My deepest consolation goes to all around the world affected directly or indirectly by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. I have never seen people die in such numbers my entire life as the world is currently experiencing.
The good news is, humanity has from time immemorial risen above such challenges, emerged stronger and made the most out of it.
May the souls of the departed Rest In Peace (RIP).
I have followed the trend of events since the mid December, 2019 when the disease first broke out in Wuhan China with keen interest and the way it is spreading in some part of the world like a bush fire in the peak of the dry season.
I have also been looking at it effects on the people of my country Ghana, The West African subregion and Africa as a whole.
In my estimation though, the disease was “dead on arrival” in Ghana long before the president decided to step in and my reasons are as follows:
Between the period of Mid-December when the Disease first broke Out in China and Early March when Our President First announced his Interventions is a period of 4 months.
I know that averagely, almost over 400 passengers travelled from China to this country each day. In view of this, it is fair to say that about 50,000 people travelled from China into this country when there was no such restriction in place. Now the question is, does it mean that between this period of almost four months when our boarders were widely opened, no one came in with the disease before the l$100,000,000.00 was declared by the president somewhere in the month of March?
Well if some did come in, then how come the disease has not been able to make the necessary impact like it has in the temperate regions like Great Britain, American, Italy and most of the super power nations we know of?
Remember, the nations being affected the most have all the state of the art equipment for health care, unlike us. I believe we should be worse off by now if not at par with those countries aforementioned by now if the virus really has the same impact here.
The Malaria-like Symptoms of the COVID 19: As a people from Sub-Saharan Africa, we have survived these symptoms for millions of years and built a kind of immunity to fight it.
We can go back in history and learn from how the Europeans were killed by Malaria on our land though our people fared much better.
I also know the cost of treating malaria in the United and other places can go as high $20,000.00 or even more per patient in view of the complications that come with it.
In Ghana however, It is very simple and common disease which doesn’t so much to treat. In fact, it is a household disease which a seven old boy should be able to cure for you with any of our local medicines with ease. Others are naturally not affected even affected when exposed to mosquito bites because they have built immunity for it. I have friends in the US who have use herbal immediately they feel the symptoms and they recover in no time.
Herbal medicines like Tabea, Herbaqueen and others are all dreaded by the so called COVID 19. So I ask myself, who is this COVID 19 to lock us down as country? You see, it died before arriving on the shores of the country except those who were exposed to it for a longer period before getting here. The result from the contact tracing, the overwhelming numbers that have tested negative should attest to the fact that it cannot put our backs against the wall if we confront it.
The Temperature Difference: Scientifically, it has been proved that the virus requires a temperature below say fifteen degree Celsius for effective reproduction of the virus. I wonder where in Ghana can the virus finds this temperature for effective reproduction?
And I wonder how it will survive when reproduction does not take place? The excuse by the Doctors is that the virus can adopt easily but that has not been proven scientifically here in Ghana and hence can’t be substantiated. Here, all we know is that, though a lot of people came from China in the midst of the disease, we are yet to see the damage it can cause if any.
We have other deadly diseases like cerebrospinal meningitis which has within the same period has caused 37 deaths and h infested over 270 yet this disease has not caused the nation to lock down in at least the regions affected.
The Way Forward:
Government must Take Advantage of the Situation Instead of crying foul: I see the current situation as an opportunity for Ghanaians and for that matter sub-Saharan Africans to start attracting investment opportunities into this country rather than doing the unnecessary by following the rest of the world blindly.
I have always ask myself why is the stay at home working for the people in the temperate zones? The answer is simply; temperature difference between that at home and that outside. If not, the a person who has it should be infesting those in his household. Outside temperature is very cold hence conducive for easy reproduction and the survival of the virus as against the temperature at homes where there are heaters all over. So the U.S President, Trump once said in his interview, “I am hoping to open the economy back by May when the sun will be back in full hopefully it will reduce the effect of the spread.” Well whether you believe him or not, common sense should tell you that there is wisdom in what he is saying because scientifically the virus does not seem to perform well in a heated environment so only time can tell.
I still foresee a resurgence if care is not taken anytime there is winter within the temperate zones especially and therefore will make business sense for investors to start looking for places with high resistance to this Virus and this is where we fit in perfectly because we stand advantage.
Let us start thinking outside the box for once please and not to follow the crowd. Just end the lockdown soon!! Choose Both Life and Economy for the Two can not be separated from each other for any Meaningful Reason: In the closing remarks of the president on the first day of announcing the lockdown, he said “I chose life over economy, for economy can always be revived but life can not once it is lost” Well I don’t know whether there could be any meaning to life when you are suffering in terms of hunger, imprisonment, collapse of businesses, poverty, leading to all sort of illness and other related social issues such as domestic violence and even death, exactly what we are trying to avoid. I have seen a lot of people committing suicide as a result of untold hardship resulting from a mismanaged macroeconomy.
For example, why would Africans risk their lives crossing the Saharan desert, and even the dead sea to Europe? It is basically in search of better lives.
You think they don’t know they can lose their lives in the process or what Mr. President? Indeed more Africans and for that matter, Ghanaians have died out of poverty than any particular disease.
The repercussions of this lockdown will far outweigh that which this “dead on arrival” COVID 19 will manage to cause if we don’t act fast.
From where I stand, there is no meaning to life when your freedom is as stake in the mist of these frustrations and that is where I believe the two must go together. Human being are social animals and hence I will rather advice the president to go for all the two for there can’t be any meaning to life in the midst of avoidable chain of hardships. Jurisprudential law will tell you to use the utilitarian approach to solve this problem in such a situation so you don’t lose it all
Setting up Dedicated Centers to Manage and Treat COVID 19:
Government must set up dedicated centers in all the sixteen Regional Capitals to address possible situations which may come in the near future and even develop some of these areas into international centers for the COVID-19. For each region, a community park or school can be used for that purpose without any complex infrastructure to start with. Knowing that Ghana and for that Africa can always be the place of hope for the treatment of this deadly disease, the international community will troop in when the need arises. As for me, I foresee an annual resurgence until a reliable vaccine is completely developed, Ghana must be seen by the world as the “PLACE OF HOPE FOR COVID 19” Patients across the diaspora.
Additionally, let’s lead the way by developing and promoting some of our local medicines for export to the most affected countries. We can only do that if we don’t pretend that we dying here from the disease when indeed we are not for reasons I cannot tell.
In conclusion, I will like to congratulate the leadership for the precautionary measures taken so far to for-store any unfortunate circumstances this virus would have caused. That said, I urge the president to bring the lockdown to a halt any time soon in order that the whole exercise will not end up in futility and kick start the economy to bring back meaningful life to Ghanaians because obviously, the disease was “dead on arrival.”
Private businesses have suffered for far too long in recent times, Corona Virus should not be an excuse to make that worse.
We are not lockdown because we have no option, we have lockdown because of fear. It is true that we may discover some more people contracting and showing signs of the virus but as to whether it can knock us down the way it had done to the west, I see no such possibility.
We have all it takes to overcome this, what we need now is the courage overcome it.
Covid-19 is real but in Sub-Saharan Africa, we have been built to knock it down.
Thanks, and God Bless us all
Prof. Kofi Anokye
(MBA, LLB, BSC)