113 Medical Doctors write to the EC to place lives over new voters’ register

One hundred and thirteen Medical Doctors write to the EC to place lives over new register:

THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF GHANA RIDGE -ACCRA
GHANA.

June 24, 2020

ATTN: MRS. JEAN MENSAH
CHAIRPERSON, THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF GHANA
Dear Madam,

AN OPEN LETTER TO GHANA’S ELECTORAL COMMISSION: MASS VOTER REGISTRATION WILL RESULT IN MASS DEATHS FROM COVID-19

We the undersigned healthcare practitioners mainly made up of medical doctors, nurses, laboratory professionals and other allied health personnel having keenly followed developments in our country in relation to COVID-19 together with our experiences as frontline actors, wish to provide some insights to guide your decision to conduct a mass voter registration exercise in the coming weeks. Our intent for writing this letter is not to contest your legal mandate to compile a voters’ register, but to share with your team the potential health dangers this proposed exercise may foist on the nation especially considering the recent wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths that continue to stretch the capacities of health care facilities; we are steadily reaching breaking point.

As healthcare providers, we are confronted on a daily basis with increasing counts of infected patients including the critically-ill, increasing number of deaths that show no signs of abating anytime soon and a general feeling of exasperation among the populace all against a background of our pre-existing mandate to provide care to all Ghanaians, whether infected with COVID-19 or not. We have never expected our work as health professionals to be easy, but neither do we expect it to be suicidal. We wish to advise that caution is exercised in undertaking any activity that has the potential to accelerate the spread of COVID-19. We believe the impending mass registration exercise falls in this category and has the potential to compromise the health and wellbeing of the population leading to unwanted pain, trauma, and possibly deaths as the past few days have shown. Our decision to write this letter is informed in no small measure by the following:

  1. Learning from previous mass registrations exercises in the country, we are worried that a mass voters’ registration exercise will promote the gathering of people in a manner that will inadvertently undermine the principles of social distancing and therefore facilitate the community spread of the disease. Voter registration is very important for our nation’s democracy and governance, but in our considered view, nothing can be prioritized over the sanctity of human life. The president was right when he said “What we do not know is how to bring people back to life”. Indeed, we cannot bring back the dead. It is this basic truth that we seek to re-echo, in lieu of preserving the lives of those governed as a first priority, and then all other things may follow. This is the essence of governance. You would agree that the voters’ registration exercise falls squarely in that category of “ALL OTHER THINGS”.
  2. We must collectively work to ensure all lives in Ghana are firmly secured and protected against the pandemic, and this requires us to resist the temptation to carry out any activities that can potentially cost us the very lives we work hard to protect and preserve. We are deeply worried that a mass registration exercise at this time and the resultant public gatherings that will ensue will lead to a relegation of the principles of social distancing, a key weapon in mitigating this pandemic. From a public health perspective, these gatherings will only serve as a channel for the spread of the disease through person to person contact as well as contact with contaminated surfaces. The anticipated clustering of polling stations will only serve to increase the likelihood of person to person contact triggering a new wave of infections. This is inevitable. We should remember that in a factory in Tema, one “super- spreader” was the source of up to 500 new infections. There are many super-spreaders who may turn up on registration day.
  3. Available records show that our country, Ghana is so far one of the worst affected cases of COVID-19. For instance, in the West-African sub-region, Ghana is only second to Nigeria in terms of absolute number of cumulative cases and mortality rate. As at the time of writing this letter, the Ghana Health Service records indicate a total case count of 14,568 with 95 deaths. In addition, our country is presently recording an average of over 200 COVID-19 cases daily with frightening consistency since the early part of June. The sudden rise of over 200% in the number of our citizens who have died from COVID-19 is indeed a worrying concern. These undoubtedly illustrate the depth of the quagmire our health care infrastructure is saddled with. It is our fervent hope that good science and healthy public policy will find a fruitful intersection as far as dealing with the pandemic is concerned. It is clear that our country is heading towards a major public health catastrophe with fatal ramifications for our nation if we don’t chart a different course.
  4. As frontline health workers, we have not been spared by this pandemic. We have lost worthy members of the fraternity including Professor Plange-Rhule, Dr. Harry Boateng, Nurse Sophia Addo, and many beloved Ghanaians to this disease. All loss of life is painful, but when it hits close to home it is a totally different experience. We share in the pain of all families which have lost their loved ones, particularly whilst performing their professional duties. We presently carry a heavy burden of guilt and fear. Guilt because such deaths leave us with a feeling that we did not do enough to protect our own colleagues; and fear because we worry that we may also succumb to this contagion in the performance of our duties.
  5. Currently, 25 doctors in Ashanti Region are infected by COVID-19 according to reports by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and over 100 nurses are infected in the same region. This situation closely mirrors what is going on in other regions.

