Dr Aboagye Da-Costa, the Director of Health Promotions, Ghana Health Service (GHS), has advised Information Officers of the Information Services Department to disseminate accurate messages or scripts developed by health authorities and approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the coronavirus.
He said lots of false and misleading messages were being bandied around on the social media about the disease and it is imperative for information officers to provide only truthful and accurate information to the public.
Dr Aboagye Da-Costa, also the Chairperson of the Risk Communication and Social Mobilisation Team on Covid-19, gave the advice at a day’s trainer-of-trainers workshop held in Accra on Tuesday.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Information for Regional Information Officers of the ISD to adequately equip them with relevant information to help educate the public on the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Da-Costa took participants through some of the frequently asked questions about the virus and provided answers, explaining that, it is imperative for information officers to provide the right messages to calm people down, instead of creating fear and panic.
The participants were provided posters and flyers developed by the Ghana Health Service as reference materials for the national education campaign against the flu-like disease.
Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, a Deputy Minister of Information, in his welcome remarks, said the Ministry has been tasked by the President to play frontline roles in the Covid-19 national education campaign adding that regional information officers are supposed to play a critical part in the information dissemination drive.
“We must justify the confidence reposed in us by the President and should discharge our duties diligently and successfully. In this way, any time our Minister goes to Cabinet meetings and requests for resourcing and retooling of the ISD, he would be taken seriously.
“Take the public education campaign as your personal project and deliver to the expectation of the government,” Mr Hadzide advised.
Currently, the ISD has 32 regional information officers, over 200 district information officers and 1,000 officers including van operators and announcers across the 260 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister said government would soon leverage on the brand equity of celebrities including musicians, footballers, actors and actresses as well as influential persons in the society to support the national education campaign against Covid-19.
While answering questions from the participants on the virus, Mr Jerry Fiave, a member of the Risk Communication and Social Mobilisation Team, said the disease is not airborne but spread through droplets from an infected person.
He advised the public to dispose of tissues and nose masks once they had been used, in order to safeguard their lives and avoid contracting the virus.
Dettol also took participants through proper handwashing with soap under running water and advised the information officers to educate the public on it.