- On May 5, 2020
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By: Jangboja Binyam, P4H Focal Person, Nkwanta North (April 15, 2020)
The President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has asked citizens to be guided by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) directives to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus. To achieve this, Government of Ghana has taken some steps to ensure that citizens comply with the WHO directives. Examples of such steps are; directing the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) to reduce the number of passengers in keeping with social distancing, ban of passenger motorbikes, reduction in water tariffs, ban on social gatherings among other key public education initiatives.
One of the major challenges in the Nkwanta North district is scarcity of potable water. Women and children walk long distances and crowd around boreholes to fetch water. Interactions and other activities make the social distancing directive nearly impossible to follow. The challenge associated with inadequate potable water to serve the population of the district makes the directive of frequent hand washing a call into question. There are however some exceptional cases.
In the clinics, an attendant is stationed to instruct or remind clients to wash their hands from water contained in the provided Veronica Buckets. There are also a few places where you see UNICEF tippy taps in some homes to aid in the hand washing exercise. Others, such as drug stores, provision stores, chop bars (restaurants) and some homes have made similar provision, but clients usually do not comply because there is no one to ensure or instruct them to do so.
Market places, especially on market days, are very crowded with no regard for social distancing. Big vending shops also have their space often crowded with customers. The directive to limit the sitting capacity of passenger vehicles is not also being adhered too in the district. The GPRTU and police authorities permit lorries from Kpassa to Nkwanta to still carry the same number of passengers. It is also very difficult for tricycles and motorbikes operators to obey the ban as they are usually the only internal means of transportation in and the surrounding villages.
Outdoor games such as marbles (Iwal/Oware) are still played with lots of spectators watching and cheering with little or no regard for social distancing. Young men still play football in large numbers while family meetings or gatherings are still being held by many families. And as usual, many families, after work, sit outside in groups for relaxation and oftentimes seen eating and drinking from one bowl and cup without any regard for social distancing.
It is critical to note that the district has communities along the boundary line of Ghana and Togo. Quite a number of these communities have unapproved passages which if not identified and manned leaves the district vulnerable to imported COVID-19 cases and spread.
The traditional authorities and the district assembly have come together and issued a directive to suspend market activities or trading on market days for three weeks to prevent crowding of people to minimize chances of spread of the virus.