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Ranking Member on Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, believes Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, goofed by trying to deny his COVID-19 status following reports in the media.
Major news headlines Saturday afternoon suggested that the Health Minister had contracted the virus and had since been transferred to the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC) for treatment.
Barely hours after, a journalist with the Despite Group tweeted that the Minister, in a conversation with her, had revealed that he was merely resting and getting medication for diabetes at UGMC.
Sections of the public didn’t fail to express their views about that piece of information, with most of them on social media, raising questions and doubts about Mr. Agyeman Manu’s response.
The facts of the issue came to bare Sunday evening, after the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo confirmed the Minister’s coronavirus status, and wished him a speedy recovery.
In an interview with GhanaWeb, Mr. Akandoh was of the view that the Minister, though had the right to either declare or keep to himself his health status, denying it publicly was a wrong move.
Though he admitted that the fear of stigmatization could affect anyone including the Health Minister, he was emphatic about the implications of Mr. Akandoh’s actions on his imagery and the public.
“The fact that he speaks against stigmatization doesn’t mean he himself is not afraid of stigmatization. I thought that even if he couldn’t confirm that he had been infected, the best he could have done was to keep quiet about the whole issue.
But when we had journalists tweeting that they had spoken to him and he had stated that he was rather resting, at the University of Ghana Medical Center, that if you compare it with the confirmation from Mr. President, then indeed, being a minister responsible for the health sector, I think that he was not frank with the people of this country.
I am not saying that he should have come announcing to the world that he had contracted the virus but if he had kept quiet without denying it, then for me, that wouldn’t have been more problematic than coming out to deny it and then later it has been confirmed that he has contracted the disease.” He said.
The Juaboso Member of Parliament however urged all and sundry to join the fight against stigmatization, to avoid discouraging people from testing, and avoid further spread of the coronavirus.
“I don’t think there is any point stigmatizing anyone with this virus because it is like any other disease, anybody at all can contract it at any point in time. It is not by the wish of any individual to have it, we are all at risk.
“Anybody can have it so if one contracts it and we stigmatise the person, the person may not be bold enough to declare their status, in any way, people will not be willing to go and test and once people have it and don’t test, they will be spreading the virus.
“So I think we should all speak against stigmatization, and urge more people to test and try to also urge people to abide by the precautionary measures.”