AN EXCELLENT WHEELS OF COMMUNICATION AGAINST COVIG-19 PANDEMIC IN THE GAMBIA
Firstly , I remain gratitude to our health professionals working in the frontline in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic which has brought panic and threatened the existence of human life.
This pandemic is expected to affect the world economies as well as social life of many communities. At the moment, there is no conclusive scientific explanation and we can not exclude conspiracy theories and accusations across the globe about this pandemic. The myths should be debunked within our societies. We are in this together as Gambians and not in competition with anyone who first reveal the latest information. However, individuals and communities need or expect clarity , consistency and accuracy from all level of the government system of communication to avoid doubt in their minds.
It is a difficult time even world super powers like China and America are struggling with this deadly virus and must be treated with seriousness. We must listen and allow our health experts to lead us through this terrible time.
It is observed that, in the Gambia ,handling communication during this ongoing pandemic have attracted lot of commentary both home and abroad. Whilst, some people’s have express doubts and mistrust over the government response to the pandemic calling on the President Barrow to speak up and exert authority to call for a State of Emergency. In addition, public reaction by some Gambians on social media accusing the government of withholding some vital information and covering up the number and the level of reported COVIG-19 cases in the country. What are the implications of the State of the Emergency? The answer to the above could darely have serious or direct consequences on the economy and social life of many people’s given how close knitted our Gambian society.
In a common parlance,” a man with a wielding hammer will thing everything is a nail” It is critical to note that, communication during pandemic is not a job of politicians it is preferable for a person with scientific/medical background who will be at the frontline to inform the actions of the President as well as other policy makers in the country. We can not call for a Minister of Health to resign in the middle of the a fight against a pandemic that will be a national disaster is like recalling a Military Commander in the frontline of a battle against enemies.
We have multiple line of government communications ,it is commendable that the government of the Gambia setting up National Health Emergency Committee (NHEC) in collaboration of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Information as well as other relevant government department to provide daily briefings on the situation of COVIG-19. With this, a unify message from (NHEC) will enhance public trust and confidence in handling the pandemic.
It is not a time to score political points rather it is time for actions and responsible leadership by every Gambian. The government should continue to intensify its efforts in mobilising resources for more testing equipements and laboratory centres across the length and breath of the country. To add to that, the government must also engage in massive and robust public education programme as well as the opposition politicians and Religious leaders with the view to enhance prevention and further spread of the virus in the country.
It could likely not be a business as usual, the revelant security department may enforce SOCIAL DISTANCING as necessary as possible within our communities to avoid the spread of the virus. However, caution should be taken in the discharge of their duties and do not force more than necessary especially in the rural communities who do not have a full week food basket in their houses compare to the urban dwellers who may have facilities to preserve food basket.
The residents in our communities must STAY AT HOME except the key workers Financial Service Providers, Utility Companies, Telecommunications companies as well as the Security Service like the Military, Police, SIS, Navy , GPS, GID ,GFRS amongst other. These key workers are providing critical service to the country.
By A Concerned Gambian
Living in Manchester