The attitudes of many Ghanaians toward the observation of the health preventive protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic was initially not encouraging in the early days of March 2020 when the country recorded her first two cases. This was attributed to the infodemic that went viral that the black gene was immune to the coronavirus. From that time, many Ghanaian citizens numbering into thousands have tested positive to the coronavirus, contrary to the earlier wrong assertion that the virus was resistant to the black skin. Currently, Ghana’s case count for coronavirus is 22, 822 with 129 deaths. This ever-rising number in reported COVID-19 cases should have made the ordinary Ghanaian very cautious in meticulously following the safety protocols. On the contrary, some Ghanaian citizens, with the majority in the illiterate class as a random survey conducted by the writer suggested.
Two popular views were expressed in the survey. The first and leading view was that the statistics for the reported COVID-19 cases given in the daily COVID-19 update by the Ghana government’s instrument, the Ghana Health Service, was flawed and deceptive, aimed at attracting international funding. Thus, the figures cited in the country for coronavirus, to these Ghanaians, are misleading and politically motivated to assist the country to receive international financial aid. Political electoral opposers have fingered the ruling government as using the purported funds believed to have been received for their political campaigns in the general election scheduled for December 7, 2020.
The second popular view shared by many Ghanaians in the illiterate category of the population is that they are uncertain of the existence of the coronavirus. Even though some Ghanaian politicians and renowned members in the Ghanaian society have died from the COVID-19, many of them still doubt the real cause of their deaths. Some Ghanaians even claim that they would believe in the existence of the coronavirus only after a member of their family contracts it or dies as a result of it. Others assert that even if the coronavirus exists, government and other corporate associations have exaggerated its health impacts.
Based on these two popular views, observing the safety protocols for the COVID-19 is not a priority or anything to be given serious attention. The wearing of face masks is not observed by such persons. Even if they have face masks, they refuse to wear them. Few do so when they notice the presence of police officials. Many others when questioned about why they are not in face masks, give flimsy excuses. They claim that the prolonged wearing of the face mask makes breathing difficult, while many others say that it makes speaking audibly a challenge. Unfortunately, these attitudes of these Ghanaians, if not corrected or addressed, would potentially lead to a high leap in the COVID-19 reported cases in the immediate future in Ghana. To remedy the situation, the government of Ghana must deploy more security personnel to various towns and communities in the country to enforce the implementation of the Ghana government’s directive of wearing face masks at all times and all places.
The government of Ghana through the Ghana Health Service must ensure that continued public health education on the existence of the coronavirus and the relevance of observing all the safety protocols to prevent the infection and spread of the coronavirus is carried out to dispel the growing infodemics about the COVID-19 in the country. Also, the Ghana Health Service must tactfully use the information centres in the various small towns and communities as communication outlets in disseminating public health education on the coronavirus in their respective local dialects. This could complement the already good efforts by the Ghana government in using radio and television stations as well as the print media in carrying out public health education on the coronavirus. These recommendations would help prevent the likely hype in the number of COVID-19 cases in Ghana, projected in the immediate future as a result of the emergence of the rapidly spreading and new infodemics.