The single most significant issue that the world have to deal with in recent weeks and months is the new virus called Corona Virus (COVID-19). This virus has raised great concerns as more people are dying as the days go by. Corona Virus is an ongoing viral pandemic with high fatality. A novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-CoV-2). Though, the virus is deadly, taking precautionary measures such as frequent washing of hands with soap under running water, using hand sanitizers, wearing nose masks and gloves avoiding close contacts with infected people. Observing these cogent measures frequently can make a huge impact in reducing the widespread of the disease.
On a beautiful late torrid afternoon, two days ago, I heard people ranting about lockdown in a country like Ghana. So, I indulged myself as I posed some questions as to whether a lock-down is the best possible course of action for Ghana. Frankly speaking, can a lock-down be for everyone in Ghana? The answer is a big NO. In a bid to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus in Ghana, locking down is not the best option though some countries have taking drastic measures by stopping the population from entering or leaving certain areas, otherwise known as a lockdown.
That is because the lockdown will not make the pandemic disappear. It can only slow it in an attempt to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Research from Imperial College London (2020) shows that epidemiologists and doctors believe even the most radical social distancing measures can only provide temporary respite. The lockdown cannot work in Ghana because according to findings from a global NGO, Water Aid (2017) about 5.7 million Ghanaians are forced to relieve themselves in the open and according to Accra Metropolitan Assembly (2018) about 114,521 residences in Accra are without places of convenience. Over 114,521residences in Accra are without places of convenience. 315 houses use the outlawed pan latrines and 79 houses use pit latrines. 81% of Ghanaians lack access to improved sanitation or are entirely without toilet facilities. All these overwhelming statistics indicates that a very large number of our population both in the Capital City and other regions resorts to public toilet. So how would these people ease themselves during a total lockdown when they cannot go out of their houses?
Moreover, we also have to consider the fact that most Ghanaians live in poverty. Findings from Ghana Statistical Service (2018) says in Ghana, 6.8 million Ghanaians totalling almost 25% of the population live in poverty and more than 2.4 million people representing about 8.2% of the population are living in extreme poverty. That is, they cannot afford to spend $1 dollar which is equivalent to GHc5.80 a day. In case of a lockdown, how can these people afford panic buying where they can stock up food that will last them till the lockdown is lifted?
In view of this, the Western countries such as France, Italy, and USA among others that have implemented total lockdown are paying for the rents, foods and other basic social amenities for their population during this total lockdown. The question we should ask ourselves is can we afford to do same? Let us consider our statistics and figures before creating a solution that will result in a problem.
Daniel Annie Sampson
A concerned citizen