Our government and the whole health care system were caught short handed. Three years of unbridled neo liberalism and cheap populism has left the public totally exposed and ill prepared to face a health crisis of this sort, even though scares of Ebola provided abundant warnings as well as cogent lessons as to what would be needed to be done.
The Regional and district authorities as well as the health care departments at these levels which invariably form the front line of defense in public health and safety emergencies of this kind, had been starved of funding thanks to a policy of capping designed to suffocate the local assemblies, subsidies cut and subsidies to the rich.
The Pro-left countries have handled the pandemic far more better than the neo liberal countries..and that should tell you something. Where is the accumulated capital? The current economic model is not working well. It is resting on fictitious capital and a vast expansion in the money supply and debt creation.
We are faced with a nightmare of unimaginable proportion because of our ill preparedness, poor leadership, corruption and reckless spending in the name of democracy. The scary truth is that, our unbridled democracy is failing humanity and it is time the working people of Ghana take their destiny into their own hands.
The Covid-19 pandemic is bringing into sharp focus the underlying economic crisis civil society organizations, economic experts, the opposition etc have been lamenting about the past three years. Our companies have started complaining bitterly, workers are losing their jobs, the informal sector is feeling the impact and the government itself has started suffocating.
At first, our government played down the epidemic. The primary concern of the President and his ruling class was not to curb its spread, preserve the health of people, but only to play political chess game and also pursue their diabolic political agenda. This, and this alone, explains their criminal negligence and failure immediately to act to take the necessary measures to protect human lives. Now they are rushing to make up for the lost time, but will not concede that their negligence is what has brought us here. I listened to Dr Baah, the TUC boss, and his submission suggests that workers are facing horrendous dilemma of how to survive this crisis economically. Ghanaians who normally take no interest in politics are anxiously following the news, scrutinising carefully every measure the government proposes. People are being told to avoid unnecessary movement, to avoid crowded areas etc. But at the same time, the President has authorised the EC and the NIA to continue with their registration exercise, workers are being told to go to work, forced to use crowded public transport, queue, increasing the risk of contagion. This is putting lives of those who patronise the registration centres and the workers at risk of taking the contagion home and infecting families, all for the sake of political capital and capitalist profit.
Capitalism and populism can seriously endanger your health. This crisis has revealed the incompatibility of the capitalist system with the health of billions of human beings across the globe. Three years of corruption and unnecessary capping measures have decimated the health system. The NHIS has been cut back year after year and almost collapsing. Public health starved of fund, while many services have been privatised in the name of the animal called PPP.
They implement these social intervention policies but at the same time consider funds channeled into these sectors as unnecessary spending. Our system is under staffed, the workforce overwork. These capitalists do this in order to compel people to seek private alternatives (their private outfits), opening up very lucrative field of investment for private healthcare companies.
Under the last administration, some pharmaceutical companies were given financial support to expand production. Under this administration, some big pharmaceutical companies are permitted to suck the blood of the health services, making cost profits of the misery of the sick, old and vulnerable. All this must end now. The health of Ghanaians cannot be determined by private interest. The profit motive must be removed altogether from health.
The President and his appointees have shown that they are completely incapable of playing a progressive role. Supported by those state captured institutions and their bourgeois business class, they push workers, even in inessential industries, to continue work unabated, they have ordered their election rigging agents to continue with their registration exercise. But these activities undermine all efforts to fight the virus.
All non- essential production should be immediately brought to a halt. Workers should be sent home with full pay for as long as it is necessary. If it becomes necessary for government to lockdown the country, it should make provisions for the poor, the old folks and the vulnerable. It is the responsibility of government to make such provisions. If government says it cannot give the citizenry such support, let them open the books for inspection by the trade unions and civil society organizations.
Where production is deemed very essential, then the workplace should be structured in such a way as to allow social distancing, as well as providing workers with the necessary protective equipment, such as adequate face mask, hand sanitisers, gloves etc and overall, regular cleansing of workplaces and the testing of the workers.
We were told by the President and his finance minister that the countries is solidly prepared financially to meet any future challenges..so, why this quick steps to reach the IMF for a bailout. What has happened to the capital acculturated as a result of jump in global oil Price.
The pandemic has challenged us on what principles do we organise our society. Our government could have curbed its entry into the country and its spread by cooperation, planning, transparency, political as well as social solidarity. But instead, the administration focused on political capital, competition, secrecy, lies, misinformation, and greed. The capitalist government weakened our healthcare system making it difficult to respond effectively to the threat. Government’s selective approach to national issues and sidelining of its opponents in decision making have wiped out any capacity to collectively plan any scale, let alone nationally. It has created a nation totally governed by the chaotic forces of competition for profit and for political advantage, where our government can easily plan years in advance when it comes to elections and how to rig elections, but can’t plan for few months in advance for disease control.
Right now, our medical experts and the citizenry are performing frightening COVID-19 arithmetics: the number of cases recorded a day as well as death cases.