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#PassTheMic

The coronavirus has impacted our world more than one would have guessed. Not only are hospitals overflowing, schools closing and countries going on lockdown, but our minds are confused with the mixed information being spread on the internet. Today, people receive their news from Twitter and Facebook, sometimes not even bothering to check the facts they read against reliable sources. In order to spread truth about the global pandemic, an organization called ONE created a small movement called #PassTheMic on social media. The movement began on May 21, 2020, and it lasted through June 11, 2020. Celebrities gave their platforms over to health experts, front line workers and policy experts as a way to spread facts instead of fiction.

ONE is a global movement co-founded by Bono and other activists who believe fighting against global poverty is about justice and equality for all. The global #PassTheMic movement aims to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by the year 2030. ONE has raised $37.5 billion in support of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and to fight against AIDS, TB and malaria. ONE has also participated in passing poverty-reducing legislation. This has included the Electrify Africa Act of 2016 and other laws ensuring money from gas and oil revenues be used to fight poverty in Africa.

The Age of Information

In past decades, our grandparents would sit at the kitchen table every morning with a cup of coffee in one hand and a large newspaper in the other. This is how people would receive their daily news, and they were confident that their news came from a reliable source. Fast forward a bit; our parents would sit in front of the television after dinner, the 5 o’clock or 7 o’clock news blaring with talk of war, politics and the weather. This is how they would receive their news. Today, we lie in our bedrooms and scroll for hours on social media. We have no clue if these posts are fact or fiction. All we know is that our favorite celebrity is talking about it, so it must be a big deal. ONE took notice of this new way of receiving information and took action.

As a way to spread awareness on the current pandemic, celebrities are handing their social media accounts over to those more qualified to speak on the topic. Celebrities participating in the #PassTheMic movement include Hugh Jackman, Shailene Woodley, Penelope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Roberts and many more.

Experts Weigh In

Participating experts included Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, who learned from the Ebola pandemic of 2014-2016; David Anderson, Director of Quality at Nightingale Hospital in Manchester; Aya Chebbi, Youth Envoy of the African Union; and many more. Each expert discusses a new topic revolving around our healthcare systems, sanitation, poverty, how to handle a pandemic and where to donate. All of the experts have shared that the world needs a global response to COVID-19, as this is affecting each and every one of us.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was the first to participate in the movement on May 21, 2020. Fauci is director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and he took part in Julia Roberts’s Instagram and a YouTube interview. Fauci shared that the United States had made little progress flattening the COVID-19 curve. At the end of May, the U.S. had more than 1.5 million infections and 100,000 deaths, and these numbers have only grown. Fauci noted the importance of listening to health experts and the practice of social distancing. In addition, he has posted on his personal Instagram about vaccine research and how to cope with COVID-19.

Many experts have taken a moment to discuss the importance of helping those who may not be able to help themselves. Gayle Smith, president and CEO of ONE, stated that the virus is outrunning us, meaning that countries and leaders need to share strategies and expertise with each other. Additionally, she said something to consider is the economic impact this pandemic has had on every nation. Healthcare and supply chains alike have taken major hits. Smith noted that not every country has the ability to prevent and protect the virus. At the same time, many have become unemployed and are unable to provide food for the table. Thus, the world needs to come together and fight rather than countries fighting for themselves.

 

These experts will reach millions through various social media platforms as they speak directly to celebrities’ followers. As an organization created to fight global poverty, ONE understands the importance of sharing resources. Through the #PassTheMic movement, people worldwide will have access to scientific facts about the coronavirus and information about staying safe, providing for their families and helping their communities.

 – Ciara Pagels
Photo: Pixabay


Amid the widespread pandemic, nations worldwide have been operating under similar prevention measures to combat COVID-19. Yet, some are more effective than others, and the results are clear. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana showed how it is collectivistic and holds personal responsibility for its citizens. On March 16, Ghana began to lockdown non-essential businesses and schools to prevent an outbreak as COVID-19 reached the nation.  As of June 4, 2020, Ghana confirmed 8,297 cases and 38 deaths. In the process of easing restrictions, Ghana allowed communities to reopen schools and universities on June 5 with social distancing guidelines. Here are seven ways Ghana is minimizing COVID-19 cases and is rearing up reopen.

7 Ways Ghana is Minimizing COVID-19 Cases

  1. On March 16, Ghana banned public gatherings altogether. The government also implemented travel restrictions to prevent any further spread of COVID-19. Ghanaian residents who traveled outside the country were required to quarantine for 14 days. All schools and universities were also closed indefinitely.
  2. On March 23, Ghana shut down all borders to travelers. This measure kept tourists from other countries from bringing the virus into the nation and allowed Ghana to focus on the infected citizens at hand. The border closures also assured COVID-19 did not spread from Ghana to other countries. By closing its borders, Ghana was able to determine diagnosed cases and isolate them from other populations.
  3. On April 2, Ghana received a donation from the World Bank to support its short-term and long-term responses to COVID-19. The overall contribution amounted to $100 million. Of this donation, $35 million was used for emergency improvements to the nation’s healthcare systems that they have in place for pandemics.
  4. The Ghana Emergency Preparedness and Response Project (EPRP)  launched through the World Bank’s provisions. The EPRP will be the blueprint for developing technologies that detect and survey COVID-19. Additionally, EPRP will cover outbreak reports to keep essential information streamlined. The initiative provides free support for COVID-19 patients who cannot afford medical or social care. The project will work to raise awareness on COVID-19 prevention measures and safety guidelines for any future outbreaks.
  5. As of April 13, Ghana administered approximately 44,000 tests for the COVID-19 virus. The comprehensive testing put Ghana significantly ahead of the curve. Making sure the majority of citizens tested for the coronavirus was how Ghana was able to obtain an accurate number of COVID-19 cases and quarantined as needed.
  6. In early April, the president announced a 50% salary increase for any healthcare workers on the front line. Nana Akufo-Addo, the present of Ghana, also told the public early on in the pandemic that Ghana would be tax-free for at least three months. Free water was also promised and supplied to anyone in need of it while on lockdown.
  7. Urban areas within metropolitan cities like Accra shut down late March to prevent any further spread of the virus through public transit. The Ghanian government kickstarted an awareness campaign to encourage social distancing and constant sanitation, such as washing your hands, to prevent viral transmissions. Wearing masks when going out for essential supplies was also highly emphasized in the campaign.

While countries worldwide are following similar prevention measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, Ghana, among other nations, was able to reopen earlier than expected. Ghana is minimizing COVID-19 cases and can reopen because of citizens’ and health workers’ commitment to implemented prevention measures. The Ghanaian government has also worked diligently to raise awareness and create proper prevention measures for rural and metropolitan areas alike. Ghanian citizens are provided with clean water, medical treatment and free counseling services to ensure social distancing measures are followed, and citizens remain healthy amid the unexpended circumstances. Due to its early lockdown and comprehensive testing, Ghana continues to lessen its COVID-19 cases and is heading toward a promising future.

Kim Elsey
Photo: Flickr