A lot of people are worried and panicking over the outbreak of the coronavirus but if we want to look at it positively it is not all that bad as people are making it to look.
While we may have a few infections and maybe deaths in the near future, while bans and closures may come into force and the economy will be affected, we will make a lot of gains over the next few weeks more than the loses. Here is why;
1. The exponential increase in handwashing with soap and use of sanitizers which will improve the personal hygiene of citizens.
Citizens are the human resource of a nation and healthier citizens are productive citizens. If people are not sick productivity is high.
2. As we all know, deaths of respiratory diseases and sanitation-related diseases in Ghana is a big problem as we still grapple with environmental pollution of all forms, dusty roads and communities, chemical pollution of air from galamsey and more.
Because more people will be wearing masks, washing their hands with soap more often and reduce touching and shaking of hands, we will see a drastic drop in medical cases relating to sanitation and respiratory infections. This is really great.
3. As a country, we still have a large number of the population who cannot get access to safe drinking water and this in itself has led to illnesses and sanitation-related deaths.
As government is telling people to wash their hands with water and soap, some citizens are demanding that they do more to increase access to clean water for citizens.
Some of the $100 million could connect millions to access to water you know. The government may just listen.
4. No country has developed without citizen engagement. Citizens are a key stakeholder for any project to work well.
Increase in advocacy on social media and in our communities by ordinary citizens means a lot more people are getting educated on what needs to be done and are taking action.
This will be the biggest mass participation advocacy work for Ghana in a long time. Maybe in the last 30 years.
5. Health workers who are at the frontline of dealing with outbreaks are demanding for provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) with the argument that they can only help people if they themselves can stay alive.
This means some form of capacity building will be done at our health facilities as the government won’t want to risk health workers abandoning their posts.
6. People will take goal setting seriously, prioritize their needs and eliminate time-wasting and irrelevant activities in their lives.
7. A lot more people will work from home and the stress of being in traffic for about four hours a day for a week will be eliminated. Less stress means fewer heart problems and less frustrated people.
8. For the environment, less car pollution from emissions, reduced levels of CFC gases as office air conditioner use decreases which is great for climate change fight.
9. More people may cook home meals and eat healthy.
10. It will be a moment of truth for our politicians because we will get to see their true character. In a time like this, we will see if they will show true leadership as elections are in the corner.
Don’t panic, just wash your hands with water and soap regularly. Use hand sanitizers regularly when your hands are not visibly dirty
Always practice social distancing. Be Safe, God’s got you
The writer, Makafui Awuku, is an environmentalist, author and artist. He’s the founder and CEO of Mckingtorch Africa, a social enterprise which converts waste materials into useful products.