The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has slammed the Akufo Addo government for announcing unrealistic strategies to tackle the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) in Ghana.
The umbrella body for workers in Ghana noted that the level of poverty and absence of essential social infrastructure make nonsense of the President’s announcement recently about his administration’s strategy to contain the highly contagious Covid-19 that has caused a global pandemic.
As a measure to slow the infection rate of Covid19, President Akufo Addo last week announced a ban on mass gathering, closure of schools, social distancing and enhanced hygiene procedures
However, the TUC says it will be impossible for these measures to work, explaining: “For instance, hand sanitizers are in short supply. Even if they are available many Ghanaians cannot afford them because a significant proportion of Ghanaians are living in poverty. Running water for hand washing is scarce in many of our communities.”
In a statement released today March 23, 2020, by the TUC boss, Dr. Yaw Baah, he said: “Our health facilities are complaining of insufficient running water. Our transportation system, especially trotro is not designed to allow for social distancing. Schools have closed and children are at home but parents are commuting to their workplaces in trotro and sharing working tools with their colleagues. Others are interacting with clients.”
Painting a gloomy picture of the laughable health infrastructure in Ghana, the TUC concludes that “By all indications, our health system is not equipped to address any mass outbreak of Covid-19. Our Intensive Care Units (ICUs) can hold only a few patients at a time. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already warned of a potential catastrophe in Africa in more radical measures are not taken now.”
This dire lack of infrastructure becomes even more worrying as experts are predicting that the infrastructure deficit will cause millions of Africans to be infected by the coronavirus.
For instance, Dr. Michael Owusu, a senior research scientist at the Department of Medical Diagnostics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), is predicting that up to 50 per cent of Ghanaians are likely to get infected by the coronavirus.
This worlds out to approximately 15 million Ghanaians. “…A lot of people in Ghana are in the informal structure. There are some who if they don’t go to the market to sell, they will not get anything,” he said in a media interview as he evaluates the unrealistic possibility of locking down of Ghana as is being proposed.
Several hard-hit countries have gone into complete lockdowns. However, most of these countries are in advanced economies where there are more formal structures than informal and thus a lockdown is possible. Governments across European countries that have gone into a lockdown are compensating their citizens who have had to forego their jobs.
According to experts, the fact that people will have to go out to trade to survive makes a lockdown impossible in Ghana.
Meanwhile, the latest global figures of infection show over 366,000 people have been infected with over 16,000 dead so far.
In Ghana, over 24 people have been infected and one death recorded. It is estimated that these people have been in contact with over 600 people.