The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on Sunday identified apathy as a dangerous weapon against the COVID-19 fight and called for a reinvigoration of the campaign to deal with the spread of the coronavirus.
The NCCE explained that monitoring the Ghanaian terrain since the lifting of the partial lockdown in Greater Accra, Greater Kumasi, and Kasoa, indicates that most people were taking things for granted and believe that the pandemic was over.
Mr Pontius Pilate Apaabey Baba, NCCE Upper East Regional Director, told the Ghana News Agency in a telephone interview that; COVID-19 was a ticking time bomb, which if not handled effectively could explode at any time, but if managed well could be defused.
He therefore called on both public and private actors in the campaign against COVID-19 to intensify the effort, “we must collectively work hard, the advocacy must be intensified and we must move step-by-step forward until we defeat COVID-19”.
Mr. Apaabey Baba said the NCCE through its Anti COVID-19 Public Education Civic Education Advocates continues to intensify its public education on the pandemic to ensure compliance with basic protocols and directives from President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“We must not look at the messages as being routine, the most important thing about the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ghana Health Service (GHS) directives are that they look basics but very critical for survival of mankind,” the NCCE Director explained.
While expressing gratitude to the several interventions by both state and non-state as well as the several individuals involved with education on the pandemic, he said the Commission equally expresses worry on some citizen’s non-compliance with the directive on social distancing and urge citizens to do a lot mare in that regard.
He said over this period, the Commission in collaboration with the Church of Pentecost, mounted intensive public education throughout the communities, towns and villages to ensure that people understood why they should adhere to the health protocols.
He said as part of the campaign dubbed: NCCE Anti COVID-19 Public Education Campaign, the Commission had also adopted Strategies for radio discussions, dawn and dusk street announcements at market places, Community Information centers as well as one-on-one talks.
He commended the Upper East Regional Area Head of the Church of Pentecost (COP), Apostle Agyemang Nkrumah, who have agreed to extend the collaboration until May 30th, 2020.
Mr Apaabey Baba said the Commission additionally has embarked on direct interaction or face-to-face public announcement using public address systems and mega-phones at drinking bars, Artisanal shops, food venders, animal markets, livestock markets, vegetables sellers markets, and roadsides/youth Parliament bases.
Other spots identified are lorry stations, commercial transport stations, wood sellers centres, washing bays, Chemical shops, Grinding mills, Chop bars, tricycle (Yellow-yellow & Cando) operators, maize and millet sellers markets.
He reiterated that; “COVID-19 can be defeated through effective communication, if we fail to comprehensively educate our people to understand the need to adhere to the WHO and Ghana Health Service preventive protocols then COVID-19 will continue to spread.
“We need to disarm and demobilize the ravaging forces of COVID-19 through proactive and relentless communication, when communication fails then the forces of coronavirus disease will continue to overwhelm mankind and our health facilities will be overburdened,” Mr Apaabey Baba stated.
He said the focus of the NCCE broader COVID-19 communication strategy was to arm the citizenry with knowledge power, exposed the operational modalities of the enemy COVID-19 and strengthen each individual not to fear, but stand firm and observe all the protocols rigorously.
He said as civic educators, we were helping the people to understand President Akufo-Addo’s measures and directives put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
He called for massive support for the NCCE to intensify the public education on COVID-19 which must be relentless, to ensure that “we all understand, so we need to educate people in the local language they understand best, and break down the COVID-19 jargons to the lowest level for people to appreciate”.