The Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, has cautioned against the wrong public perception that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is no more prevailing in the country.
He said the wrong notion was emboldening people to disregard the safety protocols and that was having a toll on the national response to the disease and denting the strides that had been made.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said that when he addressed the 62nd Annual General Meeting of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) which was held virtually in Accra yesterday.
He said the country’s active cases had seen a slight rise in the past few weeks.
The two-day conference is on the theme: “Managing a pandemic — the COVID-19 experience”.
Dr Nsiah-Asare underscored the need for all stakeholders to join the national effort in raising awareness of the global pandemic.
He said it was necessary to drum home the message that the country was not out of the woods yet, hence observing the safety protocols was critical since there was still no vaccine or cure for the disease.
He reminded the public that the wearing of face mask was still a requirement and commended the GMA for instituting a nationwide COVID-19 awareness campaign to help sustain the momentum of the national response.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, he reiterated the government’s gratitude to all health workers in the country, especially doctors.
He called on the public to continue to wash their hands frequently with soap under running water and sanitise their hands regularly.
“Let’s continue to also observe social distancing and wear our face masks,” Mr Agyemang-Manu said.
He said as part of lessons learnt, the nation had ramped up the production of personal protective equipment from an initial 10 per cent of requirement to 90 per cent.
The President of the GMA, Dr Frank Ankobea, said from experience a major arsenal in the fight and management of the pandemic was to have a strong communication system in place.
Going into the future, he called for the establishment of a well-oiled health communication system in the country, which he insisted was of utmost necessity.
“All being well, the whole nation has learnt to adopt a behavioural pattern of healthy living which had helped in managing the pandemic and will surely help in future pandemics,” Dr Ankobea said.
He added that the pandemic had revealed clearly that early intervention from the state was critical to saving lives.
“The need for a brave and dedicated health workforce and a robust and resilient health system cannot be over emphasised”.
“To this end, I say Ayekoo to our doctors who took it upon themselves and placed their lives at risk in the midst of inadequate availability of protective gear,” he said.
He said at their peril doctors and other health workers never relented in giving their best just as they had promised the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the inception of the pandemic.
Dr Ankobea said the GMA had stood firm from the very beginning of the onslaught of COVID-19, resulting in 294 doctors getting infected, with some suffering fatalities.
“I will continue to urge and entreat all health workers to continue to take the necessary precautions in the course of performing their duties,” the GMA President stated.
Gratitude and appeal
Dr Ankobea expressed the association’s gratitude to the government for the six months’ tax waiver given to health workers in the heat of the pandemic in the country.
He, however, appealed passionately to the government to bring back the tax waiver to cover November and December for all health workers.
“In fact, such motivational packages went a long way to inspire health workers to give their best. The GMA also wants to thank the Ghana Health Service and the National Commission for Civic Education for supporting the association’s educational campaign on COVID-19,” he added.