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KalashniBlog, TattleBlog
At the time of ‘going to press’, the entire African continent had 5,261 confirmed cases of the coronavirus pandemic and 174 deaths. 335 victims have recovered. A total 7 countries have no viruses at all. Until an hour ago Sierra Leone was free (it now has its index case and has closed its borders for 30 days for it). Burkina Faso (246) leads the Ivory Coast (168) and Senegal (162) as the top three in West Africa.

Ghana is in a comfortable 4th position with confirmed cases standing at 161 with 5 deaths. Of this number, 44.7 percent of all cases are community spreads (or what the Ghana Health Service refers to as ‘Routine Surveillance’), while 55.3% were detected after the President shut down the country’s borders and ordered the mandatory quarantine of all entrants. It is possible that a full half of community infections could have been avoided if the President had ordered the border shutdowns a week before, and only a tenth of cases would have been recorded if he had shut down the borders after his arrival from Switzerland. Total homecare (recovery) cases are 49. There’s no doubt that the total number of infections would be 1,000 without the mandatory quarantine instituted, but we cannot hope that the numbers stay that way.

For mandatory quarantine, and barring any truth to bribery and extortion rumours that celebrities and politicians are paying their ways out of mandatory quarantine, we can be certain that the rate of confirmed infections will not exceed 30 percent of the quarantined population. All our fears are rightly for community infections, the progression arithmetic that Italy, Spain, the United States, Iran and South Africa (Africa’s COVID 19 League Table Leader at 1,326 confirmed cases) are currently experiencing. When Ghana’s routine surveillance or community infections exceed 50%, we will be in deepshit country because that is exactly when our rates will be aiming to make a dash for peak levels.

This is why this Jungle Boy and a duo of frontliners have teamed up to bring you this special worst-case scenario for examination. Our worse-case pandemic scenario starts with 250 community infections. The GHS and the MOH need to have switched from a centralized to a decentralized management model at that point. This requires the conversion of the various constituencies as Clusters (CCs or Constituency Clusters). Each CC is a first responder center where suspicious cases can be reported. These CCs can run from a container shop or from a mobile kiosk. The cluster must consist of two nurses at the least, a medical doctor, and an ambulance purposely fitted to transport cases. The CC must be heavily protected for bio-hazard reasons, and must have more PPEs than the Korle has plastic, and a mobile telephone with a tracker. The CCs’ role in this fight is to serve as the first contact for probable cases in the constituencies and must be equipped with tools to assess a patient for signs of COVID-19. If we are lucky to have procured ABT.N COVID-19 test kits, then the testing could be done and the results found out in 5 minutes before the cluster transports the patient to Regional Clusters (RCs); a tented pavilion equipped with the necessary quarantine and treatment equipment that can be set up at regional sports stadia to receive patients from the CCs.

We don’t have the manpower and financial muscle to build new hospitals like the Chinese did; and we dare not overwhelm our current hospitals – they barely have the capacity to handle anything beyond what they are already doing in our misbegotten excuse for healthcare delivery in Ghana (don’t get us started on NHIA arrears). We may have to convert the Dome at the AICC into Accra’s RC though (we wanted to suggest Parliament House but we are feeling benevolent).

Ultimately, this proposed approach will eliminate prank calls (CCs require walk-ins), and allow better and meaningful coordination of the coronavirus fight in Ghana. It will lead to rapid responses to peaking cases, reduce the risks of overburdening regional and national hospitals and allow an efficient trace of cases. Food distribution, as well as exit permits from homes, can be managed through the CCs. Mass testing can also be done through these CCs like Germany has been doing. And if Chinese PPEs won’t come, let’s provide Ghanaian tailors with the materials they need to make facial masks for their communities. And this will work after government proceeds from oil and gas, cocoa, VAT, customs duties, remittances, and taxes from foreign consulates have all completely disappeared together with the $100m IMF cash. It might be difficult to pay public sector workers as well if this coronavirus issue persists for more than two months, which is why the President needs to be decisive at these times.

