6TH JUNE 2021



OccupyGhana® has watched with consternation news reports, videos and photographs of the funeral and burial of New Patriotic Party politician and former Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission of Ghana, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, which event packed thousands of politicians, well-wishers and mourners into a park, with minimal mask wearing, absolutely no social distancing and a wanton disregard for the funeral restrictions imposed by government. We do not think that what happened did justice to the memory of a man who was reputed to be a man of discipline.

In our press release of 2 May 2021 regarding the holding of the Christ Embassy religious event at the Fantasy Dome, we thought no reminders were needed that the dangerous and deadly COVID-19 was still present and active among us. In that release, we hailed government’s imposition of protocols by law, which we believe demand compliance, by all. To wake up to contrary behaviour by prominent members of the same government and other politicians, after we have seen the colossal human disaster that has unfolded in India, caused by unrestrained political activities and religious events that did not respect COVID-19 protocols, is both disappointing and frightening.

We cannot show such a remarkable sense of recklessness and abandon in these times and not expect to reap disastrous and possibly deadly consequences. We need no reminders that by exercising bad judgment in releasing Aisha Huang, government created a defiant galamsey population on its hands and more destruction of our water bodies and forests ensued until it had to resort to the illegal and populist remedy of burning excavators to try and stem the tide of evil genie unleashed with the release of Aisha Huang. Similarly, this disregard of the law will embolden several people to treat COVID-19 protocols with disdain and contempt.

We saw and read about the police charging the people who organised the Christ Embassy event with offences under the Imposition of Restrictions Act. We have seen the Police resort to court injunctions and threats of force to stop the planned #fixGhana protests and demonstrations, with the weak excuse that they will defy the same Act. We hasten to ask whether the government has any moral authority now where these matters are concerned?

While extending to Sir John and his family all the deserving courtesies, respect and condolences, the irony is not lost on us that due to COVID-19, a British Royal and Duke had only 30 people in attendance at his funeral. The whole world witnessed it, and we thought much lessons could have been gleaned from that utterly humane event around a person of global stature.

This behaviour of people in a position to know better is deeply worrying, and while we can only pray that it doesn’t happen, if in weeks this event turns out to be a super spreader event with more deaths and hospitalisations, government will have no one but itself to blame for its inability and unwillingness to show a better example.

We repeat our oft-repeated call on all Ghanaians to keep respecting the COVID-19 protocols in all situations. We must protect ourselves and our loved ones, even when people who should know better break the law while enforcing it against others.

Yours, for God and Country



2nd MAY 2021



OccupyGhana® has watched with shock, a video on YouTube (now pulled down) of a religious event held in Accra from Friday, 30 April 2021, dubbed ‘Pneumatica Night 2021,’ and organised by the Christ Embassy Youth Church, Airport City, which event packed thousands of adherents into the air-conditioned tent called Fantasy Dome, with minimal mask wearing and absolutely no social distancing. 

We are not opposed to the holding of religious events. But we need no reminders that the dangerous and murderous COVID-19 is still present and active with us. That is why the government has imposed protocols by law, which demand compliance, even by churches; and our local churches have largely been exemplar in this regard.  On the contrary, we are seeing the colossal human disaster that is unfolding in India, caused largely by unrestrained political activities and religious events that did not respect COVID-19 protocols.

That is why we are shocked that the authorities could either actively or negligently allow this event to be held in Accra, especially by a religious organisation whose leader actively denies the virus and preaches against the protocols.

The government must answer to Ghanaians whether or not this event was held on its blind side, and if so, how that was possible? Was the police present at the event, and if so, why? Were government officials invited and were they present? Were the venue owners present, and did they take any steps to prevent or stop this?

While the authorities investigate this matter, we call on the government to immediately stop any further meetings and apply the law on COVID-19 protocols to the organisers of this event to the fullest extent possible.

The key lesson from covid is this: If you pile thousands of people together, maskless, COVID spreads! We all should have learnt that by now! Even more, studies have shown that air-conditioners may help spread the virus.

We hope that the authorities have learned the painful lesson on how the ‘kids-glove’ treatment of Aisha Huang all but killed the fight against Galamsey, that the way the government treats such a flagrant breach of our laws will tell Ghanaians how serious we are about this fight.

Still in the service of God and Country




26th APRIL 2021



OccupyGhana®️ has read with concern reports from Frontiers Services Limited, the Covid-19 Antigen testing lab based at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), about the sudden and alarming increase in positive cases arriving in the country over the past week.

According to a letter dated April 24, 2021 written by the lab to Ghana Airport Co Ltd., a record number of seventy-five (75) positive cases were detected on the April 24, 2021 at the airport. This is a significant rise from the previous high of forty-five (45) positive cases on April 21, 2021.

With the devastating effects of the 2nd COVID-19 wave at the beginning of the year still fresh in our minds we appeal to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to leave no stone unturned in reducing the importation of positive cases. 

Judging by the terrible effects of the third wave of COVID -19 which has crippled health systems and led to the loss of thousands of lives in several countries, a third wave in Ghana with its new variants could be catastrophic.

