Fellow at IMANI Africa, Casely Ato Coleman has outlined a litany of modalities that must be put in place by the government before considering a lockdown of the country.
This development comes on the back of concerns from some Ghanaians and civil society organisations for President Akufo-Addo to enforce a lockdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
A senior research fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, Dr Kofi Boni had earlier advised a “gradual lockdown” process which must be executed in a way that allows professions that offer very essential services to operate while all other sectors are gradually withdrawn.
But the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), while calling for same, wanted it rolled out with immediate effect.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story Thursday, the former Country Director for Plan International in Sierra Leone explained that for a lockdown to achieve results government must, first, institute a vigorous surveillance structure.
“Your early warning detection is very critical during the stay-at-home lockdown measure. Because that will help you to ensure rapid diagnosis, case isolation and management and so on among others. You want to interrupt the transmission of cases; index cases, primary and secondary contacts,” he explained.
Secondly, the management of stigma is another key area that the IMANI Fellow wants to be identified in considering a total lockdown.
“One of the standards that will be very effective… is that there should be effective management of stigmatisation. That means you have to provide clinical support, psychosocial and livelihood support when you ask people to stay at home because a lot of people will be affected,” he said.
Citing the measures taken in Sierra Leon during the outbreak of Ebola, Mr Coleman highlighted the need for social mobilisation and community engagement in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Sierra Leone, one of the mega weapons that led to the defeat of the disease was the role of faith-based leaders, traditional authorities, civil societies, community leaders… everybody participated in social mobilization and community engagement.
He said this move enhanced the change of behaviour, helped identify, alert and drove early warning signals in Sierra Leone.
The final but not least measure is for Mr Coleman is clarity on the government’s organizational model for response mechanisms.
According to him, “If you are doing an intervention in a disaster situation, you need to be guided by the core humanitarian standards. The latest one was done in 2018.
Ato Coleman emphasised that he will be looking at the extent to which the Akufo-Addo-led administration and its team “is framing, designing, executing and measuring the effects of the measure in line with the humanitarian’s standards.”
Ghana’s coronavirus caseload now in triple digits
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According to the Service, as of Thursday morning, a total of 54 cases including three deaths had been confirmed from regular surveillance systems.
Document detailing impact of a lockdown submitted to Akufo-Addo
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has submitted a document to President Akufo-Addo detailing the economic implications in the event of a potential nationwide lockdown.
According to Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, this activity will inform the President’s decision whether to declare a lockdown or otherwise.