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Dr. Barnabas Gandau, Senior Lecturer – UDS

A Senior Lecturer at the University for Development Studies, Dr. Barnabas Gandau, has chided President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for successfully taking away attention on how to fight the coronavirus pandemic and rather creating a debate on who is a frontline health worker.

He made the assertion in a statement on his Facebook wall on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

According to the former Medical Director of the Upper West Regional Hospital, the president has succeeded in breaking the health sector into pieces with the announcement of allowance for frontline workers which doesn’t include all health practitioners in the country but also failed to specify who qualified for the allowance.

“Mr. President has just broken the health front into pieces. He has demoralized the hardworking healthcare professionals whose only request and motivation was to have enough protection and insurance for anyone that gets affected in line of duty.” Parts of the statement he put on Facebook read.

Describing the promise as “empty”, Dr. Gandau questioned how the president with so many advisors could “announce ‘an Executive Decision’ that will now provoke public discourse that takes away concentration on the matter at hand (covid-19)”.

The Fistula Surgeon while positing that every health worker at post is exposed to risk said it would have been better if the president had first defined who a frontline worker is, and allow people to choose to be part or not. This, he believes, would have eliminated the current confusion on who is a frontline health worker and allow people to discuss ways of combating the pandemic. The experienced gynecologist likened the promise to the healthcare providers to the “1D1F” promise which has offered nothing to the Ghanaian people especially in this time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite lauding the president for the appointment of Dr. Okoe Boye as a deputy health minister whom he believes has the ability of bringing dynamism to the sector, Dr. Gandau opines that Nana Akufo-Addo has made unpopular decisions this year which will derail his fortunes going into the general elections in December, 2020.

Meanwhile, Dr. Barnabas Gandau has called on the government to form and dispatch a team to assist health workers in the Upper West Region in the fight against Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) which has already claimed 33 lives of 214 reported cases in three months in the region. He stated that, CSM “is an epidemic within a pandemic that cannot be left in the hands of the few overwhelmed healthcare professionals in the Upper West Region”.

He further questioned President Akufo-Addo’s resolve to fighting the CSM and asked if there is any special package or support for health workers dealing with meningitis in the Upper West Region.

President Akufo-Addo, in his 5th address to the nation, Sunday, April 5, 2020, on measures taken to fight the Covid-19 pandemic announced that, frontline healthcare providers will get a fifty percent of their basic salary as allowance. He further stated that all health workers will not be taxed on their emoluments for the next three months effective April, 2020 while those engaged in contact tracing will receive a daily allowance of GHS 150.00. Most Ghanaians are however confused as to who is a frontline worker as it has not been defined.