Dr Thomas Anaaba of the African Center for Health Research and Policy has cautioned government against wholly easing the restrictions imposed to check the spread of the COVID-19.
The former Medical Director of the Ridge Hospital believes any such moves could result in a high death rate among Ghanaians 50 years and above.
Ghana currently boasts of a death rate of 1 is to 1 million Ghanaians with a total actual figure of 32 deaths out of about 6, 500 positive COVID-19 cases recorded.
The majority of the 32 deaths recorded in the country, according to the authorities, are persons with some other underlying health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart-related conditions, asthma, among others.
This, Dr Anaaba says should be a source of worry for the President and his team and a warning to guide their decision because many Ghanaian above 50 years have one form of condition or another that could lead to their death should they contract the virus.
Underscoring the usefulness of the restrictions imposed, he said, “It is not in doubt that the country’s economy took a downturn because of Coronavirus, it is not in doubt that some people lost their jobs but all that was done was for the benefit of all of us living today
“The President said we have a low mortality rate of Coronavirus, 1 in 30 million dies from Coronavirus, he also said our positivity rate is 3.3,… then he said that virtually 32 people have co-morbidity. This should be taken very seriously simply because majority of our population above 55 years have one or more co-morbidities”
“If we live the restrictions, what activities can we perform? We can go back to schools, we can go back and perform funerals, we can go back to the mosques, we can go back and enter shops how we used to and we can do it, we can also as well go back to churches, we can go back and do our new voters register” he noted.
Speaking at this year’s virtual Eid ul-Fitr celebrations, President Akufo-Addo said the government is engaging stakeholders on how to ease the restrictions so people can go about their normal duties.
He noted that “stakeholder consultations are taking place on the way forward towards the easing of restrictions so that our social and economic lives can go back to normal.”
“I expect these consultations to conclude this week so that I can announce to Ghanaians a clear roadmap for easing the restrictions. We have to find a way back, but in safety, for we cannot be under these restrictions forever,” he disclosed.
But Dr Anaaba insists, “The restriction shouldn’t be lifted. Some few can be relaxed but not completely lifting it.”
The lifting of the ban he observed will lead to large gatherings of people for religious, social, economic events that have the tendency to spread the virus.
Some of these gatherings, the former Medical Director at the Ridge Hospital explained are led or spearheaded by persons within the risk bracket of having co-morbidities.
On the back of this, he stated that though he is against the lifting of the ban, if the government is bent on ensuring things return to normal soon, then it must be gradually done with lots of guidelines and protocols set to protect lives.
“Our gatherings take place in funerals, in churches, in mosques and places where people come together and the activities I mentioned are led by people with these co-morbidities…It is only in schools we don’t have people with co-morbidities coming together.
“If we want to lift the people with these comorbidities must be taken very good care of else this praises we are giving that we have 1 death every 30 million may turn out to be different.”