Some of the problems we have identified are:

1.            Travellers arriving in the country from high-risk countries;

2.            Travellers arriving with fake PCR test results;

3.            Non availability of quarantine facilities for large numbers of travellers;

4.            Hotels not willing to be used for quarantine purposes; and

5.            Some positive cases not willing to be isolated in GHS-designated isolation facilities.

Ghana’s pioneering introduction in August 2020 of compulsory antigen testing on arrival at KIA has without a doubt cut down the risk of importing new cases. We wish to make the following suggestions as an added level of precaution:

a.            As a matter of urgency, we must identify the high-risk countries and restrict travel to and from them. Citizens and residents of Ghana may be allowed entry, only if they test negative at KIA and are mandatorily quarantined for at least 10 days at their own cost;

b.           Provide incentives to hotels to accept passengers from high-risk countries for quarantine. Travellers must pay hotel quarantine bills in full, prior to travel;

c.            Without exception, all travellers who test positive must be sent to a GHS-designated isolation facility as per our protocols for further clinical assessment and treatment. A negative PCR test must be repeated after Day 5. The passenger may be de-isolated following 2 negative tests; and

d.            Prosecute travellers who are proven to have flown in with forged PCR results.

It is our fervent hope that the authorities will consider these matters and accept these suggestions as we continue to battle this virus and protect one another from infections.

Still in the service of God and Country




25th JANUARY 2021



The Medical Team of OccupyGhana® has been studying graphs plotting new cases of COVID-19 against time, and sees a relative period of quiescence from late August through much of October 2020. In the first week of November, though, there was a noticeable spike in new cases that let up about two weeks later. A similar phenomenon was evident as we entered December. Though new cases were more than what was seen in September and October, the growth rate stayed stable.

However, January 2021 has seen a significant uptick in new cases and death. These changes are not letting up three weeks into the month. The uptrends in new cases and deaths are noticeable and more significant this time than back in November and December 2020.

OccupyGhana® therefore states as follows:

  1. The factor(s) driving these unfortunate changes are not letting up, and unless something drastic is done, the situation will get worse. These factors leading to the uptrend are visible to most Ghanaians. After almost a year of dealing with this disease, we have all learned the role social gatherings play in spreading. We therefore ask the government to immediately ban all social gatherings till a marked drop in new cases is seen. This will include funerals, parties, church services, night clubs etc. In short, any gathering of more than ten people should be banned again.
  2. Unfortunately, a ban might affect the recent and pending re-opening of schools. It will therefore be imperative to explore expanding online classes, whether class sizes of those who cannot take online classes could be reduced to a maximum of ten, and shift systems introduced. For parents who must go to work, it is time for employers to begin conversations on ‘flexitime,’ which breaks the day into three 8-hour cycles where parents could stay at home to supervise online classes and then report to work later in the day. We must do whatever it takes to rein in this trend of infections, and it requires us to be creative in how we think and how we do things.
  3. It is our view that the experience from last year showed that a general lockdown is not sustainable. A better alternative, we think, would be to identify and target the hotspots and at-risk groups and explore ways to modify their behaviour. It is unfortunately evident that the social behaviour of those in the middle class is driving this new uptick in cases and deaths. All efforts should be made to influence this behaviour and reverse this trend.
  4. Enforcing the mask mandate is also very important. Masks have been shown to break the spread. We must enforce the terms of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012). However, we think that the punishments in the Act have hardly been applied. This is because although the prescribed fine of between GHS12,000 and GHS60,000 and/or imprisonment between 4 and 10 years might have been well-intentioned to be draconian and convey the seriousness of the situation, they have proven to be unrealistic. Parliament has to consider an amendment of the Act in this light, to aid its enforcement and to provide for realistic fines and other deterrents such as community service for those who breach the law.
  5. In the general public, there are still many misconceptions about the disease. Re-educating the public about the disease, the myriad ways it can present and its short and long-term effects should be an exercise our media houses can help with. We are inviting electronic media houses to commit to air approved educational advertisements on the pandemic for a minimum cumulative period of one hour in every 24-hour cycle, over the next month. Print media houses may also commit to print one full-page advert three times a week.
  6. Another factor leading to the uptrend is the new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Consideration should be given to reducing travel to and from countries where these variants are dominant.
  7. We also ask the government to make more hospital beds available as all indications point to a dire need for beds for the ever-increasing number of new cases that need in-patient care.
  8. Ultimately, the best way out of the chokehold of this pandemic is a vaccine. Therefore, we implore the government to spare no effort in getting doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for the country.
  9. To all Ghanaians, even if you are one of those who will only get a mild case of COVID-19, the toll those who suffer the severe version exact on the health facilities ultimately lead to a situation where help for non-COVID conditions become very difficult or even impossible to obtain. The indirect effects of the disease and a rampant spread are many. Therefore, it behoves us all to work to stop the uptrend in cases.

In conclusion, it is essential for all to recognise the direness of the situation and act accordingly.

