Residents of Navrongo in the Kassena/Nankana Municipal of the Upper East Region have called on the Ghana Health Service to intensify its public education on the coronavirus to create awareness and control its spread.
An interview by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) with residents of Navrongo showed that many did not know much about the coronavirus and wanted more education to help them recognise it and seek early treatment.
Madam Kawe Ane, a trader, said she heard there was a new disease, but had little knowledge about it, “I heard there is a new disease which started abroad and spread to Ghana and because of it, we have to wash our hands at all times”.
Madam Christiana Kumotomowo, a trader, told the GNA that her two sons returned from school on Monday morning and informed her that their teachers asked them to go home as there was coronavirus in the country.
She said though she heard of it on radio, she never knew it was serious. “I don't know what we are going to do to prevent its spread from one person to the other, the health workers need to come here and teach us what do to prevent its spread”.
A teacher with the Ghana Education Service, Mr Stanislav Akwata, said there was more panic than awareness.
“The alarming rate at which information about the spread of the virus is gaining grounds outweighs awareness creation of same and this is causing so much public panic,” he said.
“I think in the next few days we should see a deliberate effort from Government and all stakeholders creating awareness in the markets and radio stations so that the information about the virus would get to everyone.”
A community health nurse who spoke to GNA on condition of anonymity, said nurses had not received any training on the pandemic, adding, “By now they should have given us education materials like flyers and posters, which contain the signs and synthons and the preventive measures of the virus so that we move to the communities and educate them, but there is nothing like that.”
Nurses need logistics such as face masks and hand sanitizers to help educate the public on the coronavirus.
When GNA contacted the Municipal Director of health services, Mr Azure Benson Nsoh, he said though the directorate was yet to embark on a vigorous public education on the pandemic, it was able to disseminate the case definition of the disease condition to its staff so that they would be able to identify such conditions when someone with the symptoms visits a health facility.
He said the Directorate also informed all health facilities in the Municipality not to refer any suspected case of the coronavirus, but rather quarantine the person and report it immediately.
Mr Azure said the Regional Directorate sent technical personnel for training in Accra and when they return, the Municipal would also benefit from it by rolling out training to equip its personnel.
He said his office was making efforts to mobilise logistics such as hand sanitizers and face masks for its personnel while waiting for allocations from Accra.
The Directorate was also convening a meeting with the Municipal Assembly and other stakeholders on Tuesday to come out with a strategic plan for educating the public on the pandemic.