A former Communications Minister under the John Mahama led administration, Dr Edward Omane Boamah has written a letter to the President of Ghana outlining measures to be taken to help contain the deadly Corona Virus.
According to the former Minister who is a Health Professional by training, there is a need for a lock down of the country in order to contain the deadly virus.
In his letter, he said the government has wasted time saying “I think your Government is lagging behind in its response to COVID-19. You have waited for the vertical transmission to translate into horizontal transmission. Let us not wait any longer!”
dding that “Let us not rely on the fact that COVID-19 is not very devastating on populations such as ours – because we have a relatively young population as compared to Europe and we do not have many people who smoke etc.
The former Minister acknowledged that “Yes, Ghana’s population is young; but we have weaker health systems that cannot sustain a full blown intracommunity outbreak. In addition, our settlements and transportation (tro tro, taxi) systems are very weak and crowded”.
He called on Ghanaians to adhere to WHO outlined restrictions to keep safe.
READ HIS LETTER HERE
Dear President Akufo-Addo
In my article, Coronavirus disease on a “Crowded Planet”, I suggested ten (10) things we can do. Lockdown was one of the ten measures. Mr. President, to clarify, lockdown does not mean total shutdown of the country.
This morning, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have, all, advocated lockdown. I pray and hope your Government will listen in good faith and act urgently.
I think your Government is lagging behind in its response to COVID-19. You
have waited for the vertical transmission to translate into horizontal transmission. Let us not wait any longer!
Let us not rely on the fact that COVID-19 is not very devastating on populations such as ours – because we have a relatively young population as compared to Europe and we do not have many people who smoke etc.
Yes, Ghana’s population is young; but we have weaker health systems that cannot sustain a full blown intracommunity outbreak. In addition, our settlements and transportation (tro tro, taxi) systems are very weak and crowded.
Furthermore, we also have people with diabetes, hypertension, pulmonary
diseases such as Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis among others who will be
terribly affected if COVID-19 gets out of hand in Ghana, our dear country.
Assuming 200 people (God forbid) need ventilators at the same time for
respiratory support in Ghana; do we have enough anaesthetists and logistics to cover them while at the same time ensuring we have enough to take care of other medical and surgical emergencies?
Mr. President, let us act now and act decisively.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah
Former Minister for Communications
Frontline Health Worker In Ghana
NB: I wish to reproduce the ten (10) suggestions; I made towards Ghana’s victory
against Coronavirus disease for your consideration.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Prevention! We must keep it simple: thorough handwashing with soap
under running water. Where running water is unavailable, authorities should provide Veronica buckets (a Ghanaian invention) and tippy taps.
2. We must report early to health care providers when we develop fever,
cough or difficulty in breathing.
3. We must not shake hands.
4. If you already have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cancer, long-standing
respiratory disease such as asthma, you stand a higher chance of
contracting coronavirus disease. Same can be said for the elderly above 60
years. Therefore, greater precautions must be exercised.
5. Also, do not refuse to be quarantined or self-isolate if need be – you can
read, listen to music, watch television and participate in group video chats
but stay away from gatherings, gyms, sleepovers and concerts for fourteen
6. Social distancing really helps. We must also limit contact between people
to reduce the spread of infections. So, limit being in large groups;
Government should strongly consider implementing a lockdown to prevent
horizontal spread of the infection.
7. Governments. Governments must act fast and decisively to nip the
pandemic in the bud and build resilient health systems. I urge the President
of Ghana to release money from the Heritage Fund – even if that is the last
resort – to bend the arc of infections urgently and immediately before it is
too late for Ghanaians.
8. Furthermore, the required infrastructure and logistics are
disproportionately scanty in Ghana. I do not expect mushrooming of new
infrastructure overnight. We ought to be realistic. The ministers for Health
and Local Government and Rural Development should engage all Regional
Directors of Health to identify facilities in the sixteen regions of Ghana as
possible quarantine centres. It will be impossible to transfer coronavirus
patients from the hinterlands to the capital, Accra.
9. The United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS, CSOs, NGOs,
Pharmaceutical Companies, researchers, public health and policy experts
including health workers must accept our common but differentiated
responsibilities and work to save our crowded planet to ensure sustainable
growth and development
10. Finally, I urge you to stop peddling rumours and myths about coronavirus disease. Help save everyone, including yourself.