In the service of God and Country,




21ST JUNE 2020



OccupyGhana® has seen the Ghana Health Service (GHS) News Release dated 17 June 2020 in response to our PR dated 15 June 2020 on the above matter. As a sign of good faith, we held back from an immediate robust response, to abide a requested zoom meeting between our leadership and Medical Team on the one hand, and the entire leadership of the Government’s COVID-19 team on the other hand, in the evening of 19 June 2020. It was a very engaging meeting.

This PR is to state our position after the GHS News Release and the meeting.

Just to recap, these are the health-related issues we raised in our PR:

  1. Is it Government policy to head for ‘herd immunity’?
  2. Why are ambulances not responding to the several callers?
  3. Why is there so much delay in releasing test results?
  4. Why has contact tracing reduced?
  5. Sanctity of the data.
  6. Why is there a shortage of PPE?
  7. The holding and treatment centres in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions (the two epicentres) are full.



The GHS’ News Release did not address this question. But at the meeting we were assured that this was not the Government’s intention. Noted.


The GHS’ News Release did not address this because, as they confirmed at the meeting, they did not consider this to be within their remit.

But we were concerned that the delays could be due to not enough ambulances having been assigned for COVID-19 related use. However, at the meeting we were assured that our concerns would be addressed. Noted. We will continue to monitor the situation.



In the GHS response, it was claimed that it took 48 hours for most results to be released. That is inaccurate. As was shown at the meeting, currently, some results take as much as seven days. Sometimes it takes much longer to receive results.

We therefore raised further questions on whether the testing centres are optimised to perform? Are all the testing centres running, and if not, why? Do the testing centres have data entry issues?  Do the sample collection facilities adequately fill the case forms that accompany all the samples? Is there a high number of mislabelling?

Ultimately, the meeting conceded that there are indeed delays and assured us that a lot was being done to address that. For instance, a barcode labelling system with electronic transmission of test results through the SORMAS app has been introduced.

We will continue to watch this space since reducing the delay in getting test results will reduce anxiety among those who have tested and then dovetail into the discharge strategy so that patients are discharged in good time to make room for others.


We were informed that Ghana is no longer doing the enhanced contact tracing that characterised the lockdown, and that the mass contact tracing team has been disbanded.

We disagree, strongly. At the end of the lockdown on 19 April 2020, Ghana had 1,042 positive cases. Currently we have a total of 13,717 positive cases of which 3,558 are active.

We find this new policy bizarre and counterintuitive. We know enhanced tracing has financial implications, but it beggars belief that that would be discontinued when the daily number of new positive cases is increasing. Early detection and treatment are critical to preventing severe and critical cases. We forcefully expressed these concerns and have been assured that they will be addressed. We will continue to advocate for and demand a return to enhanced tracing.


This was the elephant in the room. Our exact words in our 15 June 2020 PR were:

“There is cause to suspect that the death numbers are being massaged.” We then gave one cause of the suspicion.

Both the GHS News Release and the Government COVID-19 team denied that the data was being massaged, claiming that rather, there had been a delay due to a verification process.

We vehemently disagreed, and we still question the science behind the GHS’ claim they it is verifying the ‘epidemiological condition’ of dead COVID-19 cases. We pointed out that this terminology served nothing but confusion, since the verification team in Accra was not doing any retesting or post mortem. Simply there is nothing to verify, outside a simple phone call to the people on the ground.

As we also pointed out, and as the Government COVID-19 team admitted, several of the deaths then not included in the national total, had occurred some two to three weeks before the President recently further eased restrictions. To us, that meant that as at the time the President was taking that decision and announcing it, both he and Ghanaians had been denied the full complement of the data and the true picture. It is entirely possible that had the full information been made available, the President’s decision and public reaction would have been different. We still consider the excuse of a delay due to a so-called verification, unacceptable and untenable, giving grounds to our expressed suspicion. These delays erode public confidence in the GHS’ data.

The meeting agreed that it should not take two weeks to verify the data. We were assured that the problem had been resolved and there would be more real-time updates. We will continue to monitor this.


We informed the meeting that Facilities that we contacted since our PR have indeed been supplied with some items this week. Although there are inadequate stocks of PPE in almost all facilities, we acknowledge efforts being made to improve the situation. We raised further questions on whether the front-liners are receiving their allowances and on time. We were assured that these would be looked into. Noted.


There was general acknowledgment, and it was indisputable that the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions’ holding and treatment centres had run out of spaces, and we expressed our surprise there was an effort to deny that. While it may be true that some 21 centres are lying idle in other areas, we asked if there was a plan to move patients from the epicentres to the idle centres. We were assured that that would be looked into. Noted.


We appreciate that the situation with COVID-19 is fluid and changing all the time. We appreciate the hard work that those in charge and in the frontline are doing. We are all concerned about the welfare of our fellow citizens. We appreciate the challenges. But those challenges and the full, unvarnished story must be told plainly and bluntly to the authorities. Those in authority will not and should not be offended by being shown the true picture. We believe that those in authority seek the best for the rest of us, and that showing them exactly what is on the ground, will only make them better.

