Such a teleconference, he said, was necessary if the problem was to be holistically dealt with in the sub-region considering the inter-connectivity of the people in West Africa.“This might include restriction of movement between our countries. Because what use will it be to clear our nation of the disease, and have pools of infection in our neighbouring countries?”, he stated.
He was speaking at a Friday Muslim prayer session organised by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to end the party’s three-day prayer and fasting at the Office of the former President.
Last Sunday, the NDC organised a similar session with the Christian community in his office.
In attendance were the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, the Ameer and Missionary -in charge, Maulvi Muhammaed Bin Salih, the National Chairman of the NDC, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, former Chief of Staff, Mr Julius debrah, and the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Idrrisu, among other key players.
Addressing Ghanaians through his Facebook page, which broadcast the Muslim prayer session, former President Mahama, who is also the NDC’s flag bearer for the 2020 election, urged Ghanaians to remain calm as the authorities thought through and worked hard on the best way to contain the virus.
He said the increase in the number of cases to 137 and the fear expressed by medical experts of possible community spread had led to a sense of panic among many people.
He said the current situation called for an urgent strengthening of the public health management procedures, and provision of the needed resources and logistics for managing the pandemic.
“This is critical if our frontline healthcare workers are to have the confidence to continue to battle the disease”.
Minister of Finance
Former President Mahama said it was also critical for the Minister of Finance to urgently brief Parliament on the potential impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the impact it was having on global supply chains and trade.
“Following from this briefing, necessary appropriations must be made to secure the necessary logistics and mount a robust public awareness campaign on how to prevent the spread of the disease.
He said the Ministry of Finance would subsequently had presented a budget review to Parliament outlining the government's new spending priorities in the light of recent developments.
“Additionally, an economic package that is administered transparently, without the usual parochial and partisan considerations, would be necessary to cushion Ghanaian businesses and SMEs. Clearly businesses, especially in the tourism and hospitality sectors are already struggling quite early into this pandemic.
“Let us continue to remind ourselves as individuals, business persons, religious leaders, religious organisations, political actors and government that we have a country to protect, we have our fellow Ghanaians to protect,” he stated.
Access to health
He said one of the important takeaways from the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic was the need for a strong healthcare system for our country.
He said the major thing he had learnt from the pandemic was the need to focus on the health sector, developing telemedicine tools to augment the provision of modern and well-equipped health facilities.
“We must construct many more CHPS compounds, health posts, provide each district with a modern health facility, establish regional hospitals in the new regions and aggressively expand facilities in existing ones.
“At the 37 Military Hospital here in Accra, we must make use of available land to expand the hospital, doubling the existing number of beds, and establish an Infectious Diseases Centre to prepare us to adequately tackle developments such as COVID-19.