Day after day, from sunrise to sunset, I read with anxiety, multiple online articles and news reports about the coronavirus pandemic.
It was, of course, our shared hope that it never found its way to Ghana. But now that it is here, wishful thinking is not going to help us contain the pandemic; meticulous planning and personal hygiene would.
Our President has recently inspected medical facilities across the Republic, and budgeted a $100m, as part of efforts to ensure we are adequately prepared to avert what might be an impending, unprecedented, health crisis. But it simply isn’t enough. We need, immediately, infrastructural adjustments to ease the pressures on designated hospitals; more logistics and better equipment.
The time has come for the President to actively rally and motivate healthcare staff to lead, from the frontline, the battle against coronavirus. There are public fears about the prudence of Ghana’s healthcare staff. Unfortunately, our healthcare system is plagued with inefficiencies. I believe strongly, however, that there are competent professionals, sensitive about the welfare of the Ghanaian citizenry who, faced with critical medical conditions, can deliver excellent services.
It is also important that the media prepare the citizenry for a possible spread of the virus and sensitize the public, based on the advice of health experts, about personal hygiene — especially about washing your hands, for not less than 20 seconds, with soap as often as possible.
These are six (6) steps I would like the government of Ghana to take:
1. Suspension of direct flights from all affected nations.
2. Health checks on the border with Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso
3. Third-country nationals who come from an area affected by a travel warning must have a medical certificate to prove that there is no infection.
4. People with symptoms should request the Ghana Ambulance Services directly to their homes.
5. Free medical support for all affected persons.
6. An emergency assembly, headquartered in Ghana, of Africa’s brightest medical staff, scientists and traditional herbal practitioners to find a cure for the coronavirus.
If you have a regular cough or a high temperature, however mild, kindly stay home for at least seven days.