Frontline health workers stationed at the Pentecost Convention Centre, near Kasoa, which is serving as an isolation centre for COVID-19, were the toast of the day as the country celebrated this year’s International Day of the Family.
To mark the day, which fell on Friday, May 15, 2020 the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Ghana organised an activity on the premises of the centre during which the health workers as well as the patients were feted and entertained with inspirational songs and performances by Roverman Productions.
The patients, who could not leave their rooms, listened to the loud music and watched the performance from their rooms.
The UNFPA also donated a package that comprised sanitary pads, toilet paper, towels and other essential items (dignity kits) to the convention centre and expressed its commitment to supply it with essential items during the pandemic.
Some of the health workers at the Isolation centre
The Pentecost Convention Centre, which belongs to the Church of Pentecost, was offered by the church to serve as an isolation centre for COVID-19 patients at its contribution to that national response of the pandemic.
It holds the largest number of COVID-19 patients, with the highest occupancy so far being 500, and also has the largest number of health workers, caring and treating the patients.
The frontline health workers spend many days at the centre, away from their families to provide the crucial care needed by the patients, as they are unable to go home regularly.
Health workers key
The Country Representative of UNFPA, Mr Niyi Ojuolape, said this year, the agency decided to leverage the global celebration by drawing attention to the need to support health workers and their families in Ghana, as they fight COVID-19.
Health workers, he stressed, were key in the fight against COVID-19 and must be appreciated for their bravery; their families who have had to let them go so that they can become heroes for Ghana also deserve our gratitude.
However, little attention has been given to what the increasing cases of COVID-19 means for physical and psychosocial health of health workers, other hospital staff and their families.
“As the world commemorates the International Day of Families, their families are very well a part of Ghana’s certain victory over the pandemic,” Mr Ojuolape stated.
The Medical Officer in charge of the isolation centre, Dr Akosua Ayisi, who said she had not been with her family for about six weeks, expressed their gratitude to UNFPA for remembering them and their families on the International Day of Families.
Dr Akosua Ayisi (right) speaking at the event
May 15 was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1993 as the International Day of Families and has been observed every year to highlight the importance of families and promote awareness on how social, economic and demographic issues affect the family.
The theme for this year is: “Families in Development: Copenhagen & Beijing + 25” as it also happens to be the 25th anniversary of Copenhagen Declaration and Beijing Platform for Action.
According to the United nations (UN), the anniversary comes at a time of one of the most challenging global health and social crises.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp focus the importance of investing in social policies protecting the most vulnerable individuals and families, it said, adding that it is the families who bear the brunt of the crisis, sheltering their members from harm, caring for out-of-school children and at the same time continuing their work responsibilities.
“As the world struggles to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, there is a real opportunity to rethink and transform the way our economies and societies function to foster greater equality for all.
“In doing so, gender equality will not be achievable without greater equality in families and that on this and so much else, the Beijing Platform for Action continues to provide a visionary road map of where we need to go,” the UN stated.
The UN further noted that “families have become the hub of intergenerational interactions that support us in this crisis. Under economic duress, poverty deepens. In times of uncertainty stress increases - often resulting in growing violence against women and children.
That is why the support for vulnerable families - those who have lost their income, those in inadequate housing, those with young children, older persons and persons with disabilities - is imperative now more than ever.”