Individuals, institutions and partners who distinguished themselves in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, have been honoured by the State at the National Honours and Awards 2023.
Other awards receivers are members of the legal team of men and women, who were charged with ensuring that the maritime boundary dispute with Cote D’Ivoire, ended favourably for Ghana.
Apart from these two main categories of awardees, that is the COVID-19 and International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) awardees, there was a third category of awardees of a few individuals whose work deserve the plaudits of the nation.
They are the late great philosopher, Prof. Johnson Kwame Wiredu, by common consent one of the outstanding philosophers of global repute of the modern age, who will be given a befitting posthumous award, Order of the Volta – Companion.
The rest are Ms. Margaret Sophia Darkwah, the first female Commissioner of Police; Prof. Akwasi Osei, former Chief Executive of the Mental Health Authority; and Dr. Veronica Agartha Martinson, former Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute, Ghana.
In all, some 19, 557 frontline health workers received certificates and plaques for their dedicated services in the line of duty.
Additionally, about 50 individuals and entities also received the Order of the Volta – Companion awards, comprising Members of the National COVID-19 Taskforce, Trustees of the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund, and ITLOS Technical Team and Legal Advisors.
The national awards are presented to persons who have made immense and recognized contributions in sectors such as the civil service, military, prisons service, education and public health, agriculture, commerce and industry, the judiciary, scientific and other research, sports, culture and the arts, and the financial sector.
The country received many commendations for the measures it put in place to contain the viral disease, after it recorded the first two cases in March 2020.
“Ghana is indeed indebted to you,” President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo saluted the awardees.
The selflessness and commitment demonstrated by the health workers helped saved many lives, the President noted, citing the difficulties the nation went through at the height of the pandemic.
These ranged from the imposition of a three-week lockdown in some parts of the country, and social distancing to the adherence to safety protocols.
President Akufo-Addo stated that the Government instituted some one billion Ghana Cedis as a relief package to alleviate the plight of the people in the wake of the pandemic.
Additionally, personal protective equipment worth several millions of Ghana Cedis were also procured for the safety of the citizenry.
The President lauded the ITLOS main legal team for their effectiveness and able manner in which they handled Ghana’s maritime dispute with its immediate western neighbours.
“This ensured that our western maritime resources remained legitimately in our possession,” he said.
“It is important to state that today’s awards ceremony is a purely national event, devoid of partisan, ethnic or religious considerations, and organised solely in recognition of the services offered by its recipients to the growth, development, progress and prosperity of Ghana.
“I, as the President of the Republic, the Fount of Honour, act as the Head of State, and not as Head of Government, in the distribution of awards.
“I can happily say that I am not aware of the political sympathies or views of the overwhelming majority of today’s awardees. Their politics is of no moment to me, only their exploits in favour of Mother Ghana, he said.