The Ministry of Information, Ghana Health Service (GHS), and partners have organised a capacity building workshop to sensitise the Central Regional House of Chiefs on COVID-19 and its associated stigma, safety protocols, and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The workshop was held to encourage the Chiefs to ensure that their subjects adhered to the COVID-19 safety protocols, a statement from the Ghana Health Service, copied to the Ghana News Agency said.
Obrempong Nyankul Krampah XI, the Paramount Chief of Gomoa Ajumako Traditional Area and the President of Central Regional House of Chiefs, the statement said, commended President Nana Akufo-Addo for his proactive steps taken to contain the virus in Ghana.
He advised chiefs and queen mothers to lead community-level education on COVID-19 to enable their community members to adhere to the protocols.
To sustain the decreasing number of active cases, he reiterated that, adherence to the protocols remained vital.
The training which was led by Dr Da costa Aboagye, the Leader of National Risk Communication and Social Mobilization Committee for Ghana's COVID-19 Response Team, also encouraged participants to end stigma against persons infected with COVID-19.
He said health conditions like hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and cancers had been identified among the top four causes of mortality, especially among the aged in Ghana.
The Ministry of Health and GHS, he said, would initiate a ‘wellness programme’ as one of the key methods to detect NCDs early to institutionalise their ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach to support curative health services.
“This means to support the existing NHIS primary health care delivery in the country, the government will focus on health promotion and prevention from 2021”, he added.
Dr Aboagye also the Director of Health Promotion, GHS, said: “The current COVID-19 pandemic has provoked social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against infected persons and their families and leading to people hiding their illnesses and not seeking health care early.
” “Majority of the COVID-19 deaths recorded in this country came from co-morbidities, such as hypertension, stroke, and diabetes.
There is, therefore, a need to step up education on these non-communicable diseases,” he added.
He urged chiefs and opinion leaders to lead fighting stigma and assist individuals who had been abandoned after contracting the virus.
He admonished the media to help educate and encourage citizens to adopt healthy behaviours such as regular exercising, eating local foods as well as fruits and vegetables, having enough rest, and avoiding stress.
He also asked the public to continue adhering to the safety protocols by washing hands thoroughly with soap under running water, wearing face masks, observing social distancing protocol, and showing love to one another to defeat the virus.
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, acknowledged the role of traditional authorities in the national development agenda, particularly their support in the enforcement of the restrictions that were imposed during the lockdown period.
“We recognised for instance that the imposition of the restriction on mass gatherings such as funerals and festivals were largely successful because of the understanding and active support of our Chiefs and Queens.