Kwaku Agyeman Manu – Minister of Health
Government must be commended for making funds available for the country’s preparedness for a coronavirus eventuality. Although we continue to pray that we do not reach that milestone, the necessary drills must not be ignored at our points of entry.
For medical personnel responsible for ensuring that no coronavirus-infected-arriving passenger slips through the net at the country’s main international airport, we are unable to assess their state of preparedness.
We, as non-medical persons, are unable to tell whether or not the routine procedures administered on arriving visitors meet the international emergency standards as applicable elsewhere.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is still not in favour of pressing the ‘pandemic’ button and prefers the ‘high risk’ notch. The government of Aussie has put the country on a state of emergency just so the authorities are able to deal decisively with a slippery eventuality.
Our point is that even while avoiding anything that could send Ghanaians panicking, there is the need for our medical technicians at the airport in Accra to work in a manner which reflects the times in which the world is in today.
There is no gainsaying that it cannot be business as usual for passengers arriving from certain parts of the world. If we have not banned some aircraft originating from Covid-19 infected countries such as China and others, we should be seen to be undertaking heightened scrutiny of arriving passengers.
In 1908, when a plague struck Accra, the colonial authorities moved swiftly not only to stop the infectious disease from claiming further lives by stopping movements from areas with reported afflictions and fatalities to other areas with no cases, but they also swiftly identified the causative agent and dealt with it. These were early days but regardless of the shortcomings of technology, the colonial authorities were swift in their response.
Although this is a near pandemic of global reach, the technicians on the ground must reciprocate government gesture of making funds available by playing their part efficiently but with a sense of exigency.
It is worthwhile applying the word of the WHO Director General, Tedrous Adhanom, that all countries regardless of their statuses should heighten their state of preparedness in the wake of Covid-19.
Shouldn’t some nationalities be subjected to more scrutiny than others? Perhaps, the basic hygiene procedures of increased hand washing, among others, should be introduced in areas where this is highly appreciated, let alone applied.
Even while avoiding scaring people about the virus, the relevant authorities should consider embarking on the necessary awareness creation programmes.
The devastating effect of the disease on both lives and the global economy continues to worry world leaders.
With calm heads and the necessary measures taken, especially at the points of entries, they would go a long way in providing us with the protection needed at this time.