Ghana’s stand on COVID-19 cases over health and economic growth

COVID-19 as we all know, has been one of the contagious diseases affecting people all over the world. A year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19, a pandemic.
Since the first case of infection with this new corona virus (Covid-19) was reported in China in December 2018, “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)”, as we now know it to be called, has killed over 2.5 million people and infected at least 116 million.
Beginning as an unexplained, pneumonia-like illness, which first detected in China’s Wuhan province , has since spread to almost every country, bringing life across most of the world to a near-standstill for the last year.
World leaders became ill, entire countries were locked down to prevent the spread of infection and international travel ceased.
In Ghana, from January 3, 2020 to December 13, 2021, there have been 131,246 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,228 deaths, reported to World Health Organisation. During the December 7, 2021, a total number of 3,162,666 vaccine doses have been administered.
Globally, as of December 13, 2021, there have been 269,468,311 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 5,304,248 deaths, reported to WHO, of which in December 13, 2021, a total of 8,200,642,671 vaccine doses have also been administered.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) announced SARS-CoV-2 as the name of the new virus on February 11, 2020. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003.
SARS-CoV was originally believed to originate in civet cats, but these mammals were later shown to serve as intermediary hosts providing a source of infection to humans (Guan et al., 2003).
Covid -19 in itself is a new strain of an existing viruses which causes respiratory illness and it’s similar to cold and flu.
Research has shown that, the virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, typically within 1 metre (short-range) which basically means that a person can be infected

growthwhen aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.
These pandemic has caused a lot of harm especially to the health and the economy of the country and these slowdown of disease has had a considerable impact on households. The poverty rate is estimated to have slightly increased from 25 percent in 2019 to 25.5 percent in 2020.
As a result of this phenomena, the Ghana’s rapid growth was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic during March 2020 lockdown as there was a sharp decline in commodity exports.
The economy had grown at an average of 7 percent in 2017 to 2019, before experiencing a sharp contraction in the second and third quarters of 2020.
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has warmly accepted 2.5 million support offered by the European Invested Bank (EIB) to strengthen the healthcare, provide specialist, medical equipment and medicines across Ghana under the National Covid-19 response plan.
President Akufo-Addo signed this treaty during his recent official visit to Luxembourg and this new agreement with Ghana represents the largest National EIB financing for Covid –related health investment in Africa.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana has taken a visionary steps in ensuring that the impact of Covid can be managed in the long- term investment unlocked to strengthen both health service and access to finance by business.
This clearly shows that if efforts are not made on time, to ensure the reduction of the recorded cases relating to the global pandemic, then the nation would bite its fingers in grief during years to come especially when it comes to long term finance and creation of jobs in the country.
And so the health investment initiative by European Investment Bank and European Union (EU) will enhance the medical treatment for patient with Covid-19, isolation centres and intensive care unit during the pandemic and also improve the public health in the years ahead of us.
Ghana’s economy is expected to gradually recover in the medium term due to the commodity price and strong domestic demand as it received 1billion U.S dollars equivalent of funds in the recent International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights Allocation, part of which will be used to support economic recovery.
It is estimated by the World Bank in Ghana that the average annual growth rate from 2021 to 2023 is 51 per cent.
With this , Headline inflation rate in June 2021 is still relatively low at 7.8 per cent as the food price shock caused by the pandemic has eased , promoting the Bank of Ghana to lower its policy interest rate by 100 basis point in May to 13 per cent to support recovery.
However, due to the rising food and non- food inflation, the inflation rate rose by 9.7 per cent in August.
The result of discourse analysis show that the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on the socio-economic conditions of Ghanaian citizens.
Although an estimated 42,000 people were unemployed in the first two months of the pandemic in the country’s tourism sector alone, 171 million US Dollars in the past three months due to partial blockades and closures of the tourism and hotels.
On the other hand when it comes to Ghana’s health aspect, has brought a massive negative impact among its citizenry most especially the health workers as

they are exposed to a lot of risk such as stress which affect the productivity and effectiveness of work, leading to poor quality of care ,with risk to staff and patient safety.
As a result of the high stress and burnout they encounter in health centers, decreases job satisfaction and this leads to higher rate of depression, cardiovascular disease, pre mature mortality, potentially putting health care providers, at a greater risk of Covid-19 infection, as they don’t get enough time to take care of themselves due to the nature of their work schedules.
Again looking at Covid-19 patients, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said the first 34 cases were from the Airport when detected after testing and sequencing samples conducted in 66 communities.
This was where the seven Omicron variant were established within Ghanaian population taking the total number of positive cases in the country to 41.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said that Delta variant of the corona virus (Covid)-19 still led infection rate in the country although he did not specify the actual areas where the community spread was identified.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the omicron is present now in 57 countries across the globe.

BY GLORIA NSIAH MINTAH

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