Once again, although we could not agree on the answers provided and explanations made to all the issues raised, we acknowledge the good faith shown by the GHS and the government team, especially for opening the door for future engagement between them and us.

There surely will be further engagement.

For God and Country




15th June 2020



The outbreak of COVID-19 surprised many leaders around the world. Several had to institute lockdowns in major parts of their countries to stem the spread of the virus. However, this led to massive economic downturns in their countries. To deal with this reality, several leaders have opened their countries up again and are countenancing an express or implied policy of ‘Living with the Virus.’


We acknowledge the initial successes that the government has had with containing the spread of COVID-19 within Ghana, which has even attracted the favourable attention of some international commentators. However, we should not be lulled into a false sense of security.

Ambulances are not showing up when people call 112. Tests are delayed on account of suspected depletion in reagents, short staffing etc. There’s a complete lack of candour from officialdom on infections. A good case in point is the real possibility that there is an outbreak of COVID-19 among parliamentarians and yet that fact is being hidden and all we get are conflicting statements and behaviour that is not in line with how to deal with this disease.

The case count is growing steadily by the day – about 200 to 300 new cases per day. At the last count, we had 7652 confirmed active cases even though that number could be higher (the total number of confirmed cases is 11,964.)

There is cause to suspect that the death numbers are being massaged. The reported 54 deaths so far cannot be right. For instance, even though 38 deaths have been reported from the Ashanti Region alone, less than 20 of those deaths are included in the national count!

If the public suspects under reporting etc, there will be a loss of trust in the reporting system and that will have consequences that will influence public behavioural responses.

Several healthcare workers have been infected and some have died, sadly. This points to the sad fact that our doctors and nurses and frontline health workers do not have adequate PPE. Our holding and treatment facilities are running out of space and just a few days ago, the Special Advisor on Health at the Presidency lamented the fact that we do not have enough critical care staff. We also do not have enough critical care beds.

Hospitals are getting overwhelmed with spill overs of designated areas for suspected and confirmed cases into emergency rooms and wards otherwise not assigned. The result of this, with delays in getting test results, is a desperate attempt to shorten hospital stay and increase availability of bed space by discharging patients before the post-treatment test results. The unfortunate occurrence, which has led to some being discharged with their repeat tests coming back positive after their discharge. This is disheartening and should not be allowed as we seek to fight this pandemic with professionalism and integrity.

Contact tracing is not being done at the levels needed anymore. The government must answer allegations that because contact tracers were paid GHS70 instead of the promised GHS150 per day, they have walked out. The result is that there isn’t much contact tracing going on at the moment.

And yet we, Ghanaians, are not doing the things that have been shown to reduce the spread of the disease – no physical or social distancing and an unwillingness to wear face masks. Even elected and other high-ranking government officials are guilty of this. The country’s success in suppressing the spread of this disease was due in part to the early and aggressive lockdown strategy, minimising the opportunity for transmission of the disease in strategic areas. If the lockdown is not economically feasible, should we not be pursuing other measures that reduce transmission and do not affect the economy as much?


Following that line of thought, is it a wise decision to reopen schools even if it is just for Forms 2 and 3 SHS, Form 3 JHS and final-year students in our tertiary institutions?

We acknowledge that to ensure social distancing, the President directed that JHS 3 classes are to comprise of a maximum of 30 students and SHS classes a maximum of 25 students. Prior to the students arriving, the schools are supposed to be fumigated and disinfected. Once the students arrive, each student, teacher and non-teaching staff are to be provided with re-usable face masks by the Ministry of Education.

Yet we worry about the wisdom and safety of this measure, looking at how fast the disease is spreading now. The belief that the virus does not affect children is false. Children and teenagers do get the disease and then spread it to adults who are more vulnerable. Also, the virus induces an inflammatory condition in children and teenagers that can be deadly.

Looking at the behaviour of the general Ghanaian population, how sure are we that the JHS and SHS students are going to wear their masks and social-distance not only in the classrooms but also when they leave the classrooms and in the dormitories? How good is personal hygiene going to be at a time when it is of utmost importance? For instance, are all schools going to be assured of the running water needed for the basic hand-washing protocol?

If we are not careful, these schools could turn into hotspots for disease transmission and the students could become super-spreaders.

Of course, students have been impacted by lockdown. Their learning has been affected, even where there are robust online and at-home lessons underway. But at this point in the school year, is it really worth the risk of reopening schools? If the whole aim is for them to finish their exams, can we put resources into getting students to take these exams online? How about students being given time-bound extended essays and/or open book examinations to write at home? How about combining all of those with continuous assessment grades to arrive at a final exam score for all such students?

We are asking these questions because we do not think that the need to get the students to be physically present for exams is worth the risk of having the disease break out in our schools. We are not convinced that if students get sick in schools, there are adequate resources to test and treat them.


If the government has decided to pursue a policy of ‘living with the virus,’ then the healthcare system and the population should be prepped for this. Let’s just remember that Sweden tried the method and has one the highest levels of deaths per million in the world.

We acknowledge the renewed emphasis on enforcing social distancing and the wearing of masks. This should be across the board and must include all government officials. They have to lead by example.

