Dear Mr. President,
Warm greetings from a concerned citizen. I write to congratulate you on the quick decision and commitment made to managing the coronavirus outbreak. I am glad the microscopic Covid-19 has been able to unite the country in fighting for a common goal. I believe what we become tomorrow is shaped by our experiences. Covid-19 has exposed our weaknesses as a country and has thought us valuable lessons.
Although we will be seeing a spike in the number of cases in the coming weeks due to community transmission, with the right control and preventive measures in place, Covid-19 will be in the history book latest by July/August. However, his vicious siblings and extended family members will visit us in the future, this time fast and furious. Our lessons and experiences on Covid-19 are what would get us ready and set us apart during those moments.
Covid-19 lessons and the way forward:
1. Mr. President we need to establish a working system and not rely on individuals. Our health system was exposed and we are lucky to survive now but in the future we might not be lucky. Our health system should take mental health seriously as it’s often a silent killer especially during and post pandemics. We did and are not investing in Research and Diagnostics to develop medicines against any disease and potential outbreaks. The good news is that we have the men with the right expertise in our universities and other institutions that are woefully underutilized. Mr. President, as the saying goes, ‘a beggar has no choice’, our fight for Ghana beyond Aid would be a mirage if we do not invest in research.
A country that cannot stand for something would lose its identity. We should revisit our traditional value systems; research on our indigenous resources and practices with the contemporary tools to harness valuable insights and knowledge that can be used to solve problems. To be able to compete globally we have to set our standards, then we can compare ours to the rest of the world but to leave what we have and solely depend on others for everything, we are doomed. In summary, the future of this country lies in research-informed policies so let’s invest.
2. Our educational system, although you made a good call to suspend lectures, I personally did not think we should allow students to go back to their hometowns especially leaving regions with no reported cases to regions with cases. That aside, the key thing is that there is a need for massive investment in infrastructural and digitization of our educational system. If this took us by surprise the next one should definitely not. Students should be able to continue studies online without any challenges. We should also use this opportunity to make education all-inclusive, implementing inclusive policy on disability and learning disorder (dyslexia).
3. Digitization of our institutions, particularly, health, financial, marketing/commercial institutions. This will go a long way to reduce disease transmission now and in the future. It is common knowledge that physical contact, cash, folders, especially hospital folders, and groceries can be a means of disease transmission. Digitization does not only reduce the burden of disease transmission but also saves a lot of time and for that matter money, which could be channeled to other important ventures. Digitization cannot be a reality without investing in electricity and the internet. Mr. President, can we religiously invest in electricity and the internet by harnessing our human resources across the globe.
4. Mr. President, I must say some citizens of our beloved country are bad and exploitative. In a time where the country needs to be together in love and solidarity. Some citizens take advantage of the vulnerability to sell hand sanitizers, which is key in the fight of this canker. Hand sanitizers are sold over three times the usual price. A GHS 3 detergent is selling at GHS 10 that is 333.3% profit.
Mr. President on a lighter note, I think that it is unfair and they need deliverance and counseling. Also, there have been severe hikes in the prices of food and artificial shortages caused by traders to particularly extort other people in these crucial times where we need each other to overcome this menace.
Mr. President the pandemic would leave a global scar in the financial, educational and health sectors. Plans and policies need to be put in place to manage these issues arising. My special plea is that we need to also take mental health seriously.
In conclusion, we have done well by indulging in prayers. We have given to God and we will continue to give to Him, what is due Him but is time to give Caesar what belongs to him also. I would be glad if you could assemble academics, researchers, industry players, health professionals, etc. to deliberate on the way forward to indeed create Ghana Beyond Aid that we all so very much desire.
God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.
Dr. Osman Dufailu (Ph.D.)
Citizen not a Spectator
Researcher/Lecturer at UDS