Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has said his country is treating Coronavirus as an “all-Ghanaian problem”, using the best examples from other parts of the world.
Akufo-Addo said this at a webinar on Wednesday by Africa.com and Harvard Business School in which he appeared as special guest.
“Our focus from the beginning,” he said, “is testing, tracing and treatment. That is the strategy that we have adopted.”
He said as soon as the index case was reported on March 12, his government’s first step was to establish the legal framework after which he rallied all segments of the society and laid out a response plan.
With 110,000 people tested and drones used to deliver sample results to some hospitals in the country, Ghana’s testing has been described as one of Africa’s most robust. The country has recorded 1,671 cases and 18 deaths since March 13.
“We had to get on board as many people as were crucial to the solution – doctors, healthcare workers, economists, researchers, clerics, everyone,” he said.
He said his government’s main concern, especially given the relatively limited resources and the fragile healthcare system, was “how to prevent people from getting sick, which means we have to find, test and treat them before the disease takes hold.”
The President said that when the country’s borders were closed out of 1,000 people who arrived from abroad that day and were quarantined, 10 per cent tested positive.
“That was a big challenge,” he said. “But imagine what would have happened if they had come through without quarantine and testing.”
He said among the lessons the country had learned were the need to invest significantly in healthcare, citing the potential growth in IT, agricultural value chain, and the pharmaceutical industry as opportunities.
Ghana is the first African country to ease restrictions on lockdown. However, social gatherings are still banned, while schools and the country’s borders remain closed.