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COVID-19 hits 450 doctors, kills 7

BY: Maclean Kwofi
• Nana Agyenim Boateng (3rd right), the Managing Director of the Cocoa Processing Company presenting the items to Dr Justice Duffu Yankson. Looking on include Mr Kwasi Agyeman (5th right)

More than 450 doctors and dentists have tested positive for the novel COVID-19 which broke out in the country on March 12, last year, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has said.

Seven out of the affected people have died, some are in health facilities receiving treatment, while others have totally recovered from the disease.

The development has impacted the work of the over 7,000 membership of the GMA working across the 16 regions of the country.

The General Secretary of the GMA, Dr Justice Duffu Yankson, who made this known in Accra yesterday, underscored the need for the public to strictly adhere to the safety protocols, as the virus did not respect the status of persons.

The forum was an event where four firms in the cocoa industry donated various items to the GMA ahead of the National Chocolate Day, scheduled for February 14, to support efforts by the government to contain the spread of the COVID-19.

The donors — the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) and the Barry Carrybaut — presented face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitiser, disposable hand towels, cocoa products, among others to the GMA.

Pledge

“It is our pledge to lead the fight against the virus, such that businesses and life can move back to normalcy, but we will not hesitate to emphasise the need for all members of society to play their roles because what we are currently seeing at the various COVID-19 treatment centres cannot be underestimated.

“COVID-19 is real and anyone or group of persons who think it is someone’s own imagination or someone is trying to deceive people about the virus should revise his or her notes.

“As an association, we have lost seven members to the virus; we have also had more than 450 infected in the line of duty, so we are not taking it lightly at all. Medical personnel can be infected and so can it infect the public.

“We have lost members in the line of duty; we have members who have also got infected. Thankfully, they survived, but we are aware that until we defeat the virus, per the nature of our work, we may get more infections. Therefore, members of society must play their part in order not to escalate the situation,” Dr Yankson added.

The new wave

A Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Dr Emmanuel Opoku, said the new wave of the pandemic had necessitated the need for the public to be very conscious of their health and boost their immune system.

“We are here today to first and foremost appreciate your efforts as frontline workers who have been working tirelessly in these turbulent times to save lives in Ghana,” he added.

He said the donation and the visit were scheduled to coincide with the National Chocolate Week — marked usually in February every year by COCOBOD, in collaboration with the GTA — because of the significance of the celebration and the nutritional value of cocoa in boosting the immune system of people.

He said the celebration was aimed at sensitising Ghanaians to the reasons for consuming more cocoa for its nutritional and health benefits.

“Considering the rise in the number of  COVID-19 cases in the country in recent times and the general risk of contracting the virus, we have deemed it fit to support the GMA in the fight to contain the virus,” he said.

Collaborative effort

The CEO of the GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, said management of the pandemic required collaboration among stakeholders.

“The virus has spread its infectious tentacles to every part of the world, impacting negatively on human health across continents and nations, including Africa and Ghana, and so we need a collaborative effort among all stakeholders to fight it,” he added.