Former President John Dramani Mahama has called for the establishment of a national COVID-19 command centre to help manage the country’s cases.
The centre he suggested must be equipped with appropriate communication systems and bank of phone lines with volunteers keeping in touch with persons who are in quarantine, persons who are in isolation, those who are awaiting results and those suffering symptoms of the disease.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2020 presidential candidate noted that contact tracing is very critical in this phase of the fight against the pandemic.
Reports that persons engaged in contact tracing are threatening to cease work are worrisome.
“The government should immediately take steps and appropriately incentivize these people so that they can continue the critical work they are involved in. We must also watch out for the increasing stigma developing around this infection. There are reports that person who have tested positive have fled their communities because of fear and ignorance about the disease,” he added.
He continued: “This development of suspected cases can hinder the fight against the virus, especially in the light of the CDC estimation that one infected person has the potential to infect as many as 500 other people.
Public awareness needs to be stepped up. Messages developed in all the major local languages should be created and played extensively on all media, public and private.
Government can utilize a clause in the NCA Act that compels media both public and private to provide airtime to air messages such as this in times of emergency. This clause proved useful during the fight against Ebola and can come in handy again at this time.
He reiterated his call for a broader participation of traditional leaders, heads of faith-based organizations, Assemblymen and women and local CSOs in the efforts at contact tracing, surveillance and public education in respect of the COVID-19 disease.
“In this regard I call on the President to urgently meet with the National House of Chiefs and solicit the support of our chiefs in this regard. This is also important considering the reported resistance communities are putting up against the use of facilities in their area for setting up isolation centers,” he added.
Mr. Mahama made the call on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, when he announced the donation of food items to some 20,000 households in areas affected by the partial lockdown.
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