The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT) has said its members will not charge for calls to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency lines. The move is part of its efforts to support the nation’s fight against COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health announced the COVID emergency numbers (0509497700, 0558439868) to aid persons who show symptoms of the virus to get prompt attention and treatment. The Chamber has outlined a number of measures it has rolled out to support other key stakeholders in the nation’s quest to combat the outbreak of COVID-19.
These measures are to support Ghanaians to stay connected at all times during the period, and support government, businesses and customers to leverage on the power of telecommunications for the greater good of society.
The measures include partnerships with the Ministries of Communications, National Communications Authority, Ghana Health Service, Bureau of National Communications, National Security to broadcast emergency communications using the network infrastructure to educate the general public.
In collaborating with the Bank of Ghana, members of the chamber are providing free mobile financial services transactions within certain bands to promote digital forms of payments and augment social distancing, which will reduce the rate of new infections.
The Chamber said it has asked members to put in place plans for staff to work from home to guarantee service availability at all times so as to facilitate seamless service provision to everyone.
Ing. Dr. Kenneth Ashigbey, CEO of the chamber said: “There is a zero-rating for critical websites that provide COVID-19 awareness and safety protocols. They are also offering further packages for identified educational, and related websites, as well as other critical government of Ghana portals that offer essential services to citizens.
“The industry’s fraud team is equally working assiduously to fight coronavirus-related fraud and misinformation on our networks. As an industry, we wish to assure the general public that one of our primary priorities is to ensure the provision of service availability and the resilience of our networks and services as we begin to experience increasing demand for voice, data and mobile financial services,” he said.
Mr. Ashigbey added: “We are working closely with our regulators and sector ministry to ensure that adequate controls are in place to guarantee service availability, which can support customer experience for the larger population during these times”.
Finally, the Chamber entreats the general public to refer to the Ghana Health Service website for relevant information and updates, maintain social distancing, practice respiratory hygiene and wash hands regularly.