The outbreak of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) as we all know has indeed created a global health crisis that has had a deep impact on our everyday lives. Not only does the rate of infection and mode of transmission threaten our daily activities, but also the safety measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus. We live in panic and despite the fear of the unknown, life still goes on.
In Ghana, the Government is taking measures to get us into accepting the decisions made in order to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. Though there is critical tracing, testing and treating, taking place, it is still difficult for the authorities to contain and control some of those who are to be quarantined. This is not so much on the part of the government, but on the part of individuals who do not believe that the virus is real and so do not comply with measures put in place.
The first two Covid-19 cases were reported in Ghana on 12th March 2020. By 12th April, it had escalated to 566 cases and exactly after one month, on 12th May, the Country recorded 5,127 cases. Presently, the number of contained and contacted tracing persons tested is 161,203. Out of this number, the country has officially recorded 5,735 infected cases; 3,952 being active cases, 1,754 recoveries and 29 deaths; with the youngest being a 9-year-old and the oldest an 82-year-old. According to the assessments made by the Ministry of Information in Ghana, out of the 29 deaths, only three did not have a pre-existing health condition.
It is worth mentioning that out of the 16 regions in Ghana, 3 have no recorded cases yet. It is also uplifting to know that Ahafo Region, where Hwidiem, Kenyasi and Duayaw Nkwanta Communities are located, has not recorded any case. (see table )
Efforts of the President
The President has given nine (9) State Addresses so far. These State Addresses inform, encourage and assure the populace not to panic but to adhere to all the directives given. These statements are so thorough that they are not only helping Ghanaians to follow the rising case counts of COVID-19 and the way forward, but also to become cautious and conscious of the impact the virus has on our lives and as a Nation.
Some significant directives:
- The use of big buckets fixed with taps, popularly known in Ghana as Veronica Buckets, and liquid or cake soap for washing of hands in individual homes, offices, shops, markets and other public places.
- Cleaning and mass fumigation of Institutions and Public places.
- Social Distancing especially in public places; numbers for gatherings and events such as funerals, weddings etc. are restricted to a maximum of 25 persons.
- Wearing of nose masks seriously enforced. For example, in all public places one cannot go without one (no Mask, no Entry).
Naivety of our People
In spite of the outbreak, there are a lot of us here in Ghana who are still skeptical about COVID-19. These people do not see the seriousness of the pandemic.
- For some of our fisher folks, it is believed that the harshness of the salty water of the sea boosts their immunity and therefore prevents them from getting the virus.
- Some believe it is the disease of the rich people,
- Others believe the heat of the African sun will help prevent us from being infected.
- Some believe that God will not let it happen to us.
- Some also believe that they are healthy and therefore resort to different concoctions prepared and administered as immunity boosters, which they believe will save them from COVID-19.
Nevertheless, there are people who have made efforts through sensitization to curtail the spread of the corona virus.
Some impact made from Sensitization
- Family members and friends of frontline workers are in solidarity with them and these workers intend to protect their loved ones as much as possible from being infected.
- Some family members also advised relatives who came from Europe, especially those who entered the country from the beginning of March up until the National Partial Lockdown, to go into quarantine at least for fourteen days. This was to protect and save the lives of their loved ones.
- Some people have become more cautious and observant of COVID-19 and therefore report to authorities on suspected persons living with the infection.
The Stand of the Sisters in the Province of Ghana
Every Sister is very much aware of the pandemic, knowing that we are all at risk. We have been sharing news, often cautioning and reminding one another about it. We have almost become too conscious in that the moment one sneezes or coughs, eyes turn towards the direction of the sound, as if to check on the Sister if she is alright or if the rest are to “take cover”!
We always listen to the President’s State Address and are all abreast with the nine (9) State Addresses he has given so far. These State Addresses aim to inform, encourage, and assure, and they reveal the rising case counts and the way forward.
Involvement of OLA Sisters in our Healthcare Facilities
In the wake of COVID-19, our Healthcare Facilities in Nkwanta, Duayaw Nkwanta, Hwidiem and Bepoase, have been very much involved. The government has designated these facilities as holding areas for suspected COVID-19 cases within their respective metropolis. Some Medical wards in these Hospitals have been freed up for this purpose, with some of the required outfits supplied. The government has also ensured that all health workers are well trained and able for this task. These workers are following the protocols laid down by the World Health Organization (WHO), Government and the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ensure the safety of both clients and staff.
Measures taken by Sisters in the Province
- Putting up posters to educate on the correct ways of washing hands.
- Hand sanitizers and liquid soap are made available for washing of hands in the Community
- Observing Social Distancing during Masses/Prayers/Meals as well as other activities.
- Wearing of nose masks and practicing Social Distancing for all outings.
- As much as possible one Sister runs errands for the Community.
- No travelling by public means (transports). Sisters who must travel always use Community vehicles.
- Visitors’ rooms in the various convents are reserved as isolation quarters in case of COVID-19 infection. Where infected Sisters will be more than the reserved rooms, they will stay in their rooms with the necessary measures taken.
- Sisters are encouraged to use some of these ingredients i.e. lime, black pepper, neem leaves, cloves, pineapple peels, ginger, roselle (hibiscus sabdariffa) to prepare drinks as it boosts the body’s immunity and keeps it warm.
As this pandemic continues to plague both the young and old, we continue to trust in the Divine Guidance and Providence for a cure.
In solidarity, we continue to pray with and for one another. May we continue to stay and keep safe.
Perpetua Cecilia Acquah OLA