Our commitment to saving the lives of our fellow citizens should not be taken to mean we are happy and willing to die in the course of our professional roles. It is against this background that we express deep worry that an activity such as the mass registration you seek to carry out will compromise the protocols spelt out to reduce transmission and rather promote community spread of the dreaded COVID-19 ultimately making the masses victims of this disease. Our lives as healthcare workers matter too, and our prayer is for you to re-consider your decision to conduct a new voters’ registration exercise.

  1. Our regular health infrastructure suffered from many vulnerabilities even before the advent of COVID-19, and the “new normal” for us is becoming unbearable. The treatment and isolation centers with their hard-working staff are particularly taking a heavy toll. Last week, the Ashanti Regional Director of Health indicated the shortage of beds in treatment and isolation centers.

There have been reports of some of our colleague contact-tracers abandoning their jobs on account of lack of funds to pay them. Compounding all of this is the limited number of ventilators and the limited number of qualified staff to man this equipment round the clock. For a country with only about 200 ventilators serving a population of 30 million, the worst mistake would be to treat this pandemic with soft gloves. We must learn from the experience of Burundi where political considerations were placed above the spread of COVID-19, and the resultant effect has been the demise of that country’s president and other major political personalities. Lessons from Brazil should be very instructive about the effects of disregarding social distancing protocols.

  1. We fail to see the point in massing up at registration centers to register only to contract a potentially fatal disease. We worry for the EC staff and so should you too. In spite of best efforts to secure them PPEs, their absolute safety cannot be guaranteed, much less potential registrants who will not be in PPEs.

There are also people (diagnosed and un-diagnosed) with many health vulnerabilities, making their situation even riskier. It is worth emphasizing that dead men and women cannot vote, and so we invite you and your team to join us in exercising a strong moral judgment in favor of respecting the lives of fellow citizens and ourselves against the pandemic. Someday when the conditions are favorable for this exercise, we will join you as professionals to carry out a successful exercise.

In conclusion, we wish to strongly encourage you and your office to consider a process that will minimize mass gathering and promote the principles of social distancing as well as the protocols established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In our view, given that the existing biometric register has been used successfully to conduct significant number of elections including two presidential and parliamentary elections, two District Assembly elections since 2012 and a referendum by your outfit in 2018 to create six new regions, we find it plausible that same register will suffice for our impending elections. Those who have recently attained voting age can be accommodated in a special registration exercise with much lower risks due to the fewer numbers. Respectfully, this should stand to reason. It is our fervent prayer that this supplication to you and your office will be given favorable consideration in the interest of our dear country. Please consider this letter as an appeal to save us and other Ghanaians from COVID-19 and its wide-ranging ripple effects.

For further clarification or media interest in the issues raised in this letter, please feel free to contact any of the following Dr. Pius Essandoh – 0246141460; Dr. Vishnu N.L Abayateye – 0243059985; and Dr. Gameli Aheto – 0200199755.

Thank you for the attention, and in anticipation of a reversal of your decision to compile a new voters’ register.

