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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

The Role of the Private Sector in Poverty AlleviationThe responsibility of providing solutions for global poverty has traditionally fallen to governments and international aid agencies. Increasingly, however, the private sector is being singled out as another important player in achieving this task. Given that development is already a key interest of private sector organizations, it seems reasonable to assume that the attention being given to the private sector is justified. Going forward, then, it is important to understand exactly what the role of the private sector in poverty alleviation should be.

The ways in which the private sector can benefit the lives of the poor have been well documented. From creating jobs and enhancing education to producing the goods and services used by those in poverty, it is clear that the private sector is a part of many, if not all, areas of development. As such, governments should be seeking to foster a business environment through which the benefits of the private sector can be harvested.

The main problem with this, however, is that across much of the developing world, such conditions do not exist. Often, new market entrants find the environment to be hostile and difficult to navigate, which can lead to proposed initiatives collapsing or being withdrawn. As such, the role of the private sector in poverty alleviation is contingent on external conditions. In such cases, it is the role of government to attempt to make these more favorable, or at least competitive; otherwise, no progress will be made.

Government action should not stop at this point. With increased private sector activity comes increased growth, which allows for further opportunities for more traditional methods of combatting poverty. As such, it is perhaps easier to look at the public, private and charity sectors as three heads of one entity when it comes to alleviating poverty. Through collaboration, rather than separation, it is far more likely that the goal of poverty reduction can be achieved.

Gavin Callander
Photo: Flickr