COVID-19 and matters arising

COVID-19 and matters arising

The corona virus pandemic has really wreaked havoc in the world, causing many deaths and making others sick and putting a huge burden on healthcare systems.
Luckily, a number of vaccines have been developed and are being administered to people in various countries to help control this deadly disease which has now become an albatross around our necks in the world.
Keeping safe
Everybody is doing their best to keep safe. People are managing with the “new normal” regarding the safety protocols such as social distancing, not hugging or shaking hands, wearing of masks, regularly washing of hands or using hand sanitisers, etc.
The need to adhere strictly to the safety protocols has become even more necessary because of the different variants of the virus and how they are spreading quickly. According to health experts, a number of different variants of the corona virus are now circulating around the world.
There are many reports where people have accidentally become infected after all their diligence with the safety protocols. You never know, actually.
Boosting one’s immunity
Health and nutrition experts have been advising on the need to boost one’s immune system with healthy foods rich in vitamins, exercises or physical activities to keep the body strong and help to fight sickness.
A good immune system, it is said, helps to fight the virus and prevents it from doing damage to our health. We are advised to eat leafy greens such as spinach, and other foodstuffs such as fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, zinc, and other immune boosting nutrients.
Our own kontomire and other greens used for soups and stews are very healthy. These days because I cannot get kontomire here (Finland). I use spinach to prepare green kontomire-like soup. I enjoy the more of this and other foodstuffs, such as plantains (I usually mash the plantain into an oto with smoked dried fish to give it an aromatic touch, accompanied with slices of avocado pear, which I eat straight from the apotoyewa).
A friend here recently told me that in their home they had made it a point to eat salad (with other vegetables) every Saturday morning. No room for complacency oo.
Why I will get vaccinated
Luckily, a number of vaccines are being administered to people in many countries to help control this deadly epidemic which has now become an albatross around our necks in the world.
I cannot wait to receive my vaccination. Some friends elsewhere have taken the first and second shots and are doing okay. They are so elated to have had that opportunity.
Ghana has taken delivery of its initial vaccines recently and has started administering. That’s good.
According to key health institutions and experts, vaccines are an important part of stopping the spread of COVID-19 as they reduce the severity of the symptoms in case one becomes infected.
This is one important reason I will not delay at all to take the vaccine. I will take it sharp, sharp. Again, who knows what happens should hoarding set in or if demand for the vaccines exceeds supply at a point in time? That means it will then become difficult to get vaccinated. A word to the wise…
The conspiracy theories
It is sad that there seems to be vaccine hesitancy in Ghana because of conspiracy theories, cynicism, ignorance, and worse of all, sheer mischief by some people. All this has resulted in casting doubts about the efficacy of the vaccines brought to Ghana and other African countries.
Some people think the vaccines for African countries are different from the ones for the Western nations; therefore, the ones brought to Africa could be dangerous and meant to depopulate the Black race. Some have even claimed without any proof that the vaccines would leave people with sexual dysfunction.
Such conspiracy theories remind me about HIV/AIDS. Conspiracy theories were rife about the disease in Africa with some people claiming that HIV/AIDS had been created in laboratories in the West to kill Blacks, that it affects only urban dwellers, etc.
In the end, HIV/AIDS saw many infections and deaths in Ghana and other African countries. Sub-Saharan Africa actually remains the most affected region in the global HIV epidemic and bears more than two-thirds of the global HIV burden, according to the UNAIDS.
Increasing the education
There is the need to intensify education about the vaccines to help control COVID-19. The key stakeholders—government/state institutions, health authorities, religious leaders, traditional authorities, non-governmental organisations in Ghana should all come in even more strongly than before to educate people in our localities. The media should be one of the leading groups in this endeavour.
Finally, let’s all follow the safety measures, especially the wearing of masks. Let the authorities constantly drum it home to us to help control the virus. Thank you!

The writer is a Ghanaian lecturer at University of Helsinki, Finland

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