COVID-19: Policy makers don’t appreciate magnitude of problem – Prof Aryeetey

A Professor at the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Richmond Aryeetey, has noted that most leaders across the globe do not appreciate the severity of the coronavirus pandemic that the world is saddled with at the moment.

He explained in an interview with Johnnie Hughes on the Community Connect on 3FM Friday February 5, that a lot of people are not seriously in complying with the protocols because their leaders have not demonstrated enough commitment and seriousness in tackling the pandemic.

Asked whether he is satisfied with the behavioral change and communication in the quest to fight the virus, he said “A lot of people are looking for an answer, not only in Ghana but all over the world, and nobody has been able to find a way to communicate the risk in a way that people can actually understand it, so it is a bit challenging.

“I don’t think at the population level we appreciate the scale of the problem that we have. It is also not adequately appreciated at the level of policy making and implementation.

“When these three variance come together, that probably is an expression of what we are seeing currently.”

Prof Aryeetey further stated that until decision makers attach urgency to the fight against the virus, the population will also continue to adopt unacceptable attitude towards the pandemic.

“I think that until those who are in charge, those who are making decision really appreciate the scale of the problem nobody can be able to act very well,” he said.

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Asked again whether or not he has noticed the conscious effort to politicize gains made in the fight against COVID-19 and to equalize it thereby drowning the voice of the technocrats who should be leading the charge at this point, he said “this is not surprising, it is not only happening in Ghana, it is happening everywhere.

“If you follow the news in the UK, a similar thing is happening there. We know what has happened the whole of last year in the US too.

“But the question that we need to be asking ourselves is why is that we haven’t created the space for those who know how the issues to have their voices being heard. I think that until those who are in charge, those who are making decision really appreciate the scale of the problem nobody can be able to act very well.

“We saw that very clearly before Boris Johnson got it, his attitude was different, and once he got it the attitude was different. So leadership and policy making is very critical to these issues. We just pray that this is far from child’s play and I am not convinced we have reached there yet.

“I hope that with the way things are increasing.”

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has revealed that the country’s COVID-19 death toll has now hit 440.

A total of 697 new COVID-19 cases have also been recorded, shooting up the active cases to 6,086. 497 persons have also recovered from the disease bringing the total number of recoveries to 62,340.

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By Laud Nartey||Ghana