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Opinions of Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Columnist: Theophilus Quaicoe, Contributor

The socioeconomic implications of coronavirus: Idealism vs Realism.


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Uncertainties are prevailing, and mostly unforseen circumstances that often times hit us in life. Health complications and complexities, even though we try as much as possible to mitigate them, but continue to chase us from cradle till death.

Coronavirus Pandemic is of no exception to these health phenomenological circumstances. However, the COVID-19, due to its widespread and deadly nature, makes it laborious for the world to maneuver its way and effectively mitigate it.

The World Health Organization (WHO), through numerous health ministerial institutions, has disseminated the key precautionary measures, necessary to contain the virus in affected countries, and if possible prevent its spread in hotspot regions. Aside these measures, most affected nations have designed mandatary lockdown and restrictive measures to cut internal and international travels in order to avoid further spread of the disease. This disassociation technique does not aim to cut off collaborations, partnerships and inter-economic exchange of support, ideas, funds and technical capacities, but mainly to achieve a health prudence exercise.

One major thing worth noting is that we must at all cost strive to concientize and accept the reality on the ground. Everyone is potentially at risk, hence, we need a collective action and tireless efforts to fight this deadly outbreak. Unarguably, the world is critically bleeding, and bleeding profusely. Even though this new phenomenon was sudden, I'm very sure that some countries if not totally, halfway prepared for it; by putting in place contingency measures, capturing how best they could sustain the livelihoods of their citizens while striving to rescue their economic status.

Undoubtedly, despite the concomitant effects of the coronavirus on the global economic chain, some countries may still bid aggressively for emancipation, with regards to their socioeconomic and political capacities. However, adequate vigilance, care and prudence must be exercise in order not to lose one's identity in the international market of financial, technical and technological competition after complete mitigation of the outbreak.

Whilst the Westerners are working tirelessly from dawn to dusk; racking the deepest part of the mental faculty, Africans are also warming up their scientific and entrepreneurial faculties, even in the midst of technical hitches. Generally, everyone seems to be working since the inception of the outbreak.

While on the other hand some are using this pandemic to exploit others in society, some may likely to experience deep vulnerability - in terms of unequal access to basic health necessities, food, water, clothing, housing, among others.

But the mind boggling question is; when will scientific experts be able to develop the vaccines to cure this pandemic?

Are they resourcefully, technically, financially and psychologically equipped to carry out this task?

What exactly is causing the delay?

These are fundamental questions we must all strive to find solutions to, as soon as possible because the faster and earlier, the better for all humanity!

I am just imagining how the indigents on the street, the orphans, financially challenged, economically disadvantaged, and the physically challenged persons who are poor and with critical health complications, and all forms of economically disadvantaged disabled persons are going to survive in the lockdown affected areas! What I think is that we are technically cooking measures up to reduce the spread of the virus, however, in the real world, we will end up deepening the vulnerable state of the disadvantaged in society.

If the government of Ghana really had a comprehensive and feasible contingency plan - covering all the sectors of the economy, I am not sure we would be/have been so much worried in our minds as to;

• What the Kayayes on the street will eat, drink, cloth, and even where they will sleep?

• How inmates in prisons, orphanage homes, children homes, and destitute homes going to survive?

• We would not be imagining how single parents who would have to struggle in a highly competitive market situation daily in order to meet the needs of their children and families?

• Neither would we have been analyzing the survival state of the neglected, children on the street, and all forms of vulnerable groups, whose survival is highly contingent upon day-to-day begging endeavour, deep struggle in the market place and/or petty labouring work in the community.

This shouldn't have been the time to be searching and soliciting for financial support from persons and organizations, internally and externally!

I must say with all pitiable heart that we do not have a visionary taskforce who are totally committed for the contingency developmental affairs of the country.

Economically, how are small-scale enterprises going to offset their loans, defray their debts, pay the salaries of their workers, and rescue their financial stance in this crisis situation, and even remain viable afterwards? Must this challenge be handled by businesses independently or there's a policy - highlighting a technical and financial sustainability initiative for them?

How about those who struggle individually on daily basis to sustain the livelihoods of their families: the masons, carpenters, drivers, cleaners, petty traders, 'labourers', farmers, fishermen, especially, in the affected areas?

More critically, how are the frail, poor and neglected elderly in disadvantaged communities going to meet their basic needs?

Are the leaders at the national, regional, district, community, organizational and institutional level making a head way to sustain their livelihoods?

I am just wondering how our public utilities like toilet facilities would be able to serve the needs of the highly populated communities of ours, at this crucial moment!

How safe and hygienic are the limited ones we even have?

Most churches are in a dilemma - wondering how they are going to run their affairs - in a situation where members are no longer meeting to actively execute their routine/prescribed giving exercise. It is so pathetic that even some of our churches do not have contingency/emergency policy plan to cater for the needs of its members in crisis situations.

Significantly, every church must work assiduously to thrive effectively and help mitigate this serious phenomenon - through implementation of curative and adaptive measures, as well as a prayer taskforce.

Advisably, traditional actors and leaders must rise as fast as possible in their solidarity and responsiveness posture to help pull resources collectively to sustain the livelihoods of the critically vulnerable groups in their respective communities.

A strong partnership and collaborative efforts with the government at all levels of governance can be a better option, notwithstanding, a collective action can be taken independently to fast-track their activities.

Philanthropists, researchers, and all humanitarian agents must rise up to the call because if we do not collectively and holistically fight this health (social) canker, no one would.



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