Trust us when we say that allowing peak infections will mess us up beyond our wildest imaginations; why do you think Sierra Leone is on lockdown over just one case? They know they are no Wuhan nor Madrid. Let’s get cranking, Mr. Government; before we all die. And we need to stop government appointees from peddling false hopes. We may have 400 ventilators as the President’s advisor on health posited, but we are of the candid opinion that these ambulance ventilators are incompetent for ICU use. Let’s therefore get the clusters to begin their work and we may prolong our peak deaths until antidotes are found. We need to prepare to have an Italy on our hands, folks while praying as hard as we can.

Happy Lockdown all the same!  

Contributors: Emmanuel Agyeman Joseph Kofi Asante JayJay D. Segbefia
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KalashniBlog
At the time the corona virus hit the European continent, President Akufo-Addo was on a 12-day tour of Europe. This led many social commentators to wonder whether the President needn’t be quarantined for 14 days on his return. A Norwegian diplomat to Ghana who was with the President’s entourage in Norway was the first to test positive for the virus a day after the president’s return. That same day, the president threw a stone that had formed a part of Jerusalem’s temple walls into the foundational pit and cut the sod for the commencement of construction of the ridiculous National Cathedral, a Cathedral we are building because of the president’s personal religious promise, and for which Ghanaian property have been destroyed.

The Cathedral is estimated to cost $100 million; the same amount the president ordered his finance minister to make available towards coronavirus preparedness efforts. Since then, it’s been a helluva roller coaster ride as Ghana confirms more and more cases. One patient has died, and the president has had to speak gravely to Ghanaians severally on national TV to assure the people that his government is on top of the issues, and to also encourage them to embrace publicized hygiene practices. Ghana has 24 confirmed cases to date and the rate of increase will keep growing. This is why the president’s addresses have been important. With absolute clarity, he has outlined the problem and justified his immediate, executive decisions to isolate affected persons and prevent large scale transmissions by closing down schools and universities and banning church and social gatherings beyond 25 persons. By attempting to limit movement of the broader Ghanaian population, and mandatorily quarantining people coming from affected nations, the president has unequivocally announced he is unafraid to do whatever it takes to keep Ghanaians safe.

While the president did not lack verbal clarity in his addresses, the gonads required to strictly enforce his drastic measures have seemed lacking. The National Identification Authority, headed by an academic that has until now been an authority on mob action and mob psychology, lacked the intellectual capacity and the good sense to understand that going ahead with Ghana Card mass registration exercises in the Eastern region flew in the face of the Commander-in-Chief’s direct orders banning mass gatherings. Government stooges immediately began to deploy PR photos of registrants sitting in accordance with W.H.O 2-metre distancing gaps, but social media remained unimpressed and responded with actual photos of the clusters of people in close proximity to each other in NIA sanctioned queues and booths.

It took the superior wisdom of a Court of Law to temporarily nip their senseless braggadocio in the bud, and immediately after, the NIA issued an offensive letter, revealing that the president’s directives were irrelevant where his reelection bid was concerned. By going ahead with eastern regional registrations, opinion leaders contended that the president was attempting to secure his second term in his party’s second stronghold at the expense of Ghanaian lives; one of a series of critical missteps and missed opportunities that might possibly increase the tally of coronavirus cases in the region if an infected person was among registrants.

While I am unhappy with the fragmented chain of command and the inconsistent messages comparing the president’s grasp of the problem and the NIA’s nonsense, I recognize that this president has the misfortune to make the toughest decisions a president of Ghana has ever made in peacetime, including the decision to lockdown the country in order to slow down community transmissions and flatten Ghana’s infection curve, which is currently higher than Italy’s was in the same number of days after first coronavirus confirmations. The president is screwed if he makes that call, and he is also screwed if he doesn’t make that call. In fact, while deciding between the calls, he is screwed in the waiting period. To understand his absolute screwage, we need to examine what exactly a lockdown in Ghana will look like, and why the president is probably taking his anxious time.

