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COVID-19: Ineffective implementation of health safety protocols linked to increasing cases in Ghana

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A Researcher and Lecturer at the Department of Environment and Resource Studies of the SD. Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (UBIDS), Dr. Francis Bakuri, has blamed the increasing number of Ghana’s covid-19 cases on ineffective implementation of health safety protocols.

Dr Bukari said this can be justified because adherence to public health directives by individuals, public and private institutions are weak due to poor enforcement system.

He was speaking to GBC’s Radio Ghana in Wa on the sidelines of a presentation dubbed: Addressing COVID-19 Pandemic in Ghana and Beyond, Lessons from Ebola Research on GBC, Radio Upper West.

As part of efforts to fight the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in November 2014, Dr Francis Bukari led a team of four researchers to investigate the international management strategies used for the epidemic and the findings published in 2015.

The article was entitled: Malongza Principle of Disassociation to stop the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Epidemic.

Dr. Francis Bakuri pointed out that during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Core countries like China were able to enforce bans on travels to and out of West Africa more promptly, compared to West African governments abilities to do same to then.

This, he noted, could explain why Ebola cases were largely confined to West Africa, compared to COVID-19.

He said the Ebola research findings and recommendations are still relevant to effective fight against the COVID-19.

“From both international and local practices of the Ebola Virus Diseases, we realised that they were not able to define specific incidence ranges. For Example, to what extend and how many people infected by the disease can we classify as low case and for that matter high cases and what should be a response by a country recording low cases or high?
What number can we regard as low, medium and high cases and the specific measures to handle the situation? Effort of experts did not come out to show the kind of response intensity that should accrue.” 

“All these were not done and that is also happening now in the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dr. Bukari stated.

Dr Bukari has therefore called for strict measures and effective implementation of the protocols by government in order to stop the continuous spread of the disease.

“Every process or activity that brings people together becomes a means by which a contagious disease like Covid-19 can spread so we have to identify some of these things and deal with them. Some of these things are being done but how effective are they?
There has been a banned on social gatherings, congregations, mosques and funerals have been cancelled.
They said we should not go to the mosques but you still see people gather in numbers to pray in mosques, do not go to church yet people still gather in someones house to pray.
So how effective is the implementation?”

“So the enforcement should be real,” Dr Bukari stressed.

There must be a law that everyone must wear face mask because the disease is droplet, so the effective way to fight the virus is the mask so anyone found not wearing should be arrested and prosecuted.

“Another way by which markets are posing threat to the fight against covid-19 is through money, the currency notes and coins, go there and see how many market women have handkerchiefs and face mask, they blow their nose without washing the hands and come back to count money.
There should be total close down of all big markets and every community should have its own smaller market and those people tested and made to comply with the health safety protocols. And institutions that are using biometric machines such as the banks ATM, E-zwich, Health Insurance and National Identification Authority amongst others should provide hands sanitisers and ensure that anyone going through any process there sanitise the hands before and after the process.”

“But these are some of the challenges we are facing,” he lamented.

Dr Bukari observed a poor system of lockdown by all countries that tried the method in a bid to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He recommended compulsory administration of approved drugs such as Hydroxychloroquine or Tocilizumab to all Ghanaians, whether sick or not as a temporary vaccine.

Mass disinfection of homes, private and commercial vehicles, places of worship, markets, banks, hotels, schools and all places of human associations and habitations.

Dr Bukari said this is malaria season and this period of COVID-19 contracting malaria would give chance to COVID-19 to use the malaria as an underlying condition to decrease survival chances, especially for the malnourished and poor persons who lack health insurance and not well informed about symptoms of COVID-19.

Dr Bukari said we have to consider and protect all vulnerable persons.

Story filed by Dennis Bebane.

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