One of our representatives in Ghana has sent us this very good report of the current situation in Ghana. He has kindly given us permission to post it on our website.
The Fight Against Covid 19 in Ghana
The first two cases of Covid 19 were reported in Ghana on March 12, 2020. The initial reported cases were from travelers from Turkey and Norway. Since then, the Government has been introducing measures to control and prevent spread of coronavirus.
All Educational Institutions, both Public and Private, were closed, indefinitely from 16th March 2020. Two weeks later some additional measures were introduced. These include, restrictive movement in the hotspots of the outbreak, quarantine of passengers from countries where more than 200 cases have been reported, testing of all travelers at point of entry, and eventually closure of country’s borders, and ban on air flights.
As at 11 April 2020 a total of 37,954 persons have been tested for Covid 19, with 556 being positive, 4 treated and discharged and 8 dead.
An Emergency Legislation on Imposition of Restrictions Bill has been passed to help aid the enforcement of President’s directives. The President has been addressing the country each week. He delivered the 6th address on Easter Friday, April 10, 2020. In addition, a Special Team provides daily update and press briefing.
Greater Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi Metropolitan areas were totally Lockdown from March 30, 2020. There is a ban on public gatherings in churches, mosques, social centres, beaches, festivals and funerals.
Shops are closed, except those selling food items. There are restrictions in movement of people from one district to another.
Isolation Centres have been established in all Regional and District hospitals. Frontline Staff, including Medical, Police, Military, others providing essential services are provided with PPE, other protective clothing/materials depending on degree of contact with people.
Noguchi Medical Research Centre at Legon is the National Laboratory for testing and confirmation of cases. A team has been established in all Regions to undertake contact tracing of persons who arrived in Ghana from abroad from 3rd March 2020; and those who have come into contact with persons who have been tested positive.
Fumigation exercises have been carried out in major markets throughout the country and it has been extended to Tertiary Educational Institutions.
PROVISION OF FUNDS AND INCENTIVES FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID19
The Government has introduced some incentives, aimed at ameliorating the hardship of the citizenry, following the introduction of Lockdown and restrictions in movement. These include: 1. Free bus transport, meals, 50 percent increase in monthly salary, for frontline personnel; 2. Absorption of Water Bills and 50 per cent reduction in Electricity Bills for March, April and May 2020 for all citizens.
In addition, the Government has allocated funds to District Assemblies to support combat against the coronavirus.
Institutions, Organizations, companies and individuals have also been making contributions in cash and in kind to support government’s efforts in fighting against the spread and prevention of coronavirus.
A National Committee has been established to receive and manage all such donations and contributions.
Some street children, market head porters and some vulnerable persons in lockdown areas, have been provided with free temporary accommodation and meals. Free meals on wheels, tanker water supplies are being provided by government and private organisations and distributed to people living in slum areas in the cities and some remote districts.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR CONTINUATION OF LEARNING AND EDUCATION
Following the closure of all schools, measures have been introduced with a view to ensuring continuity of learning and education.
The University Institutions are using online facilities for studies and contacts
Senior High Schools, Junior High Schools and Primary Schools are provided with scheduled learning programmes from designated Television Stations.
School Certificate Examinations, WASSCE for SHS and BECE for JHS final year students have been suspended.
CHALLENGES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID 19
As part of the measures against the spread of covid 19 the Government has directed strict adoption and enforcement of WHO Protocols in Ghana.
A major challenge has been enforcement of practicing, social distancing and hand washing.
Some cultural practices (e.g, shaking of hands, funerals), housing facilities, open markets, transport facilities and poverty, combine to make it difficult in enforcing social distancing, lockdown, and restrictions in movements.
In the area of education, lack of facilities in remote villages for Television, and Internet connectivity, will mitigate against availability and equal access to learning resources being provided for virtual and distance learning during the emergency period.
The country’s resources may not be able to cope with rapid increase in demand for Medical Care, if the covid 19 spread to proportions as being experienced in Europe and USA.
Poor living conditions and abject poverty in some parts of the country will make life difficult for vulnerable people during the enforcement of the restrictions against the spread of covid 19.
Under the circumstances the Government and the people of Ghana are making the best efforts against the spread and prevention of covid19.
Kofi Ohene, GSA Ghana Representative
April 13, 2020