NON-ADHERENCE TO SAFETY PROTOCOLS NEGATING PUBLIC EDUCATION EFFORTS

The rapid daily spike in Ghana’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case count of 28,989, with 153 deaths and despite the 25,331 recoveries is a source of worry to the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE). In fact, new cases per day is alarming knowing the numerous public sensitisation campaigns NCCE has embarked on, in the nooks and crannies of the country coupled with the Government’s response to COVID-19 and efforts by the Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Information, the Media and other institutions to drive the campaign to encourage citizens and residents to adhere to the safety protocols.

Reports gleaned from all the 16 Regional Offices of the NCCE largely suggest that whilst some Churches, Schools, Institutions and Market Centres are adhering to the safety protocols, a lot of individuals are not complying with the social distancing and the mandatory wearing of facemasks.

The NCCE notes the under listed breaches:

  1. Poor adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols among some residents at some public gatherings including funerals, weddings and in markets.
  2. Low observance of the protocols at some Voter Registration centres.
  3. Overcrowding during the distribution of National Identification Authority Cards in some parts of the country.
  4. People exchanging facemasks with their friends during ongoing registration exercise and some others not wearing the facemasks in most village gatherings.
  5. Disbelief of the existence of the COVID-19 disease among sections of the public, especially those in the villages and towns.
  6. The rife stigmatisation against persons recovering and recovered from COVID-19, as well as their families and the frontline workers.

It is unfortunate to note that some Ghanaians still hold the notion that the disease is a hoax, while others even claim that COVID-19 is limited to the cities and cannot affect them in anyway. These claims and myths around the pandemic are untenable.  It is imperative that we take full cognisance of the fact that the disease is REAL and continues to spread across all facets of society.  This is why the NCCE reminds Ghanaians to act responsibly by observing the safety protocols.

The mandatory wearing of masks, social or physical distancing and hygiene etiquettes are the weapons of this fight and this lies squarely in the hands of every citizen.  This call goes beyond protecting ourselves and underscores the importance of not desiring to spread the virus through our families, communities and our nation.

Therefore, in the spirit of ensuring public safety, the NCCE appeals to the citizenry not to take the safety measures for granted but to responsively act to preserve public safety. We reiterate the need for everyone to practice regular handwashing with soap under running water, mask up when leaving home, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser frequently, maintain at least one metre distance when in public spaces, stay home and call these hotlines 112 or 311 when you are unwell as well as observe good personal and respiratory hygiene. 

NCCE welcomes the ongoing exercise by security agencies to enforce the wearing of masks and takes this opportunity to remind Ghanaians that wearing of masks in public spaces is law punishable by fines or incarceration.

Whilst the medical and scientific research global community races against time to better understand the virus and find a vaccine, the Commission believes strongly that the success in the fight against the pandemic is not the sole work of government.  The citizenry must be a crucial part of this fight.    If we act collectively on the safety measures and desist stigmatisation, we can together build our resilience and prevent the spread as we strive to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

God Bless Our Homeland Ghana and make Our Nation Great and Strong!       

SIGNED

Joyce Afutu

Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs

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