Ecobank, in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has held a public forum to engage customers and the public on the effects of COVID-19 on health in Africa, as well as on individuals and businesses. Held virtually via Facebook Live and YouTube, the forum attracted hundreds of participants in real-time, with many shares and downloads of the event.
Ahead of the forum, Ecobank had actively advertised the programme on social media and solicited questions from people around the globe, particularly within the African continent. The Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana and Regional Executive for the Anglophone West Africa Region, Mr. Dan Sackey, responded to questions relating to banking, economies and finance; while Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC, answered questions on COVID-19 and public health.
The public and Ecobank customers were mostly interested in how to cope with the current situation, and how to continue with banking transactions and engage the bank during the pandemic. They also enquired about precautionary measures that the bank had put in place to ensure customer-safety, and what the future or a post COVID-19 era will look like.
Mr. Sackey outlined some of the measures that Ecobank has put in place, as advised by recognised health agencies, to ensure the safety of staff, customers and stakeholders. He advised participants to use electronic channels for payments, funds transfer and other routine banking transactions. He emphasised that digital and electronic banking hold the key to the future of banking globally, as they are fast, secure and provide great convenience for patrons, while minimising the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Mr. Sackey informed customers about Ecobank’s digital channels, including the mobile and various online banking services. He described how the Ecobank intelligent automatic teller machines (ATMs) can facilitate cash withdrawals and deposits; and the Ecobank Xpress Points, which provide basic banking needs and are available in over 1,500 community-based shops in Ghana.
Joining the forum from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dr. Nkengasong cautioned participants to refrain from self-medication as this could worsen their health conditions, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. He warned participants not to take chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 without their doctor’s prescription because of the severe consequences, including death, which have been reported as a result of self-medication with these drugs.
Dr. Nkengasong advised that as much as possible people should stay home, exercise regularly, eat well, drink lots of fluids, and take adequate amounts of relevant vitamins. He said these will boost the immune system and prepare the body to fight diseases. He advised anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to comply with the advice given by their healthcare providers.
Dr. Nkengasong traced the history of pandemics, indicating that over the years the world has witnessed one major pandemic every century – citing the Great Plague of Marseille in 1720, the Asian cholera outbreak in 1820, the Spanish flu in 1920 and now the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. He assured participants that scientists will certainly find antidotes for COVID-19.
Mrs. Rita Tsegah, Regional Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Ecobank said: “The aim of today’s virtual forum is to keep our customers and the public informed about the fight against COVID-19, while engaging them on the need to adapt to the changing times. We will continue to hold such fora as part of our corporate social responsibility during this COVID-19 pandemic”. She said Ecobank remains resolute in discharging this obligation by collaborating with partners that are committed to mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 and supporting the Ecobank agenda.