On average, a visitor to Ghana spends around GH¢41 ($7.38) per day. In Accra, the average Ghanaian spends GH¢14 ($2.50) on meals a day, and GH¢13 ($2.43) on trotro. When you add rent, water, electricity, internet and side chicks, there really isn’t enough to go around having three square meal supplies beyond 2 days without needing to restock. If you throw the pure water seller into the equation, you can’t lockdown Ghana beyond 6 hours a day. The president must clearly be worried about the economy taking huge hits from a lockdown in addition to the hits we are taking for falling oil prices.

Unlike the UK, and until the $100 million money arrives, government must be extremely worried about feeding people in a lockdown. Government cannot pay all of us; neither can it send a collapsed food distribution corporation to bring Ghanaians food in their homes. The fear of economic collapse is what likely fed the late closure of our borders and airport, and the fear of not being able to feed Ghanaians is what feeds into allowing businesses to continue to operate until lockdown. Without adequately answering these concerns, a lockdown will place curfews on hungry people. Before long, those people will revolt from not being able to feed their families and themselves and usher in an unrest that can quickly escalate the infection rate and mess up the economy.

Enforcing a lockdown requires the security agencies. The president couldn’t keep a rein on the miserable NIA. He would need to highly equip the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service before he can ask them to assume the all-out risk of enforcing a lockdown. Without appropriate gear, we might lose a full quarter of our security because the rate of spread to date of the coronavirus suggests that the years of health sector fuckery by governments and an incompetent NHI system will catch up to us by the time we hit 400 cases. These costs require careful thinking before lockdown enforcement. This is the reason we are asked to fast and pray because, to be honest, we will be overwhelmed faster than western countries have been, and while all the talk of sanitation will help, the vast majority of our people are too poor to make sense of the gravity of the situation and alter their lifestyles accordingly.

In spite of the above challenges, government needs to lockdown by Friday, March 27 or risk having an Italy on its hands. And these are the reasons, beginning with an address of the predicaments outlined above:

(1) While clearly broke and at risk of messing up the Ghanaian economy, a lockdown will provide pause for the government to assess organic compliance and estimate what level of preparedness to send enforcement troops in. Ultimately, people may comply with the strong suggestions, and government can then recommend only essential movements. This might remove the delay in imposing the needed restrictive measures without spending too much. The problem of food access for the poor and the need to thin down numbers in our markets can be cured if government operated shift systems in local markets. Indelible inks can cut down sellers’ numbers to one-fifth of total market capacity a day, and buyers will have only one day in a week to do their weekly shopping of basic foodstuffs. This means fencing markets and putting in incorruptible prefects.

(2) We do not have enough ICUs to wait to get to 100 infections because for every 100 we confirm, at least a thousand will be vectors. Already 24 confirmed cases is too much, and that line about a victim dying from underlying medical conditions is a load of crap. Dead is dead, so long as the person tested positive and, when folks begin to lose loved ones, confidence in medical competence will dwindle, forcing citizens to remain at home with their infections and under-report themselves to authorities.

(3) Government has sent mixed messages that will haunt it going forward if a lockdown isn’t immediately ordered. Silly hashtags calling for calm and the call of a secular state for religious prayers and fasts can only do so much in the beginning. But when infection numbers increase, the populace will correctly interpret those calls as cover-ups for gargantuan incompetence, and the legitimacy and intent of government will be called into question.

(4) A lockdown is required to protect vulnerable groups, especially the aged and people with chronic diseases. And that includes all the old people we have in the Jubilee House, Parliament House and in the Supreme Court.

(5) We do not have to lockdown indefinitely; we can lockdown intermittently or partially in order to reduce transmissions. Since urban centres are more at risk, we can ban all travel from the interior to epicentres. The Italian experience proves that we need to take bold steps to isolate the virus and the infected, and limit people’s movements around both immediately and with absolute conviction, and then strictly enforce compliance. 24 cases call for desperate measures, and it is action that will save us, not the ecstatic, unintelligible gibberish of tongues-speaking prayers and fasts.

