Some health workers at the Tamale Teaching, Tamale West, Tamale Central, and Tamale Seventh Day Adventist hospitals no longer wear face masks as they attend to clients in their facilities. Others who possessed the masks during this report either wore it on their chins or hanged it around their ears as observed by Prince Kwame Tamakloe.
In a secret recording, a nurse at the West Hospital said, “We have been wearing this masks since last year, those that will get the virus have gotten it already.”
The reporter on eighteenth May this year, reported that some residents in the Tamale metropolis and Sagnarigu municipality were disregarding the face mask protocol by the World Health Organization. Churches, mosques, and shopping centres were amongst the venues he visited. While only shoppers who wore face masks were permitted entry into Melcom Ghana, shoppers at Quality First, Walbart super market, Forsmuel shopping centre, and Nasant Ventures blatantly disregarded the protocol.
In a follow up story following the recording of the delta variant on twenty second June and surge in active cases, and death in Ghana, the reporter discovered that the disregard of the wearing of masks was not only peculiar to the ordinary residents but was also heavily perpetuated by health workers in facilities across the Tamale metropolis and the Sagnarigu municipality.
“No Mask-No Entry Notices”.
“No Face Mask, No Entry” notices are no longer on the entrance of shops, mosques, and offices. This is embolden residents to disregard the protocol. At the northern regional health directorate -over thirteen (13) offices captured had no “no face masks- no entry” notice. They include; the General Administration, office of the Deputy Director of Public Health, and Estate office.
Most officers of the Ghana Police Service and Ghana Immigration Service during his visit wore no face masks. The officers declined commenting when questioned. Football fanatics who throng the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium annex daily to watch training sessions and those who gather in large numbers in either shops or football centres to watch matches like the English Premier League and other European football competitions also do so without face masks.
The Yabda Sport Cinema in Gumani, a suburb of Tamale was packed with maskless fanatics on Sunday twenty-second August during the match between Arsenal and Chelsea Football Clubs though the venue is enclosed with little ventilation. Yakubu Abdallah – manager of the centre explained that, it is still a hurdle to get patrons to wear face masks. He is not willing to make the wearing of masks mandatory as directed by the President of the Republic Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“So you want me to lose my customers because of face masks wearing or you want my business to collapse?” Abdallah rhetorically quizzed.
The situation was not different at the “Mello City” game centre at Wurishei also a suburb of Tamale. A patron, Ibrahim Salifu said “it is uncomfortable watching football while wearing facemask and because we are shouting and arguing, we cannot be wearing the face mask, it will make breathing problematic.”
Musa Zakaria Salifu disclosed he does not wear the face mask, “I don’t really believe this corona virus is real, I don’t remember the last time I wore a face mask even when they said the cases were severe in Tamale here and still I have not contracted the disease.”
Residents in Dagbon on eighteenth August celebrated the Fire Festival. It was observed that the celebrants defied the face mask protocols as well.
“Have you seen a COVID-19 patient or dead person in Tamale here, they (politicians) telling lies,” a celebrant who identified himself only as Rahman hinted.
A member of the traditional council of Kpalsi insisted “If they (politicians) can conduct voter registration and general elections, then they can equally celebrate their festival without obeying the face mask directive given the same politicians.”
A handing over ceremony of the Saint Joseph’s Technical School cadet in the Saboba district saw both staff and students defying the mask wearing protocol.
A staff at the Tamale Covid-19 Treatment Centre, Dr. Victor Aduku revealed he has also observed the phenomenon which he said is worrying trend while reiterating his earlier assertion that, “because people don’t see others die in their communities out of the disease, they do not believe the sickness is real and therefore will not want to bother themselves with regards to fighting the spread of the disease.”
Madam Rahinatu Yakubu a member of the Northern Regional Health Promotion team on COVID-19, who also describes the situation as a worrisome one, said the situation can change if the local assemblies COVID-19 taskforce in the northern region rise to the occasion to enforce the COVID-19 law effectively and fiercely regardless of one’s ethnic, religious or political affiliation.
The Northern Regional Headquarters of the Ghana Police Service between January and July this year arrested some 66 persons in connection with the violation of the face masks wearing directive by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Supt. Baba Ananga, the crime officer of the northern regional police said the police command has resorted to stakeholder engagements and continuous education. The crime officer said he is optimistic that the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 in the northern region will be a success.
“Despite the inadequate personnel, we are hopeful that the fight against COVID-19 will be a successful one especially as we do this with the traditional and religious leaders in the region” he said.
Ghana’s Covid-19 records.
According to the Ghana Health Service Covid-19 dashboard, the country’s confirmed cases as of twenty-ninth August, 2021, stood at 120,003 cases, with 1,047 deaths. Recoveries and discharged stood at 112,009 with 6,981 6,857. Some 1,271,393 citizens have been vaccinated so far across all sixteen regions. The Northern region has recorded some 1,074 cases with 1,646 of the infected treated and discharged. The region currently has some 27 active cases according to the Ghana Health Service. It also has recorded some thirty one (31) deaths since 202.
The story is supported by Journalist for Human Rights under the Mobilizing Media to Fighting COVID-19 project.
By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe|www.zamireports.com| Tamale.