COVID-19 fight not strait-jacket – Prof Boateng

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An expert in supply and value chain management, Professor Douglas Boateng, has intimated that the best way to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) is to tailor-make solutions to complement the economic architecture of a country.

According to him, globally, there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy answer to the pandemic. His comments come on the back of Ghana’s decision to lift its three-week lockdown measure implemented to help fight and prevent spread of the novel COVID-19.

The decision has attracted a raft of divergent views from some citizens: while many believe it will be detrimental to public health, a good number of people say it’s the best way to alleviate the plight of vulnerable people in society.

Professor Boateng told the B&FT: “The decision is a very bold and carefully calculated balancing strategy. The majority of people in our very complex society, and especially at the bottom of the pyramid, are really suffering. Data collected will most likely show that women and child-abuse, malnutrition, and depression are sadly on the increase.

“The world is still getting to understand the coronavirus. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all strategy is certainly not the answer to this pandemic.”

He added: “The lockdown was in fact rapidly leading to other equally very serious unintended health-related and other socio-economic consequences. It is all well and good to instruct people to stay at home, businesses to close etc. when you have the resources to cater for their health and economic needs pre- and post-lockdown.

“The Europeans, Chinese and the Americans will most likely ‘print money’ to take care of their people, manage the other health and economic-related fallouts, plus revive and bail-out selected businesses. The reality is that Ghana is not in a position to do the same. Options available for our beloved country are to borrow plus go and beg for aid to manage pre- and post-lockdown implications. Borrowing and aid come with their own conditions and restrictions.”

He believes that the enhanced testing protocol exercise has given government a good understanding of the virus, leading to its decision to lift the lockdown and entreat everyone to be good hygiene practitioners and make wearing face masks a must.

“It is for this reason that virtually all of the restrictions are still in place, coupled with the clarion call by the president for all to be disciplined and continue strictly adhering to regular handwashing, maintain social distancing, wear face protection masks (FPM) in public and especially in crowded areas; the ban on public gatherings (funerals, conferences, parties), tighter border  surveillance and controls, immediate investment and beefing-up of public healthcare systems, and aggressive tracing and testing.

“The success of this move will depend on each one of us being vigilant and continuously playing our respective roles as citizens and not just spectators,” he intimated.

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