The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu has announced the “readiness” of the Akufo-Addo government to ship loads of Ghanaian staple foods like “shito, gari and kenkey that can last over 2 weeks without going bad”, to the over 300 Ghanaian students who have been trapped in the Chinese province of Wuhan by the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
Mr Agyemang Manu, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Dormaa Central Constituency says the decision was arrived “at a meeting last week Thursday, because they (the students) are complaining that they are safe where they are, only that they are running out of stock of food, so we should send them food” and that’ “they have lost appetite for Chinese foods.”
This follows the advice by the Ghana Health Service to the Health Ministry that the evacuation of the students from the infested Wuhan city “is not an option for now”, despite calls by the students through the China chapter of the National Union of Ghana Students for government to evacuate them as the novel disease continues to wreak havoc.
Speaking in an interview on Okay FM monitored by MyNewsGh.com on Friday morning, Mr Agyemang Manu said, “ Ayorkor (Foreign Affairs Minister) was angry that, when she sent people to buy the shito, they came back to say one bottle costs GHC 80, so she won’t buy that shito, but would personally go to market to buy some at a cheaper price; so we are thinking of them; day by day we are talking with them”.
The minister was responding to the MP for Juaboso and Ranking Member of the Health Committee of Parliament, Kwabena Minta Akandoh who had earlier said on the show that, “the decision of the government not to evacuate the students from China defied common sense”.
Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, who had together with the MP for North Tongu and Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa issued a 3-day ultimatum to the government to evacuate the students or face their wrath, said “the President was insensitive to the issue at hand because none of the students trapped in china was his child”.
But according to the Minister of Health, his outfit has been in constant consultations and engagements with the World Health Organization (WHO), regional bodies, the Chinese authorities, and they all do not encourage the evacuation of Ghanaian nationals from China at this time as efforts at containing the disease are being made.
“We are working in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, West African Health Organisation, US Centres for Disease Control and other Development Partners, discussing and reviewing our strategies day by day. So far, all advice through consultations and engagements is not encouraging us to undertake mass evacuation because sub-regional consultation- the West African Health Organisation is engaging member states and has not recommended evacuation yet”, a statement issued by the Ministry of Health said.
The Ministry also said it was reviewing the situation will employ the next of action when necessary, including “evacuation”.