- On April 7, 2020
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By Mumuni Mohammed, Northern Regional Programme Manager, SEND GHANA
Combating COVID-19 requires the collective efforts of both state and non-state actors to reduce the spread and impact of the deadly Coronavirus. Community response to a large extent depends on the effectiveness of mediums through which education and sensitization on the virus are communicated to the citizenry. In this regard, frantic efforts have been made by government and private sector actors to raise awareness on key protocols and measures to minimize the spread of COVID19.
Monitoring public education on COVID-19 across several districts and communities in the Northern Regions reveals, however, that apart from the sensitization carried out via national media (TV and Radio), very little is done at the districts and community level to use other forms of traditional media (information vans, cenema vans, district and community information centres to raise awareness on COVID-19 using the local languages. This is necessary considering the fact that public education via national media is mostly in English and a few widely spoken languages. This situation is impacting negatively on community response especially in the rural areas where a majority of the citizens are unable to follow national discourse on COVID-19 due to language barrier, lack of/inadequate access to the media and mediums used and so forth. It is worth noting that in the absence of mass citizens and community gatherings, traditional media is the best possible channel through which citizens can be sensitized on COVID-19.
Based on the issues raised above, it is imperative that if the country is to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19 on Ghanaians, government and the private sector should take pragmatic steps to effectively downstream awareness on the virus using traditional media and local languages to increase citizens’ adherence to social distancing, handwashing with soap and water and the use of hand sanitizers.