The issue on board is ”should Ghana go under a total lock down” ,this issue is a very sensitive one and has generated a lot of controversies since the emergence of the of the deadly Pandemic known as COVID-19.
Dear reader, the following are the problems Ghana will have when there is a total lock down and I have categorized them in the vital sectors of Ghanaians, Educationally, Economically and Socially.
In our modern world, education is the backbone of every successful country and there is no doubts,that the European countries have progressed because of the quality education provided. Following the President’s arrangements to reduce the spread of COVID-19, he placed a ban on all social gathering and this compelled all educational institutions to close their schools until further notice. We could all attest to how this geopardise our education since teaching and learning became very tedious in the country.
(According to the a research made by Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey MICS in 2018 and 2019, indicates that only 22% of households in the country have access to Internet at home and only 15% have access to computers and smart phones), now this clearly shows that, teaching and learning on line is limited to the less privileged and this goes against the social right of such people.The disruption in education and learning could have medium and long-term consequences on the quality of education, the efforts made by teachers, school administrations, local and national governments to cope with the unprecedented circumstances to the best of their ability should be recognized.According to UNICEF, 9.8m students from primary to the Second Cycle Institution were affected badly in last year as all schools were closed, also 5 million students in the tertiary level were also affected. They had no logistics to access the online Studies.
Already the students have stayed home for long and they are now finding it difficult to learn the previous syllabus,they were just promoted to the next academic ladder without any accesment and is this how we want to destroy our Education.
I am not advocating for free movements of people but the best alternative for this is a partial lock down not a total lockdown, even the partial lockdown must not affect the educational sector.
The Economical aspect is very sensitive as far as trading and commerce is concerned. Mr Chairman let us reflect our minds on what Ghanaians went through when the President placed ban on social gathering.I will first make references with a statistics made by the Ghana Statistical Service, in 2019, the inflation rate was 7.18%, in 2020 the inflation rate increased to 10.6% as a result of COVID-19, Inflation according to economists, is the persistent and appreciable rice in general pricing of goods and services.
In 2020 because the inflation went so high it killed the purchasing power of Ghanaians, those who were financially stable were able to buy because producers could not produce more so commodities became very expensive and we could all remember how the price of Gari rised from 8 cedis to 20 cedis, even hand sanitizers were sold expensively. As a result the government had now other option than to provide food for those who could not afford because many people were dying out of hunger.
Generally, 80% of Ghanaians survive at the informal sector and when there is a total lockdown where are these people, including me going to survive.The 20% in the formal sector are also going to be affected. In terms of employment, youth are disproportionately unemployed, and those who are employed often work in the informal economy or gig economy, on precarious contracts or in the service sectors of the economy, that are likely to be severely affected by COVID-19. We think that proper measurea must ensured to ensure security against the the pandemic, already in some constituencies, the police have started arresting people without face mask and I think this must be nationalised.
The total lockdown will endanger the the girl child in school, according to the Ghana health services, more than 400 students got impregnated during the closure of schools as a result of the lock down.Example, During COVID-19, Krachi West Area Programme in Ghana has experienced an almost ninefold rise in teen pregnancy. Between March and May 2020, 51 children have been reported pregnant. The majority of these pregnancies came because of the lockdown instituted by the government as a preventive measure to stop the infection and spread of COVID-19.
To conclude, there is a way to stop the spread of Covid 19.Let us all observe the safety protocols to reduce the spread, Ghana under a total lock down is more than the deadly virus.
KUMI GIDEON APPIAH