Yours sincerely,
Signed

  1. Dr. Joojo Nyamekye-Baidoo
  2. Dr. Vishnu N.L Abayateye
  3. Dr. Melvin Agbogbatey
  4. Dr. Elikplim Ahiable
  5. Dr. Kekeli Adanu
  6. Dr. Sefakor Adinyira
  7. Dr. Henry Selase Akpaloo
  8. Dr. Claude Enyam Woanyah
  9. Dr. Woedem Tettey
  10. Dr. Priscilla Orleans Kpodoh
  11. Dr. Justicia Kyeremeh
  12. Dr. Solomon Odemey
  13. Dr. Leslie Issa Adam-Zakariah
  14. Dr. Christian Debrah
  15. Dr. Afriyie Ansah
  16. Dr. Emmanuel Sogah
  17. Dr. Gameli Aheto
  18. Dr. Dennis Ansah
  19. Dr. Clarence Mante
  20. Dr. Barbara Fenyi
  21. Dr. Samuel Sule Saa
  22. Dr. Charles Adiepena
  23. Dr. Jacqueline Anita Sowah
  24. Dr. Pius Essandoh
  25. Dr. Mordecai Owusu
  26. Dr. Daniel Alifoe
  27. Dr. Philip Sanjok
  28. Dr Sandra Adams Sallar
  29. Dr phoebe sarfo
  30. Dr Alberta Azas
  31. Dr Chidinma Ohanechu
  32. Dr Etornam Anyigbah
  33. Dr Naa Ayeley Sena Mills Tetteh
  34. Dr Ruth Dedei Aryeetey
  35. Dr Jemima Alemonai
  36. Dr Jonathan Neequaye
  37. Dr Sunquist Ankamah
  38. Dr Adolph Garfo
  39. Dr Naa Martekuor Vanderpuye 40. Dr Mariam Shittu
  40. Dr Richmond Okronipa
  41. Dr Akosua Nyame-Kusi
  42. Dr Christian Frimpong
  43. Dr Felicia Akuribire
  44. Dr Duke Agbodeka
  45. Dr Samuel Horner Brew
  46. Dr Tobias Ninnang
  47. Dr Sheila Issahaku
  48. Dr Eric Tseklu
  49. Dr Charles Sosu
  50. Dr Enaam Adanu
  51. Dr. Franca Darkwa
  52. Dr. Rockson Dorkeh
  53. Dr. Naa Hammond
  54. Dr. Ruth Clottey
  55. Dr. Isaac Asirifi-Ofosu
  56. Dr. Theodore Wordui
  57. DrMaryAnneZuoloAalangdong 59. Dr. Elorm Daketsey
  58. Dr. Safianu Alhassan
  59. Dr Gideon Poku
  60. Dr. Kwame Afriyie
  61. Dr. Harrison Hammond
  62. Dr. Francis Eshun
  63. Dr. Timothy Kopah
  64. Dr. Barbara Yebuah
  65. Dr. Felix Abeyifah Bowuo
  66. Dr. Abdul Samed Sulemana
  67. Dr. John Kanyiri Yambah
  68. Dr. Etornam K. Grentsi
  69. Dr. Reuben Oppong
  70. Dr. Ekow Harrison
  71. Dr Jonas Afari
  72. Dr Boni Moses Tay
  73. Dr Efua Yankah
  74. Dr. David Gobapen
  75. Dr. Michael Zobi
  76. Dr. Roma Garner
  77. Dr. Rex Bonsu
  78. Dr. Afua Nkansa
  79. Dr. Samuel Adusei
  80. Dr. Anthony Ayambire
  81. Dr. Collins Ntiamoah
  82. Dr. Nana Wireko
  83. Mr. Francis Tetteh
  84. Ms Claudia Cobblah
  85. Ms Sandra Okullo
  86. Mr. Michael Akwetey
  87. Mr Ayitey Kenneth
  88. Mr. Abdul Majeed Mumuni
  89. Mr. Forster Dzasimatu
  90. Mr. Anyagre Jonathan
  91. Mr. Asumah Yussif Kamagtey
  92. Ms. Claire Bangdome
  93. Ms. Belko Farila
  94. Mr. Shelter Agbeko Bobie
  95. Mr. Livingstone Dablu
  96. Ms. Enukware Ekua Ofori
  97. Mr. Sylvester Nakotey
  98. Mr. Michael Dzodzodzi
  99. Ms. Patience Gyasi
  100. Mr. Leander Agohaah
  101. Mr. Emmanuel Asimah
  102. Ms. Princella Tebu
  103. Ms. Patricia Odooley Odoi
  104. Mr. Theophilus Mensah Amfo
  105. Ms. Betty Nkansah Osei Mensah
  106. Ms. Nadia Abdul Karim
  107. Ms. Dina Woode
  108. Dr. Abigail Nyarko
  109. Dr. Sheba Fiadzormor
  110. Ms. Lauretta Elloh-Donkor
  111. Mr Kennedy Napare

Source:ghfactsonline.com

You Can Contact Us Through :0547688711 /0506666346 /ghanafacts215@gmail.com

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