease, we have in our research in Holy Trinity Medical Centre termed “the 10 health pillars of wellness”
1. Pillar 1- physical exercise
2. Pillar 2- rest/sleep
3. Pillar 3-diet
4. Pillar 4-detoxification
5. Pillar 5-stress and stress management
7. Pillar 7-positive attitude
8. Pillar 8-Spirituality
9. Pillar 9-Complementary and alternate health services
10. Pillar 10-scientific health-especially regular medical check-up
The 10 Health Pillars are what will ensure of “our health, our well-being on our planet.” because the causes of ill-health are numerous including several cancers, heart diseases.
I will highlight researches and benefits not usually mentioned.
PILLAR 1(PHYSICAL EXERCISE)
· In 2005, the NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE IN THE USA published that regular physical exercise is associated with 50% decrease in colon cancer.
· A study in the Journal, American Medical Association found that women who do brisk walking for about one to two hours a week decrease the risk of breast cancer by 18% as compared to inactive women.
PILLAR TWO (REST&SLEEP)
· Sleeplessness is linked to the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression, chronic fatigue, chronic pain syndrome, auto-immune diseases
· Men who consume high amounts of red meat -khebabs, etc increase their chances of prostate cancer by 2 to 3 times over men who do not take high amounts of red meat
· Another study found that children who eat more than 12 hot dogs per month have 9 times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia or cancer!
· The AMERICAN RED CROSS took umbilical cord samples of ten babies and tested them for contamination. The test showed these babies had an average 287 contaminants including meth1 mercury, pesticides, including DDT, 180 of the contaminants can cause cancer!
. The air we breathe is filled with cigarette smoke, dust, ozone, carbon monoxide exhaust from vehicles, heavy chemicals from factories and refineries, smoke from forest fires, chemicals in air fresheners. All these accumulate in our bodies and are harmful to our health.
• Cigarette smoke contains 4700 chemicals, two hundred poisons, fifty cancer-causing chemicals which can cause lung cancer. Inhaling another person’s cigarette smoke is worse than smoking 4 cigarettes yourself.
·A long-term study at the UNIVERSITY OF LONDON showed that chronic un-managed emotional or mental stress whether from family or work problems(even as a chartered accountant) etc was six times more likely to cause cancer and heart disease than cigarette smoking, high cholesterol levels, and elevated blood pressure!
· In a ten-year study, people who were not able to manage their stress effectively had 40 percent higher death rate than those who were relatively unstressed.
PILLAR 6 (SUPPLEMENTS)
In 2002, the JOURNAL OF AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION shocked the Orthodox Medical World when it published a study recommending that adults should take a multivitamin supplement daily to help prevent chronic diseases such as Cancer and Heart disease!
• At the 1992 Earth summit, a research document was presented that 85% of vital minerals in U.S.A has been depleted. Consequently, many crops produced from such soil lack essential nutrients for health!
• Inadequate fiber intake is associated with PILES, COLON AND RECTAL CANCER as well as elevated CHOLESTEROL, POOR SUGAR CONTROL IN DIABETES and IRRITABLE BOWEL DISEASE.
PILLAR 7(POSITIVE ATTITUDE)
The new science of psychoneuroimmunology has established the link between mind and body.
For example attitudes which produce stress depress the body’s killer white blood cells which protect the body against viruses, bacteria.
• In 2000, a team of researchers at the UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND reported that individuals who used humor in their speech patterns were often less likely to suffer heart attack than those who don’t use humor!
There are about 8 places in the world where inhabitants live average 100 years.
These are called CENTENARIANS COMMUNITIES. These include the Hauza region,Pakistan, Vikabamba in Equador, Abkazia in Russia.
Although all of them eat plant-based foods and are mostly farmers, the striking factor is that they believe in one Supreme Being and their lifestyle revolves around this.
PILLAR 9 (COMPLEMENTARY& ALTERNATE HEALTH)
Pillar 9 is what we termed Complementary and Alternative Health Practices.
They are practices that science does not understand.
Examples are Prayer, Herbal Medicine, Humor Therapy, Acupuncture,Animal Assisted Therapy,Massages,Heat and Cold Treatments, Ayurveda, Chiropractor etc..
l In different cultures, a baby with hiccups responds to a small thread on fontanelle. No one knows why!
We know prayer healing is real .
Jesus Christ did 42 healing sessions with 13, casting out demons.
PILLAR 10 :(SCIENTIFIC HEALTH)
In order to prevent disease, it is important to have regular medical check-ups.
Pillar 9 and 10 Complementary, Alternative and Scientific Health are especially since 2014, recognized as a specialty called INTEGRATIVE HEALTH/MEDICINE.
Permit me to say Holy Trinity Spa and Health Farm, Sogakope, is the Integrative Health Department of our Holy Trinity Medical Centre.
Integrative Medicine focuses more on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention using scientific and non-scientific practices.
We have seen several cocaine,heroine, and other addictions healed, and mood disorders like depressions much more readily than scientific medicine alone with the combination of drugs, prayer, exercise, laughter and music therapy and several Relaxations and Detoxification.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we have our planet, our health, our well-being in our hands; what we do with them is our responsibility; we choose to float together or we sink as one people in our planet called EARTH.
The choice is ours-globally.