Large social gatherings should be continued to be banned.

We should re-dedicate resources into testing and contact tracing.

Recent studies have shown that not all patients who get severely ill need ventilators. We should invest in cheaper non-invasive oxygen therapy solutions.

Also, the use of convalescent plasma has been shown to reduce mortality. The Ministry of Health should start an aggressive push to harvest and store plasma from recovered patients.

At the start of this outbreak, Ghana showed the world that we could do a lot with the little we had. This took resolve and great leadership. We should not lose that now when the stakes may be much higher.

For God and Country




29th March 2020



Pressure group, OccupyGhana® and local company IT Consortium Ltd have teamed up with the Ghana Association of Doctors in Residency (GADOR) to raise funds to acquire Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) to assist doctors and other health professionals across the country in the COVID-19 pandemic fight.

GADOR’s project seeks to assist in the protection of its members and other frontline HCWs by creating an avenue to complement government’s efforts and improve availability and accessibility of PPEs, which are currently in short supply at the facility level, but is required in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

At a brief ceremony this morning, OccupyGhana® presented the sum of GHS 20,000 to GADOR as seed fund for the fund-raising effort and some boxes of PPE. IT Consortium Ltd, which is providing the electronic platform for cash contributions (through the short codes *887*2# and *887*10#) also donated the sum of GHS 10,000 as seed fund.

At the same ceremony, two other individuals Prof Nana Kofi Quakyi (on behalf of his family, the Milkani family, and SOS HGIC Class of 2008) and Vice President of Imani Ghana, Selorm Brantie also made separate presentations to GADOR. In all GADOR received GHS30,000, 700 disposable gowns, 85 overalls and 50 N95 masks.

Receiving the items on behalf of GADOR, Dr Priscilla Kpodoh and Dr Florence Akumiah explained that GADOR is a sub-group of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), which represents doctors in residency training. They were grateful for the donations, which they said would greatly assist GMA’s efforts to address COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.

Speaking at the presentation, Mr James Addo said that OccupyGhana® considers it a civic duty to throw its support behind the fight against COVID-19. “We are aware of the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic; it is however important that as citizens, we also contribute our bit to the fight. GADOR’s request for our support coincided with our own discussions with IT Consortium Ltd on launching the electronic platform for contributions, and so this was a super opportune time to jump in and give our full support to this global fight,” he said.

Mr. Addo appealed to Ghanaians to help combat the disease. “We are in this together. In addition to complying with all the rules on social distancing and self-quarantine etc, our donations to and support for our heroic doctors and other medical professional in the frontline of this fight will go a long way to get our lives back to normalcy, quickly. Please call the short codes *887*2# and *887*10#, and make a donation of any amount,” he added.

In the Service of God and Country




1st March 2020



Since the very first patient reported to a hospital in Wuhan China on 1 December 2019, the COVID-19 virus has led to 87,586 confirmed infections and 2989 reported deaths worldwide as at 1 March 2020.

Wuhan in the Hubei Province in China is the epicentre of this outbreak that is reaching pandemic status and even though cases have been reported from 57 countries so far, China remains the country with the most cases and deaths.

In the last week or two, Iran, Italy and South Korea have reported an increasing number of cases too.

Until last week, no cases had been reported from countries in sub-Saharan Africa. However, that changed when an Italian travelled to Nigeria from Milan, Italy (the epicentre of the outbreak there) and was found to be positive for a COVID-19 infection. This shows that it is only a matter of time until cases are seen in Ghana too. With the amount of travel between countries in the sub-region and also between the region and Europe, we in Ghana are bound, sooner or later, to see cases.

That is why the country needs to be prepared if an outbreak should occur.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) recently released a paper detailing its degree of preparedness. The efforts to prepare for and deal with a possible outbreak of COVID-19 are being spearheaded by the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) with help from units like a Rapid Response Team (RRT). We commend all involved in those efforts. However, we cannot escape the fact that the nation’s health sector is weak and not well-resourced. This means that our preparedness for epidemics and/or pandemics may not be the most optimal. The 2019 Global Health Security Index, published by Johns Hopkins and the Nuclear Threat Initiative ranked Ghana 105th out of 195 on preparedness for epidemics and pandemics.

Notwithstanding these odds, Ghana has been able to deal with outbreaks like H1N1 influenza and cholera; so the ability is there.

Thus, where a possible COVID-19 outbreak is concerned, thought must be given to what to do when our resources are stretched to the maximum. There must be a Plan B. With this Press Release OccupyGhana® seeks to explore that.

In planning for a possible COVID-19 outbreak, OccupyGhana® suggests that Ghana considers the following variables:

1 – Surveillance;

2 – Containment;

3 – Prevention;

4 – Testing;

5 – Treatment;

6 – Coordination; and

7 – Finance.



Since COVID-19 started and is spreading outside Ghana, keeping an eye on travellers to Ghana from the countries with outbreaks of the virus is of utmost importance. The Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with the respective stakeholders is already monitoring travellers at our ports-of-entry. Since patients infected with the virus may not show symptoms in the first 14 days, the combination of temperature monitoring and the use of the health declaration form is a good idea. To ensure that surveillance at these ports-of-entry are done properly, the calibre of medical staff manning these health post must meet international standards.

