As to whether leaders will heed to the lessons of the pandemic, only God knows

Coronavirus1 1 This COVID-19 phase taught us that internet access should be available

Wed, 11 Aug 2021 Source: Abdul Razak Lukman

Coronavirus has highlighted some important life lessons. COVID-19 has turned out to be deadlier than a world war and a special friend of cold war. It is something the world would learn to live with as its eradication shows no symptoms at the moment.

The fight against COVID-19 taught us to be better prepared for the future. Everyone understood that there is a need for more funding, equipment and human resources in the health care industry. For this reason, African countries are not in a better position to deal with the virus at the basic level.

The Chinese contagion has taught us as Africans and for that matter Ghanaians, to know that our priorities are NOT V8s, neither are they the continuous increment of salaries of top country administrators but a sincere investment in the health and education sector. That is where our priorities are as a developing country.

Our health sector in Ghana has come to a stage where patients are asked to buy health equipment for surgeries/operations to be made. Yes! You heard me right. You as a patient or your relatives are to search elsewhere, wherever and anywhere you can find such equipment, purchase same and return to the hospital for health officials to work on you. These are our priorities and not continuous intake of loans in the name of a poor citizen and the unborn child who knows nothing about debt portfolio of our country. So you could imagine how such a health system could contain a novel virus like COVID-19.

COVID-19 has taught us to be empathetic as policymakers of Ghana. The fact that you have the resources to fly to another country like US, UK, Germany, Russia etc for healthcare needs does not guarantee you not to be empathetic towards the poor citizen who can't even tell where his/her next meal will come from. The ordinary Ghanaian who has nowhere to fly to, sometimes does not even have a passport and has never even seen how a Ghanaian passport looks like – if as a leader, you don't feel empathetic towards such persons, I don't know when you will ever learn to do so. You need to be empathetic towards their plight.

The pandemic has taught Ghanaian leaders to shun their carelessness and work towards mitigating our challenges. Some will recall that some key leaders of Ghana were flown outside the country for medical treatment as COVID-19 was gradually taking over their system. Why didn't they treat same in Ghana? The very system they are supposed to fix and claimed fixing, why can't they be proud of same without flying outside the country for better healthcare? Isn't this a clear display of failure on their part for a system entrusted in their care? If other countries were as careless as they are, would they had flew to seek healthcare there?

Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by the virus and many have died. For people who are very religious, we will say that such deaths were God's will. However, some deaths in Ghana are purely on system failure. The better we take politics out of our health and education system, the better for us all. I'm just imagining if US and UK were to reject entrants of our leaders who flew there for healthcare when they were seriously in dire need of better systems, what would have been their fate now? So let's put our own systems to work just like the outside world.

Homeless people and those depending upon daily wages are struggling to live. Have leaders thought about the plight of such category of people. It seems to me that our leaders are using the poor citizens as investment objects in the name of COVID-19. Citizens are now milking 'cows' where leaders are activating cash-out every moment from now. It is sad!

This COVID-19 phase taught us that internet access should be available to all to prevent deepening inequality. Some universities in Ghana don't even have online Learning Management System to contain students at homes. Meanwhile, this is something basic that we need to have in every school in Ghana.

At this stage, our lives are in the hands of Allah! Whatever happens, so be it – our leaders have lost focus, prioritisng V8s over the lives of the very citizen they claim to protect, they borrow in our names to purchase properties offshore and only give us peanuts at our highest hunger and thirst. They tell us to fix ourselves whiles putting in roadblocks to prevent same.

Now, we are on our own, lost in the bush whiles our leaders are holding onto the compass that has a way to our homes.

Columnist: Abdul Razak Lukman
Related Articles: