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Coronavirus And Efforts At Containing Its Spread

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NEWS COMMENTARY ON CORONAVIRUS AND EFFORTS AT CONTAINING ITS SPREAD

Historically there were years and decades where nature or God released a disease or plaque as well as holocaust to reduce population. Those affected are not necessarily the cause of the epidemics but the trend was a wakeup call on all leaders of the world and their people to come to the realisation that there is a Supreme Being in charge of affairs and his commandments must be obeyed. Without descending into preaching the Gospel, one of the most important tenets of the Holy Bible is for humans to treat their neighbours and love them as they love themselves. Is that what the leaders of the world are doing today?  When the coronavirus broke out, it brought to mind the number of times God released plaques on his chosen Israel. Frogs, pests of all kinds, drought and other incidents which led to hunger occurred and chosen prophets were used to deliver God’s anger to the people’s disobedience. Today, where are the prophets?  The world experienced HIV/AIDS which is still with us and spreading because we have soon forgotten about its mode of transmission. Ebola was the next to follow. We also had SARS and today the World is attacked by the Coronavirus. But the unfortunate pronouncement from unprofessional health officials and partly the media are to blame for the unnecessary fear and panic as well as confusion being created in the society, over the COVID-19 pandemic. From the start of the outbreak, the Health and Research officials of Noguchi should have been given the freedom to handle the situation with the public instead of briefing politicians. It is important to give professionals the chance to do their work while the government makes the needed efforts to provide equipment for the experts to be effective and efficient.

Currently, despite the  President’s pledge of one hundred million dollars to tackle the coronavirus, some medical professionals like lab technicians are on record demanding tools to work with and that beats once imagination as to whether the money has actually been released for the purpose or the politicians are still playing games with the Ghanaians at this critical time. Shortage of sanitizers and personal protective gears has not only exposed us to ridicule but shown that leaders have often paid lip service to our manufacturing and industrialization drive. Some youth were trained in sanitizer production however they lack the needed capital to produce to meet local demand and for export. Unfortunately, funds for startups are given to persons linked to political parties and this is doing the nation no good.

President Akufo-Addo has ordered closure of schools as a measure to curtail the spread of the disease. Among the protocols are the ban on funerals and political rallies. One is not against any effort to protect the citizens but have we taken cognisance of the massive effect on productivity.  For instance, some parents cannot come to work because they have to stay at home to take care of their nursery babies. Families cannot bury their dead because of the ban on funerals.  Who then pays the bills for the number of extra weeks the dead bodies have to remain in the morgue? Some people also consider closure of schools a panic decision because the reported case involving a student is an imported one. It is regrettable that rural dwellers have little or no knowledge about the President’s directives.

There is, therefore, the need for the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies to work through the Health Professionals and information officers to use their vans to intensify crisp, cogent and precise education and sensitization on the coronavirus.  This way the viral misinformation about the virus would stop. Again, the National Communication Authority, National Media Commission and Local Media Houses particularly in remote communities have to monitor and regulate broadcast of coronavirus messages in local languages to avoid panic and fear which would aggravate the situation. At best it is worthwhile to invite researchers and scientists to do a more informed discussion. It is refreshing to hear the Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama suspending his political rallies as suggested by the sitting President. His suggestion for ECOWAS Health leadership to meet and assess preparedness plans is also important and dovetails into calls by WAEC writers to re-arrange the examination time table to save students from attack. The emergency meeting of Pharmaceuticals Associations with President Akufo-Addo should not be seen as one of those political gimmicks but it should result in real support for the Associations to produce essential medicines and logistics to help prevent the spread of the disease. Let us take a cue from this disease and vow never to relax after managing to contain the spread of the disease and do things the same old way.

BY: GEORGE ANKRAH, A JOURNALIST.

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