In our places of work and worship, in our schools and universities, we should all be on the lookout for those who may appear ill and ask them to seek treatment or to self-quarantine.

Surveillance testing is another important yet expensive part of dealing with an outbreak. The Chinese surmised that COVID-19 could be circulating more broadly and undetected in the community, especially in patients with fever, flu-like or SARS-like symptoms. Thus, they tested broadly and widely, including all who showed these symptoms and those who presented to their fever clinics. In Guangdong Province, by 24 February 2020, 320,000 suspected cases had been tested. 420 patients tested positive, giving a yield of about 0.14%. Given our economic means, surveillance testing may not be feasible.


Quarantining those who are suspected of having the virus either because they travelled to a high-risk area and/or have had contact with a person with the virus is one of the best ways of preventing the spread of the disease. The only known quarantine centre we have is a 100-bed new hospital. Thought must be given to finding alternatives. Could finished but unused public housing be commandeered for this purpose? Other unused hospitals? What about tents or converted containers?

Another option is for patients to self-quarantine at home. This calls for a high level of discipline on the part of patients. Maybe law-enforcement could be used to ensure isolation is adhered to. The police and even the army may be necessary in those instances where whole communities or even towns may need to be isolated.


That can go a long way to reduce the contraction and spread of the virus. Enough cannot be said about personal hygiene including the washing of hands for at least 20 seconds and keeping a safe distance of at least 1 meter from persons with symptoms. The use of face masks by infected patients may reduce the spread of droplets when they cough or sneeze.

People who fall sick with symptoms that may be due to COVID-19 should consider not going to work, school or even church. They should avoid large gatherings.

In this, public education assumes a very important role. Constant education of the public through TV, radio and social media would be very helpful.

Events that call for large gatherings – funerals, church services, campaign rallies, sporting events – may need to be curtailed.

Ghana’s experience from the H1N1 epidemic in 2009 when the 1st confirmed case reported at a private clinic in Accra should teach us that the frontline primary care facilities could well be where the first case would be picked up. Private facilities are the first option for foreigners and this could be the route for community entry and transmission of COVID-19. Even preliminary checks by OccupyGhana®’s Medical Team suggest that preparedness at the front-line facilities is poor. Being prepared means making sure front-line clinics and polyclinics have the logistics and supplies needed to screen, catch and hold suspected cases until help is received from the Rapid Response Team. Currently, even though some training has been done, no additional support like Personal Protective Equipment has been made available at this level.

Several numbers have been made available for a hotline. Maybe there should be just one number made up of 3 easy-to-remember digits. Also, these numbers cannot be the personal phone numbers of medical personnel.


Testing is now being done at just two places – Noguchi Memorial Institute and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research. The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) should ensure that all frontline clinics know what to do when a patient shows up with symptoms suspicious of COVID-19 infection.

These clinics should have holding rooms for such cases. The personnel should also have protective gear that allows them take samples from the patient that the Rapid Response Team can then pick up. Having an easy-to-remember hotline number helps.


Tema General and Ridge hospitals have been designated as the two hospitals for isolating and treating these patients. Four other facilities (Ga East, Police, LEKMA and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospitals) have been identified as additional facilities to support case management.

However, are these isolation and treatment centres ready and able to accept and manage confirmed cases? Do they have adequate stocks of oxygen, ventilators and other vital equipment? We were surprised to learn that until a few days ago, Tema General Hospital had no running water. We were also shocked to learn about how Korle Bu Hospital, a designated support centre for COVID-19 buckled under when its lack of readiness was exposed by 2 suspected cases. How can we trust that these designated centres are up to the task?

COVID-19 can lead to severe pneumonia and even Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). These complications call for intubation and ventilation in the intensive care setting. Ghana has very few ventilators nationally. The health system could get very overwhelmed quickly if there is an outbreak of COVID-19. Without an acute expansion of our intensive care capabilities in the next few days, we need to realise that not everyone who will need life support is going to get one. So, for the future we urge the government to expand our intensive care capabilities and also set up at least 1, preferably 2 specialised hospitals for Infectious Diseases management and research. These emergent viral diseases are here to stay.

Lastly, so as not to overload our already crowded medical facilities, those with mild symptoms should be advised to stay home. That will all depend on the level of education that is done.


The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) which was set up during the Ebola epidemic was dismantled after that outbreak died out. That should never have happened. Ghana is constantly buffeted by infectious disease outbreaks and the ability to deal with them on a large scale should be maintained at all times. However, per the statement from the GHS recently, another EOC has been set up in the wake of COVID-19. Moreover, the Incident Commander of the EOC or a surrogate should maintain open lines of communication with the general public. It helps inform, diffuse anxiety and counter mis-information. There’s also the need to prepare a COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan now and explore access mechanisms as WHO has already deemed Ghana to be among the high-risk African countries.


