Ministry of Health
Ghana Health Service (GHS)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration All Media Houses
7th February, 2020
NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: RELOCATE OUR STUDENTS IN CHINA IMMEDIATELY
Greetings from the National Secretariat of the National Health Students Association of Ghana (NAHSAG). The National Executive Officers (NEO) wish to present our take on the fast-spreading NOVEL CORONAVIRUS and possible interventions with respect to our students in Wuhan, China.
NAHSAG is pleased with the measures put in place so far by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to prepare adequately for the condition in case we record any in Ghana. We are even more delighted to read about the intention to form a National Technical Coordination Committee (NTCC) to critically research into the condition and plan adequately the way forward for Ghana.
We beseech leadership of MOH and GHS to ensure that we have adequate infrastructure in place as we prepare to combat the condition.
We came across a release indicating that both NUGS- China and the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) are all calling on the government (Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to evacuate Ghanaian students in China within 48-72 hours to keep them out of danger.
This is a good way to show concern about our colleague students in China and we commend the two groups for that idea.
However, we at NAHSAG are of the view that evacuating our students from China to Ghana would be a rather dangerous action which can endanger the lives of both the students in China and the entire Ghanaian society at large. Evacuation of our students from China to Ghana would not be in our best interest due to the following reasons:
1. China is well advanced medically in protecting our students from getting infected considering the necessary precautions taken.
2. In case any of our students contract the virus, China is in better position to quarantine and treat them due to their already established roadmap to combatting the virus.
3. In the case of evacuation, if some number of students acquire the virus and is brought home, this would increase the chances of recording cases in Ghana.
4. Ghana is not adequately prepared to handle an outbreak of this virus since the Ministry of health and the Ghana health service are still in the process to equip themselves well to combat the menace even in our teaching Hospitals.
5. Our public awareness level is unfortunately low, and so if we risk evacuation without a proper quarantine system, we might find ourselves in very regrettable situations.
It is worth noting that we have over 6400 Ghanaian students in China with about 300 of them residing in Wuhan. We at the NAHSAG think that government should consider the following alternatives to ensure safety of our students in China especially those within Wuhan.
1. As a matter of urgency, all our students within the Wuhan province should be relocated to a much more safer and strategic zone within China to decrease the exposure of the students to the deadly virus. We believe that family relatives of these students and the general public would appreciate their swift relocation.
2. Provide them with the necessary basic needs of survival. We cannot risk hunger killing our students even before a single individual contracts the virus. We shudder to think of how our students in Wuhan feed themselves in the light of this outbreak, hence the government should provide them with the necessary resources needed for survival alongside the point listed in the above point (1).
3. It is imperative that the government outdoors a good exit plan from China to Ghana in case there is the need for evacuation with recommendations from the Ghanaian embassy in China while strengthening our quarantine system to receive these student in case of any eventualities.
In a nutshell, China is better positioned to safe keep our students. We therefore beseech the government of Ghana to provide whatever support the Ghanaian embassy in China would require to enhance their work to safeguard our students.
We urge the Ghanaian public to keep to hygienic practices most especially regular washing of hands with soap and water, and avoid touching our face with our hands.
NAHSAG: United for Health!
Moses N. Bondong
Hon. Derrick Mensah
(Public, Media & International Relations Officer)
NB: Connect with us on social media;
Facebook: National Health Students' Association Of Ghana - NAHSAG