In March, this year, we were faced with a common enemy, a well branded third World War with a sharp sword that has no discrimination for the origin, color, economic status, class in society of people but an ever spreading pandemic that has put most of the world’s economies on their knees.
For the case of Ghana, we were lucky not to be the birth country of the pandemic neither were we somehow near the COVID-19 ‘host’ nation, China. For lack of expression, I think COVID-19 reached Ghana at a time we were much cognizant of the deadly nature of the disease. It visited us through our airports from Turkey and Norway at a time our neighbors like Cote d’ Ivoir, Burkina Faso and Togo were not spared their share of the COVID-19 infestation.
All things being equal and for the serious manner Governance should have been, we needed not wait to record two cases before taking steps to handle the disease. It was however unfortunate that Government got the sense to close schools, religious activities, social gatherings and others after recording the first two counts without prerogative measures. This directive was one of the mere utterances by the Government since it wasn’t backed by measures to Mitigate the misfortunes that may bring.
On the closure of schools, for more than a month now, all schools have been closed down and there is no indication of when schools could reopen. This should have been deeply thought of before the closure or a later consideration on how to keep schools running or averting the negatives of closing the schools.
Surprisingly, the claimed hardworking minister of education has become a floor member in the ministry since he has forgotten all the things that made him the best among 123 ministers. He only could bend his achievements on free SHS, a Government policy that is well advertised by any NPP affiliate at the least opportunity.
Now, some schools have resorted to online teaching and learning and even assessment which has come with its own challenges that Government needs to look into. The cost of internet bundles alone is enough to breed poverty in homes and families. Think of communities with no or poor network coverage like those in some parts of the North, students residing in these areas are at a greater disadvantage compared to those in communities with all these facilities.
Imagine, basic school children in communities like Jentige, Chache, Bale, Mankuma, Sakpa etc. who depend only on the teachers in the school hence their only time for engagement is the 6-hour teaching they receive and the rest of the hours are for support of the parents in their works.
For the sake of this, Government needed to introduce different learning models for schools to cover the needs of students by providing internet data, clustering students in rural settings into groups of 25 for teaching and learning whilst protocols to contain and preventing the spread of COVID-19 would have been observed.
Government since the entry of the disease into Ghana, the focus has always been on mobilizing funds to fight COVID-19 without putting in place proactive and practical measures to curb the spread of the disease. So far, Ghana Government has received support from 100 million USD from World Bank, Government has borrowed 1 billion from the international monetary Funds (IMF) and has established a COVID-19 trust fund opened to everyone to support which has received over GHS44 million.
Government seems to be camouflaging the Ghanaian populace by all the assurances the President has been giving us. Despite the numerous financial contribution towards the fight against COVID-19, Government has not been able to support most health facilities with personal protective equipment or even the establishment of adequate isolation centers across the country to contain possible cases in any part of the county. We can only see the Government in showing interest in maintaining the economic fortunes of the country without focusing on the direct effects COVID has on the lives of the people. A three- week lock down alone has exposed the true state of our economy hence the reckless nature in which it was lifted. This has increased exponentially from 1042 to 5,408 as at 13th May, 2020 the number of cases recorded after lifting the partial lockdown.
For a better economic recovery, Ghana better look at taking ways of preventing the spread of the virus by investing in the health facilities, resourcing the security services and MMDAs to test, enforce and educate the populace.
Stay home to be safe, observe the protocols from WHO, GHS and Government.
By Enbong A. Kunsaari
Assembly Member, Chache Electoral Area.