Government initially declared an emergency provision of GHS2.5m for COVID-19 preparation. Subsequently, the MOH/GHS EOC estimated a budget of about GHS35m. It is understood that an initial GHS2.5m is in the pipeline. The slow pace of MOH/GHS mobilisation is very worrying as COVID-19 is a global emergency.

In conclusion, although Ghana may not be as prepared as a lot of developed nations, OccupyGhana® believes that if we consider the above, use our resources well, think outside the box and figure out alternatives, we might just avert a disaster should there be a COVID-19 outbreak.

In the Service of God and Country



17th NOVEMBER, 2019



Last year, the direness of medical care in Ghana was heightened significantly after several high-profile deaths due to a lack of beds in our hospitals and/or lack of a functioning emergency response system.

In the brouhaha that followed these deaths, OccupyGhana® and Citi FM petitioned the President on 27th July, 2018, to among other things, complete and operationalise several uncompleted hospitals, set up a bed management and a functioning emergency response system. Regarding the emergency response system, we did not only ask for ambulances and paramedics but we especially noted the need for the establishment of a Command Centre to coordinate and direct the supply of emergency services. We saw that as the first step in setting up an emergency response service.

In the year since then, a few of the hospitals have been completed but not fully operationalised. According to the Special Development Initiatives Ministry, 500 paramedics are being trained and due to graduate soon. The government has taken delivery of 48 ambulances out of 307 that have been budgeted for. However, since their arrival several weeks ago, they have been parked in front of the State House. Also, contrary to what the President promised last year, there is still no Command Centre. We also do not know the status of the bed management system.

Like most Ghanaians, OccupyGhana® wonders why in light of the fact that the country has so few working ambulances, these new ambulances would be left idling before the State House instead of being out in the constituencies being used to save lives. In a recent interview, even the Public Relations Officer of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) had no idea when the ambulances would be released by the government for deployment.

Finally, we heard this last Friday from the Minister of Health who said that distribution was delayed because the ambulances were being received in batches. More clarity came from the Special Development Initiatives Ministry which gave a rough timeline of when the ambulances will be deployed and why they are still parked in front of the State House. Three of the steps being taken deserve further consideration. According to the ministry the ambulances have not been deployed because:

– they are being fitted with trackers;

– receiving points are being set up; and

– paramedics are still being trained.

We can excuse the fitting of the trackers. We can even excuse the training of the paramedics. But what cannot be excused is the lack of receiving points for these ambulances.

In emergency care, the stepwise care of the critically ill or injured goes by algorithms that are known as the “ABCDs.” They are important because following them leads to the saving of lives.

In establishing an emergency service, that same order is needed to prevent chaos. Ambulances are a very important part of an emergency response service but even more important are the receiving points or what we termed “Command Centres” in our petition to the president a year ago. Once you have that, the pieces that make up an emergency response service are easier to arrange as you get them. If we had a Command Centre, we would have been ready even before the ambulances arrived. Instead, these ambulances are gracing the courtyard of the State House in all their splendour. They have become eye candy for a desolate populace whose voices precipitated a rapid acquisition of these ambulances.

This demands us to ask these very pertinent questions:

– Are there plans afoot to set up a central command centre or is the national Ambulance Service going to be the de facto Command Centre?

– Are these receiving points going to be command centres or just places where the ambulances are housed?

– Is there a bed management in place to allow the ambulance drivers to take patients to facilities that have available beds?

– Will the ambulances be equipped with suitable mapping technology to help them find patients?

– What plans have been made for constituencies with no hospitals? Where will their emergency cases go?

We did applaud the government for its response in making these ambulances available in the first place. But we equally express our disappointment that the ambulances since arrival have been inactive. Thus, we ask these questions because these ambulances just sitting there while people are dying, is a mark of gross irresponsibility and paints a vivid picture of lack of completeness in the thinking that went behind acquiring the ambulances in the first place.

It is enshrined in the Constitution, Article 34(2) that the citizenry has a Right to Good Health Care. How does parking the buses in front of the State House ensure that?

We rallied behind the President to his clarion call to be citizens. We will not settle to be spectators, especially to parked ambulances. Accordingly, we demand answers and no excuse but prompt and immediate action.

Yours in the service of God and Country


OccupyGhana® Presents An 11-Point Plan For A Comprehensive Emergency Response System In Ghana

OccupyGhana® Presents An 11-Point Plan For A Comprehensive Emergency Response System In Ghana

17th JUNE 2018



OccupyGhana® joins the nation in grieving for Mr. Anthony Opoku Acheampong, reportedly refused care at seven hospitals in Greater Accra, due to the phenomenon of “no beds.” His desperate family watched him die in a car in front of Lekma Hospital in Teshie, in the early hours of 10 June 2018.

That, by all standards, is utterly unacceptable. It is also inhumane and goes against every ounce of human dignity and respect for life enshrined in the Constitution of the Fourth Republic. Unfortunately, Ghana’s media is rife with such stories.

OccupyGhana® believes that this “No Beds” excuse is a cowardly cop-out, hiding a much deeper problem assailing Ghana’s healthcare system.

