The spread of the coronavirus is causing a lot of havoc in many nations. All nations including Ghana are putting in measures to help contain the outbreak of the pandemic.
The decision to initiate actions including social distancing, partial and total lockdown, border closures and vigorous mass or contact tracing and testing amongst others are popular strategies that have become a global approach.
The outbreak of the pandemic although now a global issue, combative mechanism has become a sovereign nation’s responsibility with continued support from IMF, World Bank and WHO. It is in this light that Ghana has sharpened its guidelines with reference to the World Health Organization. It is important to add that, the Ministry of Health / Ghana Health Service and other government machinery would need to triple their actions especially in the wake of the government decision to lifting the partial lockdown imposed in parts of Accra, Tema and Kumasi.
One possible medium that could influence a decrease in case count in Ghana has been the social distancing campaign. It would help reduce the vulnerability context as people would adhere to the protocol of giving each other some distance of at least 1 meter. However, there are a lot of people who still failed to adhere to social distancing including some businesses and persons in the Upper West Region. The situation in the Upper West Region is appalling. Market women and customers in special market days including those in Wa Central Markets.
It must be emphasized that the expert view has it that ‘the virus doesn’t move people move with the virus’ and for that matter, the Regional Coordinating Council should consider placing a temporal and the Wa Municipal Assembly ban on all ‘special market days’. Even though some Municipalities and District Assemblies have taken decisions to ban special market days, the Regional Coordinating Council and MDAs must enforce the ban as a collective approach in reducing our risk level. Let us not begin to have so much fear of the ‘hunger virus’. We can tackle the hunger virus by creating a robust social and economic support system, but we cannot bring back anybody that would die from coronavirus.
Although, the Upper West Region have only recorded Eight cases of COVID- 19, with one recovery, the region must not lose sight in adequately engaging in contact tracing, intensifying surveillance, sensitization and enforcing protocols to help contained the situation. We must demonstrate resilience and spirit of oneness to help in preventing the virus from spreading. Communities and households should also cooperate with health workers for our collective good.
Considering the influx of persons from the epicenters of Accra and Kumasi prior to the imposition of the partial lockdown and the president decision to lift the restrictions imposed in our city centers of Accra and Kumasi, further raises the risk level to all parts of the country. It is therefore important for and the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council and all the eleven (11) MDAs to consider this wise counsel to as a matter of emergency to temporarily suspend all ‘special market days’ in the Upper West Region since market women/men and customers are deliberately refusing to wear noise noise masks, regularly wash hands with soap under running water and above all not adhering to social distancing protocols.
It would be a relief to hear that, the six or seven days’ interval special market days in the Wa Municipality in particular is temporary upheld. The Wa Municipal Assembly needs to expedite actions to restructure the daily market as a safety precautions are not observed. Let’s sacrifice economic benefits for our health, which surpasses all. It would not be a bad idea to ban all the major markets in the region including Vieri, Nyoli, Dorimon, Tanvaari, Lambushi, Hamile, Dabo, Daffiama, Bussie, Funsi and other major markets across the region.
We must also continue to engaged local medias houses, empower the Environmental Health and Sanitation Units and departments of community development and social welfare under the various MMDAs to embark on house to house visits to sensitize households on personal hygiene and among others. It is interesting to note that, the CLTS approach that has gain sustenance in rural communities has led to an increasing number of household practice handwashing with the use of the tippy tap with either soap or ash. Let’s give recognition to institutional oversight and effectively resource them to intensify the campaign against COVID – 19.
Author; Tahiru Lukman
Tel: 0209154057 / 0551018778
Position; Youth Activist, Dev’t Consultant & Pan- African Writer