🙁
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KalashniBlog
Sometimes I feel I am a total stranger in “this our country Ghana”. I spend three weeks of each month in the jungle so I tend to miss all the juicy nonsense that make the rounds in the news and on social media until the modin sane have gained full throttle.

Usually, one of my more perverse WhatsApp platforms would have discussed the issues, tried and passed judgment long before I find out what’s been going on. Catching up on a thousand chats can lead to bipolar deficiencies, I tell you, and nothing can generate lengthier chats than discussions of a sex tape gone viral.

Two particularly vile issues come to mind. The first concerns Abena Korkor, who came to some social media prominence when, while standing for election as president of the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), she circulated her own nude videos. The shock and awe she was expecting from exposing her body in those nudies backfired though. Her electoral dreams were incinerated beyond salvageable ashes by that singularly unwise move. More recently, she has made the social media list of modin sane by alleging to have been involved in over a hundred infractions of engaging in sexual activity for a fee, with more than two score men, over a dozen of whom would qualify as Ghanaian celebrities. Screen shots of her clearly-mentally-deranged confessions took over Facebook and WhatsApp alone for a week.

Then there was Afia Schwarzenegger, a media person with an acidic tongue and TV shows full of sickening sexual innuendoes unfit for the consumption of any society with its head screwed on properly. Her nude videos were circulated over ten million times, in which she was seen engaging in lewd acts with an unidentified partner under the threat of an acid bath. When the video was shared on one WhatsApp platform I belonged to, I absolutely refused to download the aberration, to speak less of distributing it. I wanted no part whatsoever in the production and dissemination of stupidity. Many phones would engage that video, but mine, and the resources of my time, phone and data was sworn to have no share in the trafficking of that particularly vile sex tape.

The summary descriptions of its content on various platforms and news media were enough to make me lose my breakfast on the prized Persian of my home floor. Whereas I may understand male perverts’ obsessions with sex tapes, nudity, and confessions of sexual exploits, I have a hard time understanding why females download sex tapes and sex scandals. Anyone with a teaspoon of moral brains in their heads know that the true victim of any leaked video of a fornicating duo is the woman. Why, then, were women on platforms the ones who more eagerly shared the videos and visited Abena Korkor’s wall looking for details of her many sexual partners? Surely, it wasn’t to find out if their husbands made the list, was it? Our obsession with these leaked sex tapes and nudies speaks to one thing, of course.

We are a society of sexual perverts. Other than porno addicts, what in goodness name is the fun and gratification in watching two people fornicating? Or, even worse, wasting internet resources in sharing those? There is no maxim more laughable in Ghana than the tag that we’re a Christian nation.

Apuu!

To think that Peter, James and John would have viewed and shared a sex tape – and that we belong to the same stock of faith as they did – is a more dire mental illness symptom than any bipolar hypersexuality. Shame on you! I am here not going to get into the argument of Afia Schwar’s and Abena’s mental state (my personal diagnoses is they belong to an asylum), but to get into the mental state of a country that celebrates sexual scandals and allied stupidity. We have a bestial curiosity towards the mundane, the sickening, the sexually explicit and the morbidly sheepish. That is the reason we share nude videos and share photos of the dead and dying. Can you believe we once even shared videos of toddlers attempting to have sex?

That, my friends, is who we are. A veritable bunch of perverts. Don’t let the tongues and church prayers fool anyone. One thing to note though. None of the intelligent WhatsApp groups I belong shared the videos or talked about them. None. And I’m not here talking about Church platforms where to post one would have been to incur the scathing holier-than-thou rebuke of Sister Michael and Brother Patience. I am talking here about platforms with men and women so professional and mentally acute that they feel it is an unforgiveable insult to waste the time of group members with such foolishness. Even after Abena had deleted her posts from off her Facebook wall, folks in the media and online apologies of news portals continued to feature her deleted posts as newsworthy.

Sick!

Let’s leave Afia and Abena well alone. There are no bigger, sicker perverts than us.

Gross!
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