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Coronavirus: Health Coalition calls on MMDAs to curb community spread

The National Chairman of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH), Dr. Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, has called on the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to step up precautionary measures and enhance surveillance to curb the community spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The GCNH has observed that community-based infection of the COVID-19 “is beginning to show a threat than we imagined,” and entreated traditional and religious bodies to support public education and advocacy to fight local transmission.
Dr Benarkuu told Sunyani-based Nimdee FM on Saturday that the populace still does not understand the use of nose masks and social and physical distancing as remedies to fight the COVID-19.
Because of this many Ghanaians are still not adhering to the protocols, despite continuous surging of COVID-19 figures, he said, and urged the MMDAs to intensify public education and make available enough masks for the masses.
“Over the last two weeks, the GCNH has had the opportunity to visit strategic districts and market centres/lorry stations. We collected data and made observations as well.
“There is a big misconception around the use of the face mask. This is dangerous for Ghana, since proper and consistent use of the nose mask has a great impact on breaking the chain of the spread of the virus,” Dr. Benarkuu said.
He underscored the need for the country to support research into local vaccine experimentation and production for the COVID-19.
Dr. Benarkuu pointed out that sociological and psychological interventions on the COVID-19 control are low, and there is the need for concerted efforts to scale up.
He, therefore, appealed to the Ministry of Health to support the public health and socio-psychological systems with logistics to enable it function effectively.
Dr. Benarkuu indicated that adaptation strategies must to be properly rolled out to affected families, communities and regions, and appealed to the managers of the COVID 19 Trust Fund, to provide enough funds to the MMDAs.
The GCNH alleged that some religious groups were trying to put pressure on the government to relax the measures put in place to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
“Intelligence gathered from our networks suggests some religious groups are trying to put pressure on government to open up, we do not support this at all. Even science is failing almost all governments globally,” he said, and added that “we do not support this at all.”
The coalition observed that areas where traditional and religious bodies play active roles in education, support and advocacy, impacts and successes are visibly felt, and said, “We need to support such initiatives.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Christian Advocacy Africa, Rev Dr. Kwabena Opuni Frimpong, has highlighted some rippling impacts of the Coronavirus on churches.
He has described as worrying how some weddings and funerals have been put on hold because of the ban on social gatherings.
Rev Opuni Frimpong also disclosed that churches, just like other institutions, have been compelled to either lay off some workers or cut down salaries
“This whole situation has led to lay-offs and salary cuts. It is even leading to frustration, because we have young people who have their weddings with their pastors, now they don’t even know how to go about it. Pastors are worried; young people are worried. We have people who have lost dear ones and want to have the funeral, but cannot.”
He has, nonetheless, called for institutions to properly manage their relationships with the public rather than complain about lack of offerings.
He said trust, combined with strategic controls and clear communication, is needed in these difficult times.
“Instead of spending all our energies complaining about offerings and not being able to get closer to our church members, let’s think of gathering public confidence. Let’s ask ourselves how we can gain public confidence.

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