The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has armed its frontline civic educators to enter into the communities, markets, lorry parks, and any other human habitat to disarm COVID-19 through accelerated public education.
Mrs Lucille Hewlett Annan, NCCE Greater Accra Regional Director in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Sunday said, “COVID-19 can be defeated through effective communication.
“If we fail to comprehensively educate our people to understand the need to adhere to the World Health Organisation (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,” she added.
Mrs Annan said the NCCE had embarked on a four- week campaign in all districts, mainly at community lorry stations, market squares, radio stations, whistle stops and information centres, on the need to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The NCCE is undertaking the campaign dubbed: NCCE Anti-COVID-19 Public Education Campaign with the Church of Pentecost, which has provided mobile cinema van to sensitise people within the Region.
The NCCE Greater Accra Regional Director said the world and Ghana was at war against unseen forces of COVID-19, “there is therefore the urgent need to develop and adopt guerilla warfare tactics to defeat the enemy, the security forces must not only be mounting roadblocks and checking people.
“The security must deploy the military warfare strategy especially military communication, to help us defeat the enemy in the jungles of our society”.
She said the focus of the NCCE broader COVID-19 communication strategy was to arm the citizenry with knowledge and power, exposed the operational modalities of the COVID-19 and strengthen each individual so as not to fear, but stand firm and observe all the protocols rigorously.
“As soldiers fighting against COVID-19 our weapons of warfare are; Social distancing, washing of hands with soap and under running water regularly and consistently, use of alcohol based hand sanitizer, and staying at home if you are not a frontline worker,” the NCCE Director explained.
She said as civic educators, “we are helping the people to understand President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s measures and directives put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Mrs Annan said for communication to be effective, the speaker must communicate and transmit in a medium that the target audience understood well, “therefore we have adopted English and six other local languages in the region: Ga, Ewe, Twi, Ga-Adamgbe, Hausa and Dagbaani” to reach out to the people.
She however expressed concern about the lack of appreciation of the protocol on social distancing which was not being observed especially in the markets.
“At Chorkor for instance we observed that the people were not observing social and physical distancing including food buyers and those who were buying scrapped metals.
“Lockdown was not strictly observed as people could still be seen walking freely around aimlessly. Some people who were distributing food freely did not practice the social distancing as people queued closely together to collect food. This turn to defeat our collective effort to stop the spread of COVID-19,” she lamented.
The NCCE Greater Accra Regional Director said the team of civic educators also observed that in some communities – Nima, Mamobi, Bukom, among others most people though were not going anywhere or doing anything, were sitting together in groups chatting, defying the social distancing order.
The NCCE Director therefore appealed to the police and military patrols to scaled-up their operations “we need the visibility of the security in our communities to enforce the lockdown”.
The government and benevolent organizations should find better and healthier ways of sharing food, so that people will not queue closely together for food.
She also 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”.
Mrs Annan also encouraged people to keep up to date information on the latest COVID-19 hotspots cities or local areas where it was spreading widely.
“If possible, avoid traveling to COVID-19 hotspots – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease. You have a higher chance of catching COVID-19 in one of these areas”.