As way of minimising the situation, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called on the government of Akufo-Addo to declare a lockdown in the country with immediate effect.
The Association wants only persons providing essential services to be allowed to go about their activities in times President Akufo-Addo has described as “not ordinary.”
“The lockdown though not a comfortable decision for leadership and citizens alike is a proven option backed by science and along with the other measures will ultimately be in our best interest.
“We call on all Ghanaians to support such a move in the national interest to save our nation from the devastating effects of this pandemic,” GMA said in a press statement released Wednesday.
While some Ghanaians are calling for total lock down, below are some statistics and implications which would aid national discourse.
According to Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) 91 per cent of homes in Accra the Capital City of Ghana are without places of convenience.
Over 114,521 residences in Accra are without places of convenience. 315 houses use the outlawed pan latrines and 79 houses use pit latrines.
35.7 per cent of households across the country use public toilet. 19 per cent of households across the country resort to open defecation.
81 per cent of Ghanaians lack access to improved sanitation or are entirely without toilet facilities. All these staggering statistics tells you how a very large number of our population both in the Capital City and the country at large resorts to public toilet which means which there is no proper sanitation in the Country.
Poor sanitation puts the country at risk in terms of outbreak of cholera and among other diseases which would equally cause a lot of lives.
Also, In Ghana more than 5 million people constituting over 18 per cent of the population rely on surface water to meet their daily water needs. 32.3 per cent of households across the country have their main source of drinking water from a well. 12.5 per cent of households use a public tap. 73.9 per cent of households in rural areas use either a well or natural sources.
Those living in poverty often pay up to 10 times more per liter for water service from private vendors than their middle-class counterparts connected to piped water services.
How would these huge percentage of our population get access to water during a total lockdown in the country?
6.8 million Ghanaians totaling almost 25 per cent of our entire population live on less than 1 Dollar a day.
2.4 million of our population are in abject poverty meaning they can’t even afford to spend up to 50 Cent a day on food!
How do all these people afford to engage in ‘panic buying’ so as to buy and stock up foods that should last them for as long as the total lockdown would take if it would take weeks or even months?
40 per cent of those within the ‘national poverty’ bracket are in the 3, now 5 Northern Regions. We all know how volatile that Region is so are we not calling for national security threat if we are to lock these people down and there’s no means for them to cater for themselves and their families?
According to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (Ghana Office) about 88 per cent of the workforce in Ghana are employed in the Informal Sector and therefore “earns less money, has irregular income and does not have access to basic protections and services of the State.”
In the event of a total lockdown, there will be economic, security and sanitation implication which a lot lives are at risk and more people could die than coronavirus.
Already, there are high prices of foodstuffs and if there is a lockdown there will be starvation on the ordinary Ghanaian and will affect businesses in various ways, therefore government must take a second look at the situation.
Let us come together to fight Coronavirus in our own small way to prevent lock down.