Although COVID-19, being a pandemic is claiming hundreds of thousands of human lives within about half-a-year, its effect in populations of Africa and for that matter in Ghana is insignificant considering other causes of deaths according to WHO 2018 data on Ghana's death statistics.
Currently, Ghana's Death Rate stands at 7.2 deaths per 1,000 people per year. This translates to approximately 216,000 deaths per annum across the entire country of Ghana with her estimated 30 million population.
In other words, currently a total of 591 people die each day in Ghana from various diseases and other causes of death. This has resulted in Ghana's life expectancy being computed by the WHO at 63 years with Female life expectancy pegged at 64 years as compared to their Male counterparts at 62 years.
The following are major causes of deaths in Ghana with their daily death figures.
1. Influenza and Pneumonia: 65/day
2. Coronary Heart Disease: 53/day
3. Stroke: 50/day
4. Malaria: 47/day
5. Ischemic Heart Disease: 35/day
6. HIV/AIDS: 30/day
7. Tuberculosis: 30/day
8. Road Traffic Accidents: 24/day
9. Preterm Birth Complications: 24/day
10. Birth Asphyxia & birth trauma: 24/day
11. Diabetes: 18/day
12. Meningitis: 18/day
13. Malnutrition: 18/day
14. COVID-19: 0.7/day (~ 1 /day)
Ghana's 129 recorded casualties from COVID-19 over the last six months thus remain the lowest (about 1 death per day) in terms of contribution to the total death figures of the country.
It is therefore of essence that the Health Officials maintain high level of focus to treat patients of diseases that have real impact on the country’s overall death such as malaria, heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.
Majority of persons who contract the Coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, show very mild symptoms of the COVID-19 and therefore should not be made to alarm the country’s health system. Such a panic state could lead to health officials ignoring patients with the enumerated real deadly diseases within our environment and this would lead to mass deaths not necessarily from COVID-19 even when they test positive for the virus. In other words, our attention should be focused on treating the underlining diseases rather than postponing them due to the scare of the virus.
Written by Prof Dr. Ir. Peter Twumasi (Biochemist/Biotechnologist)