A survey by government has shown that 95% of Ghanaians have, one way or another, heard about COVID-19; but only 80% of these believe that the virus is real and its impact are devastating – with the other 20% not believing it exists at all or are of the view that it is a conspiracy being peddled by government.
These results, according to Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, indicate one of the biggest challenges facing government in fighting the virus. The minister was speaking at the ministry’s regular briefing on the virus.
“Our data suggest that when it comes to reach, we have reached over 95 percent of Ghanaians. Today, about 95 percent of Ghanaians should know about COVID-19 and what to do about it after four months of preaching on it. But not all of them believe it; our sampling suggests that up to about 20 percent have heard the message but don’t believe it.
“This is because they would rather believe what some pastor says or what some political leader says. To them, it is Nana Akufo-Addo who travelled and brought the disease – or some funny story like that because their political leader is repeating it, or some pastor is saying he has received a vision that the thing will disappear after a while.
“Even for those who believe, not everybody is responding to the call to action, which is why we are talking about including enforcement and compliance. We all have a responsibility to try and step up these numbers,” he said.
He added that government is worried about the level of compliance nationwide, because lack of compliance is one of the causes for increasing cases being recorded.
“We are asking that they (security agencies) do still more to enforce compliance with the COVID-19 protocols. Beyond calling for compliance and enforcement, we also need non-state actors – including the media, civil society groups, religious bodies etc. – to assist in the effort to get the remaining part of the population that is not complying to comply. It is not just about asking the security agencies to enforce the law, but all of us have the responsibility to ask non-state actors to also join us in calling for compliance.”
The minister assured that government will not relent in its efforts to educate Ghanaians on COVID-19 until the believability and call to action goals are reached. He said the Ministry of Information and Ghana Health Service will continue in their efforts to educate the populace on the COVID-19 disease.