The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has called for a change in the COVID-19 advocacy language to reinvigorate the sense of urgency for a change in public attitudes towards stemming the spread of the disease.
“Most Ghanaians are beginning to develop lukewarm attitude towards the fight against COVID-19, even though we basically agree that we are not leaving in normal times, our operational attitudes and responses levels are quite moderate.
“State and non-state actors must scale-up the advocacy through a change communication to deal with myths and rumours within local communities, which is working against the effort to control the spread of COVID-19,” Mrs Lucille Hewlett Annan, the NCCE Greater Accra Regional Director, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview on Thursday.
She noted that the Greater Accra Regional office of the NCCE had stepped up education campaign after receiving logistics and funds from government towards the fight against COVID-19 saying; “when the drum beat changes the dancers must change their steps”.
Mrs Annan noted that the greatest challenge in advocacy was when the people decide that; “we have heard you but we will not conform to the new order. You knock at the door of their mind and still they close the door”.
In view of recent developments, the office had stepped-up the COVID-19 campaign through aggressive community announcements, engagement with opinion leaders and other identifiable groups as agents of change.
She said even though the message surrounding adherence to the World Health Organisation and Ghana Health Service’s preventive protocols seemed repetitive, “it is the only means for protecting and controlling the spread of COVID-19”.
“People still refuse to practice social distancing and also refused to wear the mask claiming they are tired, these are anti-social activities and behaviour, which works against our collective aim to deal with the pandemic.”
Speaking on an update of the NCCE Anti COVID-19 Public Education Campaign, Mrs Annan said the Commission had identified the paradigm shift and the need for rigid enforcement of preventive health protocols as the way out and commended government for the compulsory wearing of masks policy.
She said a comprehensive and adaptable communication strategy through both traditional and social media platforms and active roles by the traditional and religious leaders needed to be scaled-up.
“COVID-19 does not know government or opposition, master or servant, man or woman, powerful and rich nations or poor and weak ones, we are all treated equally under the face of the pandemic,” she noted.
Mrs Annan noted that the NCCE, as part of its intensified COVID-9 public education at the traditional and rural communities had called for non-discriminatory sensitisation, adding; “we work together and survive or we go against each other and perish”.
She said COVID-19 could be defeated through effective communication and called for a comprehensive education of the people to understand the need to adhere to the World Health Organisation and Ghana Health Service preventive protocols.
The NCCE has embarked on a campaign in all districts, mainly at community lorry stations, market square, radio stations, whistle stops and information centres on the need to stop the spread of COVID-19 immediately.
Mrs Annan encouraged the people to keep up-to-date information on the latest COVID-19 hotspots adding; “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 the virus in one of these areas”.