A day’s training and orientation workshop has been held for the members of the Greater Accra Region of Chiefs with a call on them to take the lead in the rollout of the community engagement and risk education strategy.
This will deepen awareness of COVID-19 to sustain adherence to the safety protocols.
The training, organised by the Ministry of Information, the Ghana Health Service, and partners was to educate the chiefs on COVID-19, non-communicable diseases, stigmatization, and the preventive safety protocols.
Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, the Deputy Minister of Information who made the call said government appreciated the partnership with traditional authorities in the national development agenda and the support received during the enforcement of the restrictions to combat the COVID-19.
He said the government’s strategy was anchored on five main pillars; limit importation of COVID-19 cases, contain community spread to the barest minimum, provide adequate care for affected persons, limit the impact of COVID-19 on the socio-economic life of Ghanaians, and deepen self-reliance and increase production capacity.
Mr Hadzide said the measures deployed by the government to fight the virus was in the interest of public health and the number of recoveries increased tremendously.
The Deputy Minister thanked the chiefs for their role in collaborating with the government in the fight saying; “In this crucial time, what must be done is to continue adherence to the safety protocols.
Mr Ishmael Ashitey, the Greater Accra Regional Minister admonished the citizenry to adhere strictly to the COVD-19 safety protocols as that was the only weapon to combat the virus.
Dr Da costa Aboagye, the Director of Health Promotion Division of the Ghana Health Service, and Leader of National Risk Communication and Social Mobilization Committee for Ghana’s COVID-19 Response Team led in the training.
He said: “Although COVID-19 claimed lives, statistics especially in the rate of recoveries looked encouraging. The initial fear that gripped the country when the first cases were reported seems to have been replaced with a probing sense of hope as the country records a slow rate of spread of the virus”.
Dr Aboagye said "Unfortunately it appears Ghanaians are gradually relaxing in observance of the safety protocols. The wearing of a face mask is reducing by the day, social distancing is not being strictly adhered to, and frequency of handwashing has also reduced significantly. This picture gives a cause for concern”.
He said: “The pandemic has not left us yet and there is no vaccine to protect us against this family of viruses, we are informed that scientists are still trying to understand the full picture of the pandemic its symptoms, and its severity.”
The Director urged the citizenry not to throw caution to the wind, saying; “because letting our guards down could result in an erosion of the remarkable gains.”
He said the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, and the Government on the other hand had promised to initiate ‘wellness clinics’ as one of the key methods to detect Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) with the aim of institutionalising ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach to support curative healthcare delivery.
Dr Aboagye said the programme would provide a platform for every Ghanaian to check their health status at least once a year and that the data would be linked to the National Health Insurance data, which would help reduce NCDs before the next epidemic, while helping to reduce the high disease burden cost of NHIS.
“The media should help educate and encourage Ghanaians to do regular exercise; to eat our local foods as well as eat more fruits and vegetables have enough rest and avoid stress” he urged.
Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona VI, the President of the House of Chiefs and the Paramount Chief of the Osu Traditional Area, who chaired the occasion expressed gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the measures put in place by the Government to slow down the spread of the COVID-19.