COVID-19: Recovery rate will determine how quick economy bounces back – Prof Boateng

Professor Boateng

A professor in supply chain and logistics management, Douglas Boateng has urged government to enhance its strategies to ensure that many more COVID-19 patients recover as it will serve as the bedrock to attract investments in the near future.

According to him, government must introduce measures to enhance the collection of recovery data, get this data packaged as part of economic information and communicated to both local and international audiences to give hope to local businesses as well as attract foreign investment.

“Until a vaccine is developed or majority of the world’s population has immunity, a country’s sectorial supply and value chain risk profile shall be linked to a nation’s recovery rate. Put simply, no investor or industrialists will be interested in a country where the COVID-19 recovery rate is low.

Our determination, optimism and hopefulness or fear, pessimism and hopelessness; to quickly re-adjust society to normalcy, post partial lockdown, plus attract much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is directly linked to the data on the recovery rate. How data is collected, packaged as information and disseminated has a direct influence on the mindset which in turn can inspire or destroy our collective quest to successfully come out of this crisis plus move on to wean our cherished country off aid,” he told the B&FT in an interview.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) reported that, as at Tuesday April 14, 2020, out of the 566 cases reported, 17 patients had fully recovered from COVID-19 while 66 others had tested negative and where awaiting their second test to determine their recovery status; 8 people had died.

Meanwhile, in other West African countries, there are more recoveries compared to Ghana’s. As at April 14, Benin, which has recorded 35 cases has seen 18 recoveries, representing more than 50 percent; in Burkina Faso, which has recorded 528 cases, there are 177 recoveries; and in Ivory Coast, there are 638 recorded cases with 114 recoveries.

In Guinea, there are 363 recorded cases with 31 recoveries; Mali has recorded 144 cases with 34 recoveries; Niger has 570 cases with 90 recoveries; Nigeria has recorded 373 cases with 99 recoveries; Senegal has recorded 299 cases with 183 recoveries, also representing more than 50 percent of total cases; and Togo has recorded 77 cases with 32 recoveries.

The big question he asked is why is Ghana’s recovery rate relatively so low? “Our healthcare system is relatively better. COVID-19 unfortunately is our new normal. The key is how our healthcare systems keep the death rate as low as possible,” he said.

He opined that there is the need for healthcare funding to be revisited plus effective reporting of the recovery rate to minimize fear which, if not managed, could have serious unintended consequences for the country.

He further intimated that, carrying the HIV virus does not necessarily lead to AIDS. Similarly getting infected with SAR-COV-2 (ie Coronavirus) does not necessarily lead to full blown COVID-19. Until diagnosed, an individual may be just another carrier of the virus. He believes a carrier may never develop the COVID-19 disease or even show symptoms, but very high asymptomatic carriers of the virus are spreading the virus.

He added that, like the rest of the world, Ghanaians and Africans are already developing antibodies and immunity to the virus. “We just need to intensify our testing in this area so that we can build a reliable data base for research on drug and vaccine development. In summary, getting infected with the coronavirus is not a death sentence.

However, knowing your status is important to help protect the vulnerable in society. Hence the need for as many people to know their status through testing. Collectively we can contain the spread of the coronavirus, manage and limit the damage the COVID-19 disease can do to our fragile public health system and on society at large.

Yes, there shall be unfortunate casualties plus significant unintended socio-economic consequences. However, what we have managed to achieve so far with our very limited resources clearly indicate that we shall win this unprecedented battle and emerge even stronger to collectively work towards becoming a self-sufficient nation,” Prof Boateng said.

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