The strong belief in superstitions and myths among many residents in the North East Region is a major challenge to fighting the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) said the belief systems and conspiracy theories among residents in the region with regard to the disease led to grave disregard for the precautionary and safety protocols prescribed to curb the spread of the canker.
The NCCE, therefore, expressed worry and called for collective efforts from all stakeholders to demystify the misconceptions surrounding the virus to ensure that people, especially the residents of the North East Region adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols.
Mr Wilberforce Zangina, the Acting Regional Director, NCCE, who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Nalerigu, said many people in the region did not believe the virus was in Ghana while others were of the view that people from the North East Region could not be infected with the virus.
These are not making residents to adhere to the safety measures put in place to fight the disease.
"Some inhabitants are of the impression that COVID-19 does not exist but the elite want to create fear and panic to enable them spend state money. They also believe that the disease cannot affect people of North East Region because the Overlord of the Mamprugu Kingdom has said so even though this assertion is not true," he said.
Mr Zangina disclosed that as every region was fighting to stop the spread of the disease by suspending all social functions and gathering, funerals, naming ceremonies, weddings among others were still being performed with total disregard and non-compliance with the social distancing protocols and other preventive measures such as wearing of nose masks.
He said the empty Veronica buckets stationed at vantage points to encourage regular hand washing did not encourage people to take the disease preventive measures serious and it was rare to see anyone wearing a nose mask.
Mr Zangina indicated that the virus was real and had no cure, adding that the restrictions and protocols prescribed by the government, the Ghana Health Service and the World Health Organization were to prevent people from being infected and called for efforts to ensure compliance.
He noted that the NCCE with its mandated obligation had intensified education across many communities in all the six districts in the region and had so far carried out 280 outreach programmes as against the initial target of 204.
The Acting Regional Director indicated apart from the NCCE taking COVID-19 education to market places, street announcements and other public places, it had also engaged the security services, religious and traditional authorities, faith based organizations, youth groups among other identifiable groups on the virus and the need to avoid stigmatizing infected and recovered persons.
While expressing gratitude to some stakeholders for their support to the NCCE, Mr Zangina urged all stakeholders to join hands with NCCE to cause attitudinal change among the people towards the fight against the spread of the virus.