Challenges to fighting coronavirus in Ghana. Ghana recorded its first coronavirus case on the 12th of March with just 2 cases. As of the time of writing this piece, April 9, 2020, the country a total of 313 cases of COVID-19 with six (6) deaths have been recorded. This is according to the Ghana Health Service.
The fight is on to contain and halt the spread of the novel virus, a new strain of the coronavirus that has brought the best of health systems across the globe to their knees.
As reportage on the virus continues in Ghana, I find it interesting and sometimes overwhelming, the kind of opposition that can grind down all the gains so far made in the fight.
I hereby share a few of these observations.
Even though there is a partial lockdown of the Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi, people still find ways of moving, during the time of putting this piece together, the writer came into contact with people who found ways of moving from places that are supposed to under lockdown to other regions.
These happen on the blind side of security agencies that are to ensure that only those who fall within the bracket of essential services move from one place to the other.
The danger of this remains that if one is infected; chances are that he would spread the infection to other regions. And often the route of movement in such cases are not the known official routes.
Non-adherence to hygienic protocols
Several people within the country have not yet understood the call to adhere to certain protocols that would help to halt the spread of the virus.
A colleague complained to me of how a learned professor in a church would not simply comply with the set hygienic protocols, he would want to shake hands, hug and continue to live as though there was nothing at stake and as though we were in normal times.
There is another group of “fearless” individuals who are so confident of their protection from God that they would not obey any of cautious stance that citizens are supposed to comply with, one such young man sure of his protection told me point blank that he was “uninfectable”.
There are doubtless many of such young men and women in the country whose faith in God has more or less become a threat to the fight against the virus.
Another group that is not adhering and yet endangering everybody are people who fall in the food services sector. A viral video that made rounds on social media saw a seller of meatpie who was distributing the pie to a vendor of an ice-cream producing company packing the pie with his bare hands. Such people exist in a significant number in the country and it would take more and more education to get them to observe a much more intensive hygienic ways of delivering their services to the unsuspecting public.
Just as is happening in the field of HIV and AIDS, there are several non-approved traditional medicines that are making rounds on social media. These have not be scientifically proven to be medicines for the treatment of an infected person, however, a lot of people have jumped onto these with a firm belief that “if you are infected and you take these, you would be cured”
If there is any major threat to the fight against coronavirus in Ghana, it is these so-called medicines.
What has worsened the case, is the proliferation of natural health practitioners on the countless television and radio platforms who in the name of educating the public, continue to endorse such medicines.
Ghanaians are known to have so much trust for these practictioners that many of the populace believe what comes from these “trusted naturopaths” hook, line and sinker.
In the heat of the talk about the virus on the media landscape, one major banana peel in all the efforts to contain and halt the spread of the virus is the spirituality and religiosity of the average Ghanaian.
The trust and faith in whatever “comes from God” in Ghana is so deep and a lot of times unbiblical that people would rather believe a “spiritual direction” even if it contradicts the Bible.
On many local radio stations television screens, a lot of “Prophets” have spoken about different kinds of directions (Akwankyer3) that people could do that would give them immunity against the virus. Many of these irrespective of how outrageous they might sound end up receiving a massive endorsement from a significant chunk of the populace. This is not to downplay the power of God or the miraculous in any way.
As a student of Christian apologetics, I am very informed about the omnipotence of God even in these days and very aware of what God can do. However, it is also a fact that there is nothing like a one size fit all direction that will give any group of people albeit their faith in God immunity against any virus, bactiria, fungus or disease for that matter.
A phone call that woke me up on a Tuesday morning during the two week partial lockdown was a fellow church member who called only to ask about my opinion on putting human hair found in a Bible into a glass of water to be drunk. Such is the gullibility of many religious people in Ghana.
The list and issues above are certainly not exhaustive of the challenge facing us as a country, however, these constitute some of the major ones and obsevations made within the few months that the virus has lived with us.
If you make any other observations, or get wind of any akwakyer3 that can save all of us, why not share.