13.04.2020 Feature Article

No Need ‘Punching Holes’ Into Government's Intervention On COVID -19 Prevention

No Need ‘Punching Holes’ Into Government's Intervention On COVID -19 Prevention
LISTEN APR 13, 2020

It appears some Ghanaians still do not appreciate the effort of government especially the hard work of his Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo - Addo to ensure Ghana Limit And Stop The Importation Of The Virus; Contain Its Spread; Provide Adequate Care For The Sick; Limit The Impact Of The Virus On Social And Economic Life; And Inspire The Expansion Of Our Domestic Capability And Deepen Our Self-Reliance.

Surprisingly, some Ghanaians seem not worried about the devastating nature of the COVID-19 disease which has brought the whole human activities including that of the ‘world superpowers’ to a compulsory stand still either through total or partial lockdown of cities and villages.

Even with automatic calls for observation of social distancing where ever we are, some Ghanaians are rather testing the pulse of front line security officers enforcing laws and the directive on the subject matter.

Though I understand how humorous my people are I think this is not the time to ride at the back of comedy to pitch law-abiding Ghanaians against the forces in the frontline ensuring that the preventive measures are adhered to.

I believe also that this is not the time for punching holes into the intervention by the government instead we must work with them and improve upon it. Those who feel aggrieved or think they are not getting their own share of the ‘national cake’ should be concerned about their wellbeing.

To me, using mostly unconnected videos and audios tapes to create the impression that human rights of people are being violated by the security forces in the name of fighting covid-19 is a misplaced priority now that the focus of the world which Ghanaians are not in isolation is on how right to health could be realized.

Certainly, in times like this some human rights to freedom of movement, not to be tortured, freedom of association and right in work may be affected. That is not to say someone is violating the others rights.

We must admit that where one right ends marks the beginning of the others hence our right to the movement should not affect others' right to health as it is the Case in these difficult moments. It is important therefore to recognize that one needs to live hence the right to health so we can enjoy all other rights.

Therefore lets us at this time of covid-19 work towards our right to health by supporting our frontline health officials and security agencies through observation of social distancing without giving many problems to ourselves and the security agencies especially where they have told us that their approach to the operation COVID-19 was humanitarian.

It must also be understood that mechanism for the promotion of human rights includes laws and legalities, media and all arms of government especially the executive, so, therefore, let’s all now ensure our right to health by allowing the executive to at least enforce social distancing to fight COVID-19.

It is in view of this that I urge Ghanaians to stay at home for government to engage the ‘14-day worldwide pandemic’ to pave way for our normal life. All must now speak common language to support government intervention to prevent covid-19.

First I think Ghanaians should stop trying to push themselves to the streets and stay at home as evidence abounds that prevention of COVID-19 with lockdown and social distancing has resumed daily activity of some cities to normalcy including the Chinese city of Wuhan after three months.

Therefore we must put a stop to the controversy about the intervention by the president for health worker to enjoy tax free on their salary with addition 50% pay increase to all from line health workers as if not addressed now may linger on even after the elimination of the disease .

Are the health officials telling us that, their first time of hearing the word frontline to qualify health workers was only after the announcement of the intervention?

If yes I would be surprised at that as all health institutions world over knows their frontliners including a definition of who critical care persons are.

Does the controversy emanate from the normal greediness couple with corrupt practices making it difficult for the health directorate to define who front line health workers are? Or it is because of the fear that other people in the health institution may not be captured?

We must know that COVID-19 wouldn’t wait for us to finish our struggle to define who a front line worker to continue its infecting galore.

In as much as I commend our health officials for their boldness in handling the prevention of covid- 19 from increasing spread I urge them not to allow the intervention to overshadow their good work so far. They should stop the ‘10% Ghanaian calculation game’ and tell us who front line health workers are to ensure that the president's quest to end this COVID-19 attack is realized soon.

Maybe after COVID-19, heath directorate must be under one umbrella to stop the so many associations ranging from a registered nurse, professional nurse, private nurse, public nurse, to medical doctors, pharmacists, lab technicians midwives, mortuary men just to mention but a few.

They must deal with the perceived discrimination among them anytime they embark on their strikes to demand more money from the government.

Another government intervention that I think shouldn’t have generated any argument has to do with the president’s announcement of free water for all for the next three month directing Ghana Water Company Ltd and the Electricity Company of Ghana to ensure a stable supply of water and electricity during this period including the arrangement of public and privately-owned water tankers to ensure supply of water to all vulnerable communities.

Yet, ‘my People’ who hitherto had lived with the same water system in place for a fee demanded free electricity connection of water into their homes saying water isn’t expensive as compared with electricity.

Here again, I wondered if my people weren’t being greedy of their demands or they were just behaving like ‘Oliver twist’ thinking the president should be ‘father Christmas for the next three months?

Thorough to our demands, Governments further announced the absorbing of the electricity bill for the ‘poorest of the poor’ and 50% reduction for those on high consumption which I thought would have stopped the controversy at least from water producers and sellers.

Yet the further argument is that pre-paid users will suffer so government should come clear, even after the explanation that the calculations would be done to ensure all get the intervention so announced by the presidents.

Still, controversy is already on about the governments intervention for its citizens especially the vulnerable communities in the partial lockdown areas Greater Accra and Kasoa and Greater Kumasi and Obuasi to be delivered with dry food packages and hot meals by the Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Local Government and Rural Development, and the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), working with MMDCEs and the faith-based organizations on who is a vulnerable from some quarters including media even before the exercise survives it's first two days.

Even there is a doubt about the involvement of NGO’S, churches, and mosques who until ‘covid- 19 food distribution exercise’ were held in high esteem based on their impartiality in feeding the poor in the street which in normal times was made up of some petty traders, beggars, shoeshine boys, Kayayei and truck pushers.

I therefore need no economist, banker or a business man to tell me that a daunting task awaits us on deciding which experts to be assembled to disburse the Governments collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business & Trade Associations and selected Commercial and Rural Banks roll out of a soft loan scheme up to a total of six hundred million of cedis (GH¢600 million), for micro, small and medium scale businesses.

The question is, what then we are doing to ourselves at the time we should rally our support behind the ‘front liners’ to fight covid-19 as its being done elsewhere. We can’t continue to arguer whiles the disease is spreading with its obvious adverse effect after its arrest and perpetual incarceration.

I’m saddened by this unwarranted development at a crucial time like this where Ghana needs our contribution from a united front and not what we can take from it or has for us.

All we need to do to help mother Ghana is for once observe the health protocols announced including observation of social distancing in our markets and to stay at home.

It's important we accept the call that we are not in normal times, therefore, the need to avoid further spread of the disease by supporting the government with our inventions such as the leg- pumping -running water machines by one of our own.

as good citizens fighting a pandemic deadly as COVID-19, Let’s try to avoid action and inactions which may be interpreted as uncooperative per the way we respond to government's intervention aimed at preventing covid-19.

‘Hole punching’ in government approach, for now, should be the least to think of as countries, organizations, and individual’s outside Ghana has already recognized the governments of Ghana’s role in the fight against covid-19 as commendable.

For once lets us fill the holes to save life’s and avoid some inherent attitudes that do not help the whole country but ourselves alone.

David Fianko-Okyere

[email protected]


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