The zeal with which all countries including Ghana are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is commendable and must produce greater results. Unfortunately, a great number of people especially in Ghana are posing problems with regards to non-compliance of the COVID-19 protocols.
Laws have been enacted, guidelines crafted and executive instrument issued, but the behavioral change of the people is yet to be achieved fully.
Some of the reasons for this attitude are lack of belief that the pandemic is real, that the infection of the COVID-19 virus is peculiar to some class of people, and that the protocols are alien to the cultural and social practices of the Ghanaian.
The admonition of the Information Minister testifies how serious the government is looking at the compliance of the protocols:
“…. Government hereby reminds the RCCs and DCCs that are yet to kick start strict adherence to go full throttle to do so with the executive instrument that has been issued to support the mandatory wearing of the masks.” – Minister for Information, Honorable Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Daily Graphic, Friday June 19,2020.
The enforcement of the policies, executive instruments and guidelines for compliance with the COVID-19 protocols is by far the best statutory and traditional way of ensuring compliance, but the HOOK for compliance in addition to these is “Leadership by Example or Modeling the Way” by leaders at all strata of the society.
That’s leadership at Home (by parents, uncles, grandparents, aunties, elder siblings), Schools (by Headmasters/mistresses, senior house masters/mistresses, tutors, and school prefects), Communities (by chiefs, DCEs, assembly men/women and opinion leaders), Churches (by Bishops, Reverend Ministers, Pastors, class leaders, deacons etc.), Corporate institutions (by CEOs, directors, managers, officers and supervisors) and the Nation (by the President, Vice President, Ministers, Parliamentarians, Heads of institutions, departments, agencies and units)
WHY? Because, people look up to leaders as role models of how they should behave especially in uncommon situations such as in this pandemic raid. The behavior of the leader sends messages about which behaviors are appropriate and acceptable or expected in the environment.
The leaders’ social, religious and work life should be worthy of emulation and should be supportive of the country’s effort to achieve its short and long-term goal of minimizing the rate of infection and the fatal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ghanaians. Role modeling the compliance of the laws, rules, policies and protocols of the COVID-19 is the process of consistently or religiously living the protocols through the leader’s attitude and day-to-day actions or behavior.
Therefore, leaders at all levels of the society are to get subordinates, members or followers to assume the desired attitude and behavior with regards to the protocols through their religious compliance of the guidelines.
The very first step in setting the example for others, is for the leader to be clear in his or her own mind and believe in the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and protocols to fight it.
Besides, the day-to-day actions and reactions of our leaders should demonstrate and support what is expected of the people. In the pandemic situation, face masks, washing of hands with soap, using of sanitizers, coughing into tissues and disposing it appropriately among others must be done religiously and publicly.
Again, our leaders must inspect behaviors that are expected. Such expected practices or behaviors need to be reinforced in situations such as at meetings, church gatherings, classrooms, dormitories, floor of parliament etc.
Role modeling is effective if the relevant feedback is given at the appropriate time. Immediate feedback is best in violation of the COVID-19 Protocol. Feedback can be delayed only to avoid embarrassing an individual in front of others or to get more information.
We all need to adhere to the protocols to safe our lives and the resources of the nation. The COVID-19 protocols may not feel good or comfortable, but are good for you, good for others and serve the greater good of the citizenry and the economy of the nation.