Pause voter registration exercise to prevent more COVID-19 deaths – Health professionals to EC

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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.

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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.

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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

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