From the somewhat comfort of my home I write to you this appealing letter as we strive to combat the covid-19 epidemic in every effective ways known to us. We have also learnt a couple of lessons from countries (like China, Iran, Italy, USA) that have been hit hard by this deadly virus and are still in the process of learning a thing or two.
During these times it is okay to be scared because the virus is no respector of persons (be it a child or adult, rich or poor, political or apolitical, married or single, healthy or unhealthy, etc.). However, brooding on our fears will hatch "paranoia" - a psychological disorder characterised by delusions of persecution or grandeur. It is in such spirit I write to reiterate the observance of the following, which we have already been doing, from the very first day the Minister of Health briefed us as a nation on the first and second recorded cases in our motherland, Ghana.
Firstly, conscious effort to allay the fears of seemingly paranoid family member(s) and friend(s) must be made. They are where they because of the information at their disposable: credible and incredible. Let us suggest to them to avoid social media platforms and groupings that are likely to disseminate unauthenticated information. We should also not be surprised to know that the right information has not reached almost all sections of the Ghanaian society - those in the remotest villages may still be naive about the covid-19 outbreak. Our efforts in sending the right message about the covid-19 pandemic to every Ghanaian should be borne out of the slogan "Reaching the unreached by all all means possible".
Secondly, respect for any present or future lock down that comes our way is key and crucial. In our own interest and that of the nation, we should not go out walking on the streets to verify the number of people walking on the streets if we are not recognizer as essential service providers when such time arises.
Again, scaring family and friends with flu-like symptoms into thinking they've contracted the deadly covid-19 virus right away is a No No. It could be any other virus. We should desist from being medical experts by virtue of what we have seen, listened to and read in recent times.
Once more, ensuring to help others (for instance aged parents, siblings, neighbours, staff, etc.) to be as healthy as healthy will go a long way. They need our help at this crucial time. We would help stop the spread of the disease by giving them giftings such as nose masks, hand sanitizers, food, water, fruits, etc. to help restrain them entry into crowded settings. We should bear in mind the exponential transmission rate of the deadly virus and offer a helping hand whenever we can.
Promoting and influencing the idea of "herbal steam baths under blanket covering" in our bid to fight covid-19 virus infection is detrimental. We should as much as possible isolate suspected person(s) and call the emergency numbers for consequent hospitalization process.
Furthermore, causing fear and panic amongst family and friends with relatives living abroad into thinking such relatives are not safe wherever they may find themselves must be frowned upon. For all you know they are more safe where they are than we can imagine.
Will precautionary measures such as the use of nose masks and sanitizers help? Assuredly yes. It would help if we purchase the right nose masks and sanitizers and also use it in the right ways. We can do this for ourselves and Ghana at large. Let us remember the incredible national tune "Yen ara asaase ni" as always.
Selling at exorbitant prices to yield overwhelming profits overnight must be fought against by all interested stakeholders (including you, I and the government). Bearing in mind the exponential rate of the spread of the deadly virus, sale of items at abnormal prices puts us at risk more than any other in that we can come into contact directly or indirectly with the affected person(s) who could not afford to buy those items in the first place. The end result may be death and I bet someone else who survives the epidemic will enjoy that "loot" from exorbitant sales.
Has the media (visual, print and electronic) any role to play during this time? Indeed they have and are already doing more than they can. However, we should implore of our media outlets to disseminate information as it is. In other words they should broadcast unadulterated information. Overly exagerrated information from some of their outlets would do us more harm than good.
In these times and moments, being political doesn't make us wiser because this deadly covid-19 virus is not going to respect our political views beforehand. We should refrain from the blame games and pointing fingers. The pandemic is a global issue and if we have any good and workable suggestions at the national, regional and global levels we should not fail in bringing it up to the table for discussions and deliberations.
Nonetheless, I may come to your doors again with positive feedbacks on survival rates, proven and tested vaccines, etc.
We should all remember covid-19 is contagious and so is paranoia. Let us refrain from spreading both.
Stay safe until the world gets over the covid-19 pandemic.
Edward Essel Blankson
Chemical Engineer & Renewable Energy Expert
I look forward to positive feedback leading to a publication from your esteemed organisation.