The adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols among the public has dropped significantly even though Ghana is experiencing a third wave of Pandemic checks by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) has revealed.
Data on the Ghana Health Service (GHS) COVID-19 update page has shown that as of Ghana as at September 30th as reported on the Ghana Health Service COVID-19 page Confirmed 127,016 Cases 1,150 Deaths, 122,456 recoveries.
From March 2020 to September 2021, a total of 127,016 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Ghana through routine surveillance, enhanced contact tracing, and at the Kotota International Airport.
A visit to public places to access the level of adherence to the safety protocols showed that many people still move around public places, markets, lorry stations, churches, and a mosque without a nose mask and not observing social distancing.
The GNA observed that despite the provision of state laws on the enforcement of COVID-19 safety protocols, there was still poor enforcement to compliance of protocols at public places.
Dr Dacosta Aboagye, Leader of Risk Communication for COVID-19 Response, at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) says the state’s legal binding laws on the enforcement and adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols could not be effective enough to ensure the containment and spread of the virus.
“It is really difficult for the Police to enforce COVID-19 safety protocols, in our setting, we do not have the social distancing protocol structures in place, so, arresting people for flouting the laws and sending them to prison – an already crowded place, would only make the situation worse,” he said.
Dr. Aboagye, who is also the Director of Health Promotion at the GHS told the GNA that in Ghana, “people are not fined on the spot when arrested, our laws do not also permit instant punishment, and this makes it rely difficult for the security agencies to enforce the government’s laws.”
He said to complement national efforts in ensuring adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols, the Ghana Health Service has begun the implementation of a Peer to Peer strategy which places the protocol adherence responsibility on individuals.
“Under the new strategy, the service sought to ensure that people imbibed the responsibility of first wearing the mask and insisting that their peers wore it as well, both vendors and buyers must make sure that they wore face masks before engaging in any form of transaction,” he said.
This strategy will according to Dr Aboagye emphasize the need for people to ignore and refrain from interacting with persons who do not adhere to the coronavirus protocols such as the wearing of a nose mask, hand washing, and social distancing.
“We as a people are not safe until everyone is protected, and we need to take up the responsibility of ensuring everyone’s safety, it is better to protect yourself than to allow someone to come and kill you,” he said.
Dr Aboagye said the GHS would keep engaging religious leaders, station driver’s association group, and sanitation task force at the various regional health directorates across the country to ensure solid implementation of the Peer-to-Peer strategy.
He advised the public not to board any commercial vehicle if the driver and his assistant were not wearing face masks, and called on drivers and their assistants to also demand the passengers wore nose masks before boarding their vehicles.
Dr Aboagye called on citizens and organizations to take up the responsibility to protect themselves against the virus by complying with the safety protocols.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus. Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment, however, some could become seriously ill and require medical attention.
Older persons, and people with underlining health conditions like cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are at high risk of contracting the virus.
Health experts say the best way to prevent and slow down transmission and infection is to be well informed about the causes of the disease and how the virus spreads.
The GHS has cautioned individuals to protect themselves and others from the infection by wearing a nose mask, wash hands frequently with soap under running water, and using alcohol-based hand sanitisers.