Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Oduro is urging that much premium is placed on advice given by local scientists in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) scourge.
According to him, the over reliance on data generated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) may not augur well in country’s efforts at managing the pandemic as the virus behaves differently in different settings.
“The President has said time and again that his decisions would be driven by science, so why should we wait for what the WHO says before we act when we have the human resource and capacity here? It is time for us to listen to our local scientists in unravelling the myths about this virus,” he stated.
Prof. Oduro was speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, during the launch of a five-year strategic plan and journal by the College of Health Sciences of the University of Ghana (UG), in Accra yesterday.
Both documents, aligned to the University strategic plan, are expected to guide the College’s decision and actions towards institutional excellence.
The Vice Chancellor pointed out that “when this virus begun, some of us said that due to its behaviour, we should wear masks right from the onset but WHO came to say that if you are not infected, do not wear. Some of us did not take kindly to it and here we are today.”
“Again, local scientists established that the virus was airborne because if you study the normal coronavirus that causes flu, it is airborne so in countries like Japan for instance, they wear masks every winter but that suggestion was shot down as well, yet, after the back and forth WHO has now sanctioned the wearing of masks.”
While calling for an all hands on deck approach in controlling the spread of the virus, Prof. Oduro entreated Ghanaians to be “disciplined” by adhering to all outlined protocols.
“It seems what the virus dislikes is indiscipline and we are lagging behind in that.We should wear the mask, observe social distance and abide by everything we have been told, if not, it will be difficult to control the spread,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor also urged that the public refrain from stigmatising persons infected with the disease.
Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Rev. Prof. Patrick Ayeh-Kumi explained that the College’s strategic plan was crafted to meet with changing demands within the health services as well as effectively respond to global research priorities.
The journal on the other hand, he said, would provide “open opportunities for numerous scientific publications by faculty, staff and students of the college in line with the overall mission of the university to become a world class research institution.”
Prof. Ayeh-Kumi courted the support of staff to successfully execute the strategic plan while encouraging them and students alike to ensure the journal serves the best interest of the public.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH