The Northern Development Forum (NDF) has called for increased border surveillance and control across the five northern regions to prevent people from crossing from neighboring countries to infect residents especially Kayayes.
NDF in a statement issued by its Chairman, Major Albert Don Chebe (Rtd), says all the five Regions in Northern Ghana have rather porous borders and the officials are few and ill equipped.
“We therefore appeal for increased border vigilance, including the deployment of the military to augment the efforts of the Immigration Officials and the provision of adequate logistics,” it says.
Even though it commended President Akufo-Addo for some of the interventions he has adopted so far including a Ghc 10 support to Kayayes, NDF bemoaned that it is quite worrying that there is no single approved centre for Covid-19 testing in the whole of Northern Ghana.
“We are aware of the two Research Centers in Navrongo and Kintampo and other Regional hospitals and wonder if these could not easily be upgraded to undertake testing for Covid-19,” it says.
According to the statement, “This would ease the national burden currently centered in Accra and Kumasi research centers and would enhance our effectiveness and efficiency in the national fight against the virus.”
“We call for fair and equitable distribution of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to Northern Ghana and other deprived Regions.”
“We have observed that socio-cultural practices and behaviours have a great potential to nullify the national effort at fighting the Covid-19. We call for a targeted support mechanism for Religious and Traditional Leaders in Northern Ghana to engage in systematic efforts at Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) on Covid-19 and public health in general to stem the devastating impact of the pandemic.”
It added that “we have noted that, in anticipation of the lockdown of Accra and Kumasi, mass exodus of female head-porters called KAYAYEI, would occur.”
“We know the dominant communities which these KAYAYEI returned.”
“These include Tolon, Savelugu, Nasia, Wale Wale and Nyankpala. In this regard we are calling for comprehensive testing of these targeted communities that have received mass influx of KAYAYEE.”
“This, we believe, will also improve the Government’s surveillance tracking for cases.”
By Melvin Tarlue