OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT,
Warm regards to you Your Excellency. I write to you to appreciate your efforts since the advent of COVID-19 in Ghana. However, there is an urgent need to bring certain pertinent issues to your attention before your next address to the nation.
My reasons for writing to you include the following:
1. So far, the management of the partial lockdown in the affected areas should give us enough lessons for the containment of the pandemic across the country.
2. There is a need for fine-tuning the strategy for sharing the food packages for the vulnerable groups in the society. If we do not exercise extra caution, disregarding social distance protocols will hasten and worsen the spread of the virus unfortunately.
3. There is an urgent need to monetize the package to the vulnerable. Alternatively, there should be solid food distribution from house to house instead of congregating them at vantage points.
4. Any thought of extending the partial lockdown in the Greater Accra/Kumasi areas should come with special packages for workers in the informal sectors of the economy. These sectors include the self employed and those employed by the private sector. Largely these groups of people lack unemployment insurance packages, paid leave and major source of income. After three weeks of lockdown, most of us have run out of income for sustenance.
5. There should be strict monitoring and enforcement of the social distancing protocols without fear or favour.
6. I dare say that it is not practicable that government alone cannot afford the cost of nationwide lockdown judging by the happenings in the Accra/ Kumasi areas so far. Hence, nationwide lockdown is not the way to go.
6. I therefore propose that we consider strategic and targeted lockdown. In that case, whenever a particular area is deemed a hot spot, government should it lockdown and do rigorous testing regime and treatment for containment. This could be done in a region, municipality, town or a village.
7. For the socioeconomic sustainability of the country, workers in the informal sectors should be allowed to work on shift and rotational basis under strict social distancing protocols. Even schools could operate under such a system without clustering pupils/students in the classroom.
8. Wearing of nose masks should be made compulsory for all the citizens once they are at the public place. This would help reduce the spread of the pandemic considerably.
9. Mr President, I appeal to you not to lose sight of the gravity of the CSM in northern parts of the country. There are over 400 reported cases and about forty deaths currently.
10. Finally, COVID-19 presents Ghana a unique opportunity to walk the talk of your mantra of “GHANA BEYOND AID”.
Mr President, strict nationwide lockdown is not practicable in Ghana largely because the economy is too weak to cater for the vulnerable beyond three months sustainably. The best package government could offer every citizen is the proper management of the pandemic.
May God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong. Thank you Sir.
CLEMENT ADJEI SARFO