The general public is being advised not to see the country’s race to beat the deadly coronavirus as a sprint, but rather, a marathon which Ghana is going to be in it for a long period.
A former deputy Health Minister, Dr. Victor Bampoe said it is about time Ghanaians are sensitized that it would take some time for things to return to normal.
“Let’s have it at the back of our mind, that, this is a marathon and not a sprint, so it is going to take a long time for us to get to where we will be comfortable.”
Dr. Bampoe who is also Coordinator of Global Financing & Technical Support of UN-AIDS was speaking at Media General’s roundtable discussion to review the effectiveness of government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday.
May 12, 2020 is exactly 60 days after Ghana confirmed its first case on March 12, 2020. The event was dubbed ”60 DAYS OF COVID-19 IN GHANA: Assessing Ghana’s Response to the Pandemic over 60 Days”,
As of Tuesday, Ghana has recorded 5,127 cases of Covid-19, 22 deaths and 494 recoveries.
Following President Akufo-Addo’s extension of the ban on public gathering including Church service and schools, many are anticipating that the ban would be eased after May 31, after about two and half months of coming into force.
But Dr. Bampoe wants Ghanaians to hasty slowly on that expectation.
“Life as we knew it, is not going to be the same, so we should disabuse our minds of any views that we are just going to switch the lights back on and everything is back to normal,” he cautioned.
He is therefore charging authorities to get the public to understand the data behind decisions taken by the president in order to “carry the people with him” for a “collective understanding”.
Since Ghana has a large number of asymptomatic patients, he urged government to go to the community, identify people with the virus and carry out individual lockdown. This, he said, should be done “quickly and very aggressive”.
“It is a collective effort, it comes with the education, information, and the switching of the mindset that it’s not as if, yes we are doing very well with the testing, but that is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end”.
Dr. Yaw Bediako, Immunologist and Research Fellow at West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), University of Ghana, had earlier asked government to manage the expectations of the people to rather appreciate the fact that the pandemic is going be around for a while.
“The government and others need to begin to sensitize people that it is very likely that for a long time, life is not going to be normal, and there is nothing we can do about that.”
The immunologist expects vaccine for the treatment of coronavirus to be ready minimum 12 to 18 months.
“I am not a prophet but if you look at the data as it is now, it is unlikely that things will change [within this month],” he assessed.
Other panel members were Dr. Ama Kyerewaa Edwin, Physician Clinical Psychologist, Bioethicist, and Palliative Care Clinician, and Dr. Samuel Kaba Akoriyea, Consultant Neurosurgeon & Public Health Physician, Director of Institutional Care Division, and Head of Ghana Health Service COVID-19 Case Management Team.