Former President John Dramani Mahama has called for enhanced public education on the coronavirus disease rather than creating the impression that all is well and good.
“Government has unfortunately not managed public education on coronavirus efficiently. The latest communication creates the false impression that all is well with the management and spread of the disease.
“The advice from the President and other government officials that we should begin to learn to live with the disease suggests that you and I must take our destiny into our own hands as far as COVID-19 is concerned,” the former president noted.
In an opinion he shared on Friday, the former president who was taking a second shot at the presidency on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the impression being created was coming at a time that public education on the disease has dwindled to the extent that observance of hygiene and distancing protocols appeared to be waning.
“The benefit of wearing face masks at this time is obvious, and I reiterate my call on government to utilise some of the funds from the Stabilisation Fund and the IMF to enhance local production and free distribution of re-usable face masks to especially vulnerable communities and groups.
“These funds voted by parliament are meant primarily to be used to contain the spread of the virus and the free distribution of masks is essential at this time,” he stated.
According to former President Mahama, the absence of an effective mass education programme has contributed to the avoidable stigmatisation of persons who had recovered from the infection.
He observed as disturbing the reported cases of the virus in Parliament.
“It adds to the urgency of the situation we face as a country, and while it is important to give hope to citizens it is absolutely necessary to be transparent and communicate the full picture of the extent of the disease.”
To him, government’s refusal to involve traditional rulers and assembly members in the education and management of the disease had been a big gap in the country’s national response plan.
Mr Mahama advocated that government sets aside some funds to assist those who had lost their means of livelihood and places of abode as a result of stigmatisation.
“I invite all of you fellow citizens to join me in celebrating all who have recovered from the disease and I urge our traditional, community and faith leaders to assist the authorities in reintegrating them with their families.”
On behalf of the NDC, Mr Mahama lauded health workers still at the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus, adding that Ghanaian appreciatedtheir sacrifices, “and you can be assured that your commitment and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI