PAUSE VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE TO PREVENT MORE COVID-19 DEATHS – HEALTH PROFESSIONALS TO EC

Pause the mass registration, figure out safer ways of carrying it out and prevent Ghana from suffering potentially thousands of deaths or continue with the exercise in this form and be remembered by posterity as a leader who supervised an exercise that allowed for the loss of multiple lives.

• The health professional comprising doctors, nurses, lab technicians among others, and numbering 221, had earlier petitioned the EC cautioning against the rollout of the mass registration for  Voter ID cards over fears of COVID-19 death hikes.



Some health professionals in the country have written to the Electoral Commission asking the electoral management body to pause the ongoing voter registration exercise until safer ways of conducting the exercise are identified to prevent further spread of COVID-19.


According to them, suspending the exercise will help prevent needless Coronavirus deaths in the country.

“Pause the mass registration, figure out safer ways of carrying it out and prevent Ghana from suffering potentially thousands of deaths or continue with the exercise in this form and be remembered by posterity as a leader who supervised an exercise that allowed for the loss of multiple lives,” the group said in its letter to the commission.


The health professional comprising doctors, nurses, lab technicians among others, and numbering 221, had earlier petitioned the EC cautioning against the rollout of the mass registration for  Voter ID cards over fears of COVID-19 death hikes.


According to them, the blatant disregard for the Coronavirus safety protocols in the exercise is inimical to the current public health crisis in the country.


In their second open letter to the EC, the health professionals say the Commission must rethink the compilation of the new register for the 2020 polls.


“We are by this letter appealing to your good self to pause this mass registration exercise until your commission comes up with a safer way of going about this registration. That will prevent the almost inevitable rise in COVID-19 cases, with its attendant increases in morbidity and mortality and will position you firmly on the right side of history, as a public official who chose to prevent needless deaths. We would entreat you to treat this correspondence with a lot of thought and measured reflection, thinking rightly about the primacy of life before any other considerations”, the letter said.


The Electoral Commission began processes to compile a new voters register for the 2020 general elections on June 30, 2020.


The exercise which is being held nationwide will end on August 6, 2020.


Few days after the exercise began, there have been concerns over the lack of social distancing and total disregard for COVID-19 safety protocols.


Despite calls for the exercise to be halted due to the increasing COVID-19 figures, the EC remains adamant.


Here is the full letter:


THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF GHANA RIDGE-ACCRA GHANA


July 6, 2020


ATTN: MRS. JEAN MENSA CHAIRPERSON, THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF GHANA

Dear Madam,


A SECOND OPEN LETTER TO GHANA’S ELECTORAL COMMISSION: CONCERNS ABOUT A SURGE IN NEW COVID-19 CASES AND MORTALITIES RESULTING FROM THE MASS REGISTRATION EXERCISE


We have noted with concern, the utter disregard for precautionary protocols intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, in and around registration centers.


We wish to reiterate our arguments, made in an open letter to you, dated June 24,2020. In that letter, we provided multiple reasons why massing up people for the purpose of getting onto the electoral roll could lead to an increase in the infection rates and the number of deaths from the much-dreaded COVID-19. The response from officialdom was that all public health protocols and precautions against COVID-19 will be adhered to.


Unfortunately, ongoing events across the country have confirmed our worst fears. Considering the increasing number of infections coupled with challenges in testing for early identification of cases, it is disquieting to observe huge numbers of people at and around registration centers mostly ignoring precautionary protocols.


Indeed, we are aware of at least one incident of a person in full knowledge of his positive status, visiting registration centers and risking public health and safety. This is inimical to our fight against the pandemic and threatens to eliminate whatever successes we have chalked so far. These and many other reasons make it unconscionable that your commission ignores all caution and still proceeds with this exercise.


We will also take this opportunity to caution your good office about the consequences of a continuous rise in COVID- 19 cases on our already-wobbly health system. Reports indicate that the capacity of our isolation and holding centers have been stretched beyond limits by our increasing case count. Several hundreds of healthcare workers have been infected so far. Data from Ghana Health Service show that up to 25% of our reported COVID-19 cases were detected in the last month alone, a rather worrying indication of our worsening position as a country. The specific impacts of a continuous rise in COVID-19 cases on our already-wobbly health system would include, but are not limited to the following:


1. Intense pressure on all building blocks of all our health system. The sub-effects of this include:

a. A significant reduction in the number of effective health workers available to render preventive, curative, and rehabilitative care for patients. This will occur because the already high number of infected health workers is likely to remain on that trajectory, with a concomitant increase in the number of deaths from COVID-19 if care is not taken. In addition, a higher number of specialist staff would be required to take care of the  ever-increasing number of “sick people” with COVID-19 leading to even fewer health workers available to treat non- COVID-19 conditions.


b. Increasing pressure on our already inadequate health infrastructure. Already, many facilities are running out of bed space for not only COVID-19 patients, but also people seeking care for other conditions. The resultant effect of this will be that patients would be turned away from health facilities, with accompanying increases in morbidity and mortality. We do not want a worsening of the “no bed syndrome” in the middle of this pandemic.


c. A deterioration of health service delivery, owing to factors such as missed appointments, increasing stigma and self-medication with a decline in health outcomes. Many people we have interacted with have declined to go on their mandated reviews and have resorted to self-medication. This will potentially lead to complications and death, due to non-COVID-19 causes.


2. Increasing morbidity and mortality, with attendant reduction in productivity. We have been informed of precautions your commission intends to take to minimize new infections. We respectfully submit that given the high levels of excitement generated during political activity, these will not be complied with. The first week of the exercise and the recent nationwide NPP primaries are a cautionary tale of what will transpire if our well-intentioned admonition is ignored. Hundreds of people massed up at multiple locations, ostensibly oblivious of the danger of close contact. We are reliably informed that several people who took part in this exercise have tested positive for COVID-19, with at least one death in the Ashanti region of Ghana.


We are by this letter appealing to your good self to pause this mass registration exercise until your commission comes up with a safer way of going about this registration. That will prevent the almost inevitable rise in COVID-19 cases, with its attendant increases in morbidity and mortality and will position you firmly on the right side of history, as a public official who chose to prevent needless deaths. We would entreat you to treat this correspondence with a lot of thought and measured reflection, thinking rightly about the primacy of life before any other considerations.


At this juncture, two choices lie before you: 1. PAUSE the mass registration, figure out safer ways of carrying it out and prevent Ghana from suffering potentially thousands of deaths or 2. CONTINUE with the exercise in this form and be remembered by posterity as a leader who supervised an exercise that allowed for the loss of multiple lives.


(Vetted and confirmed list of health workers who signed this petition, more complete list is available upon request) 1. Dr. William Menson 2. Dr. Gameli Aheto 3. Dr. Enyam Woanyah 4. Dr. Ernest Smith-Aidoo 5. Dr. Dennis Bortey 6. Dr. Eli Boni 7. Dr Nene Vishnu Snr. 8. Dr. Joojo Nyamekye-Baidoo 9. Dr. Rebecca Hosi Abalo 10. Dr. CHRISTOPHER KOMBAT 11. Dr. George Akwetey 12. Dr. Baybuah Bingy 13. Dr. Maamette Appiah 14. Dr. Anthony Eshun 15. Dr. Marie Stella Essilfie 16. Dr. Koma S Jehu-Appiah 17. Dr. Pius Essandoh 18. Dr. Melvin Agbogbatey 19. Dr. Adjoa Ofei 20. Dr. Abena Adjavon 21. Dr. Roma Garner 22. Dr. Akosua Asiedu-Asante 23. Dr. Sylvester Mensah 24. Dr. Alex Vico-Korda 25. Dr. Benjamin Boafor 26. Dr. Michael Sena Akabua 27. Dr. Caleb Odotei 28. Dr. Isaac Aboagye-Marfo 29. Dr. Jacqueline Anita Sowah 30. Dr Daniel Alifoe 31. Dr Anne Interkudzi 32. Dr. Risch Appiah 33. Dr. Bernard Toboh 34. Dr. Caleb Allotey 35. Dr. George Mante 36. Dr Owusu Ralph 37. Dr Philip Sanjok 38. Dr. Albert Agbi 39. Dr Happiness Mikado 40. Dr Emmanuel O Kponor 41. Dr. Godwin Opuni 42. Dr. Kwame Afram 43. Dr. Sheilla Ansah 44. Dr. Michael Yajachie 45. Dr Sarah Braimah 46. Dr Abena Tannor 47. Dr F A Nana Prempeh 48. Dr. Makafui Yigah 49. Dr. Worlanyo Siale 50. Dr. Jonathan Zobi 51. Dr. Mohammed Rabiu Abdulai 52. Dr. Eugene Odoi 53. Dr Benjamin Goka 54. Dr. Zaher Safadi 55. Dr Abigail Mensah 56. Dr Felix Sarpong 57. Dr Esme Siriboe 58. Dr Bernard Petershie 59. Dr Theophilus Amoatey 60. Dr Elorm Daketsey 61. Dr Jemima Alemonai 62. Dr Sefakor Doe 63. Dr Anna Oduro 64. Dr Faustina Amable 65. Dr John-Paul Omuojine 66. Dr Abdallah Yussif 67. Dr Anthony Sallah 68. Dr Ivan Dodd 69. Dr Henry Akakpo 70. Dr Ruth Clottey 71. Dr Nana Agyemang 72. Dr Senanu Kpekpo 73. Dr. Edna Dasoberi Samani 74. Dr. David Gobapen 75. Dr. Tobias Ninnang 76. Dr. Daniel Sottie 77. Dr. Eric Tseklu 78. Dr Anita Nagetey 79. Dr Ransford Asante 80. Dr Dunstan Akolbire 81. Dr Priscilla Kabutey 82. Dr Huberta Ewusie-Mensah 83. Dr. Emmanuel Aleser 84. Dr. Kofi Amoah 85. Dr Baffour Otchere 86. Dr. Dennis Appiah Bolfrey 87. Dr Anthony Avoka 88. Dr Mohammed Kudus 89. Dr Janet Opare 90. Dr Zoe Brew- Riverson 91. Dr Freda Boateng 92. Dr Philemon Andoh 93. Dr Raphael Tufuor 94. Dr. Albert Sedohia 95. Dr. Eugene Martey 96. Dr Kwasi Ofori-Anti 97. Dr Sabina Esi Parry 98. Dr Kwaku Denu 99. Dr Esther Asante 100. Dr Charles Sosu 101. Dr Supriya Wassima 102. Dr James Amoyaw Quashie-Sam 103. Dr. Edinam Lumor 104. Dr. Anastasia Bruce 105. Dr Michelle Korang Ampadu 106. Dr Pearl Obeng 107. Dr Lorraine Baffour-Awuah , 108. Dr. Felix Addo 109. Dr Ewoenam Dekportor 110. Dr. Jeremiah Ankamah-Lomotey 111. Dr Joel Bondorin 112. Dr. Juliana Unicorn 113. Dr. Ike Asiedu 114. Fati Mahmoud Wattigi 115. Florence Oyeh 116. Joseph Agbetsise 117. Yvonne Nutsugah 118. Fuseini Abdul-majeed 119. Festus Azaglo 120. Duut Suuk Dynamic 121. Seyram Lino 122. Cleopatra Maddy 123. Elijah Acquah 124. Alex Tony-Aidoo 125. Jeremiah Adjei 126. Foster Konlan 127. Ekow Kuntu-Blankson 128. Livingstone Dablu 129. Erica Buadii 130. Ishmael Kuka 131. Mary Buxton 132. Lorna Lartey 133. Nana Akua Asante 134. Hafsatu Mohammed Awal 135. Albert Ahli 136. Naa Ayele Hammond 137. Lily Quaynor 138. Khardel Essandoh 139. Wendy Eyiah-Mensah 140. Cassandra Odum 141. Wendolyn Etse 142. Priscilla Mawutor Groponie 143. Martha Ackah-Blay 144. Ayibasa Michael 145. Dina Woode , 146. Yvone Berks 147. Priscilla Ansah-Abedi 148. Wilhelmina Brown 149. Agnes Achana 150. Cynthia Akli-Nartey 151. Barbara Garbrah 152. Cynthia Lamisi Adongo 153. Seidu Kamal 154. Courage Kwame-Kumah 155. Nana Kofi Owusu 156. Theresa Barnes 157. Dorcas Gyesi 158. Perry Nelson 159. Robert Quagraine 160. Michael Abalo 161. Christian Debrah 162. Benjamin Adevu 163. Linda Kedze 164. Grace Etrue Selby 165. William Assan 166. Kwaku Manu 167. Julius Kingslove 168. Joel Anaman 169. Naa Ayele Hammond 170. Eugenia Lewu 171. Hannah Acquah 172. Victor adatsi 173. Dennis Ansah 174. Maryam Yakubu 175. Clara Paintsil 176. Mawuli Adzasoo 177. Kofi Ekuban 178. Henry Akpaloo 179. Joe Delasie 180. Mary Agamah 181. Ben Idun 182. Rukiatu Giwah 183. Adjoa Quaicoe 184. Ali Vaaru Ballu Nuhhu 185. Lawrencia Law 186. Paul Ayiku 187. Daniel Darko 188. Clement Awinbil 189. Laila Babayara 190. Aloysius Ali Angliengmene 191. Maximous Diebieri 192. Enoch Lamptey 193. Mr Issah Sumaila 194. Mr Joshua Kunfah 195. Efua Biney 196. Moses Kofi Woli 197. Nana Bonsu 198. Robert Adedze-Kpodo 199. Grace Armah 200. Henrietta Nettey 201. Janine Vowotor 202. Marian Mensah 203. Nicholas Suglo 204. Josephine Kwaw 205. Francis Sanyare, PhD 206. Herbert Henry Krakue 207. Patrick Bumekpor-Sededzi 208. Josephine Adjepong 209. Timothy Baidoo 210. Leonard Vidogah 211. Alexis Banie 212. Alexander Noi 213. Deborah Munyuhitum 214. Gifty Doe 215. Konadu Kwarteng 216. Samuel Sinkari 217. Stephen Avoka 218. Eugenia Yalevu 219. Joseph Otchere 220. Mohammed Sadat Baba 221. George Taanan Jilignul





Credit to Source: Citi News Room

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