God has immensely blessed Ghana and we should be eternally grateful. However, I will continue to talk on issues that benefit Ghana. I write on these issues for the simple reason that there are a lot of noises on the ground.
A lot of people expressing different negative as well as positive ideas about problems and issues going round. Most people don’t know what happens in the cabinet or government. I know that the president and his cabinet are working hard on a lot of fronts but the people don’t know it.
The communication, public education and publicity appear weak or not at a level that can calm most nerves. So the whole idea of trying to stimulate arguments and discussions is also to make sure that we throw in our suggestions to back a government that should help us through these difficult times.
The idea is not to alarm people rather it is to prevent those with negative ideas from exciting others.
I have decided to enter into the different areas that we, in a desperate situation like now, should be thinking of. Let’s use the examples of China, Italy, Spain, and the USA. I will dwell on USA.
They are struggling for basic things that should be in place but are not. Now if America is struggling, what about the so called developing countries? Why is America struggling?
A. AMERICAN SITUATION
1. They don’t have enough SICK BEDS.
2. They don’t have enough INTENSIVE CARE UNIT (ICU).
3. They don’t have enough VENTILATORS to keep people alive.
4. They don’t have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
5. They do not have many structures in place to deal with these problems that are emerging in the shortest possible manner. They boast of advances in medicine, yes it is true. But they have been overtaken by the CORONA VIRUS. Solution? Not yet.
6. They realize that, in all this, people should stay at home. Many businesses must not collapse and citizens need to be paid to sustain them.
Special financial package should be considered for various businesses. For weeks, arguments for stimulus package is still going on in America.
The question is, how do we handle these problems in case we run into these emergency situations, now and tomorrow? They are trying to give zero interest loans; they are trying to do all kinds of things that would combine the health problems with the economy so that most businesses don’t collapse and America does not “go under”.
B. GHANA SITUATION
The developing countries can “go under” easily. But we are very lucky. The good Lord knows our plight and He is helping us through.
Items like masks, sick beds Intensive Care Unit (ICU), PPE (protective equipments and clothing for nurses and doctors), Ventilators (the whole of Ghana has about 20-30 when they need hundreds and thousands) etc.
C. FOOD, CLOTHING, SHELTER AND HEALTH
Now the Basic necessities of life should not be food, clothing, shelter alone. The fourth is HEALTH. Health or medication to fight life threatening disease has critically become the fourth necessity.
We are faced with a situation of waiting and depending on other countries to come up with the medicine. Potential disaster situations that can re-occur calls on ourselves, as Ghanaians to find solutions to the pandemic.
Given the opportunity, recognition and incentives our herbalist should be encouraged to come out in the open, with confidence, to work with our professionally trained doctors, pharmacists and researchers to come up with solutions and acceptable presentation.
We have previously paid lip service to the idea of Medical professionals and researchers working SERIOUSLY TOGETHER.
We are aware that there is NOGUCHI and KCCR, but most people don’t know what and how they are doing, especially their finances,their problems and the results they are coming with on various research fronts.
Do they need help? The public together with the government can assist them with the needed support to be more effective.
Maybe we have solutions to a lot of our medical problems. How did our people survive in the olden times, in the villages up to the present?
The objective of this article is never to cast any aspersion or blame on the government. It is meant to appeal to all Ghanaians who care to find solutions to our problems, to come out and support the government of the day to move forward for the benefit of Ghanaians.
So when we have an unusual problem we must find an unusual solution. We are following western culture too much and at times blindly.
We should look inside and ask for solutions and the first solution is God. We must support the government for the National Day of Prayers &Fasting (25th March, 2020).
The second solution is use what we have and find/research the best way to use what we have. There were some people who came with seemingly local ideas to treat HIV. Some people found it very useful and successful others rejected it outright.
How can we effectively use our local resources to recognize that there is an area of medicine (traditional medicine) that needs to be respected and tapped into for our health services and during medical crises?
3. STRATEGIC NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY
If Corona virus (or other current viruses) can’t kill us, hunger and starvation can. During a pandemic productivity goes down. After the pandemic, Ghana cannot afford a STIMULUS PACKAGE that can cover citizens’ food, rent, medications and incidentals etc. most things can freeze, except FOOD (availability or shortage) and HEALTH issues. We have talked on health issues after crisis.
Going forward as a country, we need to visit our Agriculture or food production programmes to ensure that the country can always survive food shortage, during periods of floods and draught; natural disaster. If a situation occurs in the world where there is severe shortage of food, we shall starve to death. I pray to the Almighty God to save us from full effects of the COVID-19.
I have suggested in my previous article, that the normal agricultural practices of our farmers have to be encouraged. The NPP Government has done well with the various agricultural programmes including the BUFFERSTOCK, which helps educational institution.
What I am talking about here is “STRATEGIC NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY”. For example, in the Bible the story of Joseph’s brethren coming to buy grains during the severe Famine Period. There was no food anywhere, except the Egyptian (Pharaoh’s) warehouses.
There is a clear cut area that we need to explore and that area is how we create national food surpluses into warehouses that should be kept separately for emergency situations to feed our people.
This should be a serious Public Private Partnership (PPP) that should be established with some degree of TRANSPERENCY devoid of partisan politics.
What kind of economic arrangement do we need to put up so that we, through education, would be wise enough to eat what we produce or grow and concentrate on lots of our local foods, discouraging competing imports for our survival, reduce importation of things we can easily grow here or have nutritional substitutes.
How do we arrange a new system where you have private business people being given short term training and soft loans so that they can invest in agricultural practices to produce for a specific area for national food security?
Food in specific district warehouses where we can fall on when there is shortage in the open market, to sell on the open market to make sure that we don’t run into shortages and those who produce for these warehouses are paid promptly to help them turn round short term crops.
Basic crops include beans, corn, brown rice, local rice, and our local vegetables; even local meats like sheep, cattle, chicken, and pigs. When we have enough of these in our system, we can hide in our homes if another emergency should come up. I am not a soothsayer but that is the practicality of this life.
We must face it so that when it comes we would be able to deal with it and survive with dignity. We thank God for his protection.
Source: Dr. Kwame Amoako Tuffour