Courage is not formed in absence of fear, and strength is never formed in the absence of challenges

It is an undeniable fact that Covid-19 has rocked the entire fabric of the globe and shook every sector in the world to the core of which Ghana is no exception.

A recent check from the website of the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that this disease commenced its global-plaguing spree in the latter part of the year 2019 and has since then been able to infect millions of people worldwide among which several thousands of human beings have also sadly given up the ghost.

Ghana on her side has had her own fair share of recording a whopping 46,000 and over cases with a humbling number of over 297 individual beings sadly passing on to the land of silence according to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) website, and praise to God over 45,000 recoveries have been recorded as at the time of this write-up.

As if these numbers are not pacifying enough to merit the mercy of the goddess of this ravaging virus christened ‘Covid-19’, and like the Akan proverbial tsetse fly who can never stay for a second without blood, the numbers are still soaring whilst the scientific world pundits are also on with their continual search for a perpetual antidote to this disease in this topsy-turvy times.

From religion, through to education, agriculture, health, banking and finance, and the economy as a whole have experienced one batter of a sort or the other from this pandemic.

However, the all-time adage; in every thick cloud, there is a silver lining still holds and as the Latinos put it; ‘dum spiro spero’, definitely, ‘while there is life there is hope’.

The lessons learned and the blessings accrued from this conscious-awakening catastrophe of a pandemic will be the focus of this write-up.

In a highly acclaimed religious country like Ghana with about 71% Christians, 18% Moslems and 5% Traditionalists, etc., any move on human restriction will definitely have a dire consequence on its people.

The Covid-19 and its attending lockdown have had a great toll on religious activities which has largely been difficult for citizens to wrap their heads around it.

That was a total new norm which was very difficult to adjust to. It was, therefore, less shocking when some pastors got incarcerated as a result of their inability to observe the new protocols that seemed to regulate their activities. In religion, two departments that have been hit so hard are evangelisation and finance.

The brighter side of this rather demotivating situation that has eluded many is the innovative and modern ways by which many of these determined religious bodies have adopted in preaching the faith to members, and also in the collection of monies, thus, service collections, donations and tithes.

Virtual worship using outlets such as facebook, zoom, free conference call, and other social media platforms have been adopted as means of reaching out to the congregation.

This makes it possible and easy for determined religious leaders like Priests and Pastors, as well as Imams to reach a very wide audience without much struggle and cost.

Again, issues of church auditoriums being attacked by robbers as a result of ‘physical’ monies realised from offerings, tithes and donations have also gone extinct as these are now done electronically.

Could this move be interpreted to be a negative one? The answer is an obvious No.

In addition to the above, this pandemic has really tried and tested the nature of our current educational system.

Since time immemorial, Ghana’s educational system has ridden largely on the back of face-to-face physical contacts in brick and mortar structures which are gradually being phased out as could be learned from the advanced countries who, themselves, brought formal education into the country.

This pandemic has broken this jinx of ‘virtual learning impossibility’ in Ghana by pushing the administrators of our education system to try this move from the basic school right to the tertiary level.

It is a palpable fact that this attempt by the education ministry and school administrators has not been that smooth due to poor state of our internet services, but some boggling questions worth asking are; have we been able to achieve some successes especially, at the tertiary level such that the students could sit for examination this semester?

What about the final exams for the Junior and Senior High Schools? Could this system be better off by now if we had started earlier? I think it is always better to start something you ought to do than not starting at all and with time, it gets better as Rome was not built in a day.

Moreover, the real state of Ghana’s agricultural sector has also been put on the weighing scale by this pandemic.

Largely, Ghana is best known for the heavy importation of goods and services of which that of food cannot be overemphasised.

Foodstuffs and their supplements that could be planted and harvested on our vast arable lands, are all imported.

According to the World Bank’s collection of development indicators in 2016, Ghana’s arable land forms about 70% of the total land mass. This looks quite intriguing isn’t it?

Then came Covid-19 pandemic which got all boarders closed. No importation, No exportation; No food in, no food out.

Interestingly, I am yet to hear someone starving to death as a result of this pandemic.

Our gallant farmers are still able to feed the entire nation which is a landmark achievement worth considering.

Deep research in this Covid-19 season has even confirmed the fact that locally produced foods are full of quality and high-level nutrients that are even cheaper to purchase as compared to the imported ones, hence, we should consume them in their higher proportions.

This pandemic has indeed proven that the “Ghana can be self-reliant” lip-mantra, in reality, is something that is doable.

Another sector that Covid-19 has impacted positively is the health sector. I know many will be quick to quip with the question; “how could this be possible considering the number of Covid-19 related deaths recorded so far?”

This indeed is a legitimate question and a truism. However, the following simple questions are also worth-pondering over; how many times do people now wash their hands in a day?

How many times do people now use the sanitizer? Our answers to these could sharply be juxtaposed with our attitude towards these basic hygiene etiquettes during the days prior to the breakout of this pandemic.

Plainly, one could say that personal hygiene has been on the ascendency this Covid-19 era and should it be over, cholera-related cases in our communities would be brought to its barest minimum.

I was shocked to the marrow upon watching some scenes from major markets in Accra and around the country after these all-important places were disinfected, a commendable move quite unusual in Ghana.

These major disinfection exercises have been carried out twice within this short period of the pandemic though so important an action which ought to have been a regular routine way before now.

Also, our health managers and the government have been exposed to the real need as to why our health system needs to be revamped after coming to terms with the fact that when situations get dire, all borders are capable of been closed, and that ‘your own is your own indeed’ hence our hospitals, clinics and other health posts must be kept in good shape all the time.

Last but not least, the banking sector has had its fair share of the drastic shake up of Covid-19.

‘Many if not all stock markets, have been rocked by the pandemic and Ghana’s was not left out. Five out of the eight listed banks have experienced a fall in their share prices, out of which three experienced a fall of 10% or more for the most part of April’ according to the kpmg website.

Despite this, and all other setbacks one could think of, this pandemic has triggered many positive moves in this sector of the economy.

Electronic banking is now the order of the day and the best of hygiene principles are exercised in all banking halls in Ghana should one bother to enter. Should this pandemic be over, the banking system in Ghana will never be the same.

Mobile money subscribers have increased tremendously thereby serving as a source of job employment for many nowadays. Issues of robbery attacks resulting from victims/people carrying huge amounts on them will be a thing of the past or drastically reduced as majority will be operating in the soft cash system.

All industry players and leaders be they religious, through to education, agriculture, health, banking and finance, etc., must try to do a very deep introspection into their business objectives vis-à-vis a situational analysis of the impact of the pandemic.

There will be this fine rose of a leeway that could salvage their business or religions from the torments of this pandemic.

Always be mindful that in every thick cloud, there is, there must, and there will definitely be in there, a finely-bright lining of silver.

Just try to spot it out and that will surely be the turning curve in whatever adversity one is.

Toughen up, dear one! This too shall pass!

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About the author; Philip Boateng Ansah is a Lecturer at the University of Mines and Technology. He is with the Department of Technical Communication (kingphilipo13@gmail.com).