While it may be true that a hospital like Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, which receives the bulk of emergency cases, may suffer from lack of beds, that does not wash where some of the smaller and private hospitals are concerned.

There may be a variety of reasons for hospitals to turn patients away, legitimate or illegitimate. These can include:

  • a true unavailability of beds;
  • lack of the expertise to deal with emergencies due to (i) lack of medical personnel, (ii) medical personnel with inadequate experience to treat said emergency (e.g. trauma) and/or (iii) lack of necessary equipment;
  • the unwillingness of medical personnel to put in the time and effort to help patients;
  • the fear that the emergency case will take up much-needed resources for a long time in smaller hospitals;
  • the fear that the patient would be unable to pay for the care given; and/or
  • the fear that sub-optimal care given in sub-optimal conditions could lead to a bad outcome and lawsuits against the medical facility and personnel.

But none of these gets at the core issue.

The appalling reality in Ghana today is that the country has no functioning and coordinated Emergency Response System. People who need emergency care simply cannot call for help. Even if they can reach a health facility by telephone, there are only 54 – yes, FIFTY-FOUR – ambulances covering a nation of almost 30 million people.

Ghanaians have no choice but to transport their ill loved ones in cars or taxis looking for a hospital where they will be accepted. We see them in traffic almost every day. The apparently callous reluctance of Ghanaians to get out of the way may be as much due to our selfishness, as it may be due to the public not recognising a taxi blowing its horn as an emergency. It may also be due to the indiscriminate and irritating use of sirens especially by politicians.

In such a scenario, most hospitals could be overwhelmed by emergency cases or even surprised by cases that are uncommon in that facility. It is also quite possible that a lot of time is lost until the right hospital is found or a hospital found with beds, further decreasing survival chances of patients.

There is an immediate need for a functioning and co-ordinated Emergency Response Service with a simple telephone number that every Ghanaian can remember. A recent poll shows that only 5% of the population is currently aware of the emergency number for an ambulance.

The Emergency Response Service should connect the caller to a Command Centre set up to direct calls to an ambulance service that is in touch with all medical facilities, and connect to the police, the fire service and NADMO.

OccupyGhana® calls for an immediate action plan to be drawn up by Government to prepare an Emergency Response Service fit for a 21st Century Ghana, within two years. The following points must be included and fully-funded:

  1. An Emergency Response Service with a Command Centre that fields calls, receives data from the hospitals about bed counts and is able to send out ambulances and paramedics to assist, stabilize and if needed transport patients to appropriate hospitals. One simple emergency number is what we need;
  2. All hospitals should be able to care for emergency cases, but in the meantime, designate some hospitals as “Fit to Handle Emergencies;”
  3. Government must shore up the NHIS to allow for every Ghanaian to be given emergency care irrespective of the ability to pay;
  4. Hospitals designated as “Emergency Hospitals” should be equipped properly, including the ability to give Triage care. Equipping hospitals also means making sure they are well stocked with needed emergency drugs. This prevents delays in care that occur as family members go around town hunting for drugs to buy so that their loved ones can be treated in emergencies;
  5. There should be more community hospitals that can provide immediate basic primary and preventative care;
  6. The law should prevent hospitals turning patients away without proper reason and a strategy for dealing with that patient’s care in another facility. Facilities and personnel who refuse to offer care to patients with life-threatening conditions should face sanctions;
  7. All doctors and nurses should be trained to stabilise to a basic level emergency patients, irrespective of the availability of beds and full emergency facilities;
  8. Even though lack of beds is not the only factor contributing to the refusal of care to sick Ghanaians at our hospitals, it is an important contributory factor. In a country where in-patient care still trumps out-patient care for a lot of ailments, having 0.9 patient-beds per 1000 people is on the low side. There are several unfinished hospitals like the UGMC that could add much-needed beds to the total count and alleviate some of the pressure. Even though we support the numerous calls to open these hospitals expeditiously, we also call on government to put in place mechanisms to optimize bed usage in the existing ones or else we would simply have more hospitals that refuse care because of “No Beds;”
  9. Enough paramedics should be trained to be help stabilize and transport emergency cases to hospitals;
  10. There should be programs to educate the population on how to differentiate a true emergency from an illness that can be treated non-emergently. A good triaging system as part of an emergency response service should go a long way to help with this; and
  11. Last but not least, we ask for sufficient ambulances to cover a population of 30 million.

We are mindful of the economic challenges posed by this proposal. But that is no excuse. If Ghana can afford hundreds of government 4×4 vehicles and police escort riders to push them through traffic, then Ghana can afford adequate ambulances to deal with emergencies, AND address our list of points made here.

The tragic and unnecessary death of Mr. Anthony Opoku Acheampong is already blood on our hands. Let us not indict ourselves further; this should be the catalyst for finally building a Ghanaian healthcare service of which we can all be proud.

It is time for Ghana to have a 21st Century Emergency Response System. It is time for the government to ensure this, for medical personnel across the country to deliver the best version of it and for the Ghanaian population to demand it as of right.

Yours in service of God and Country.