The government of Ghana has engaged the services of about ten clinical psychologists to develop an anti-traumatic mechanism to work on panicky Ghanaian students trapped in the Chinese city of Wuhan in the Hubei Province, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Following a series of distress calls from sister student bodies in China, the leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) paid a courtesy call on the Foreign Affairs Minister, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, for an update on the safety of Ghanaians, especially students studying in the Asian country.
The President of NUGS, Mr Isaac Jay Hyde, who led the delegation of the student body, explained that the move was necessitated by the increasing concerns from both parents and union members about the welfare of their colleagues in China, thus, the need to establish regular communication channels to ensure effective updates to calm nerves.
“We believe that we are part of the process, so, if there’s a need for us to have certain platforms where, at any point in time, we are being given updates so that we are also engaging our membership for them to know what is happening. Notwithstanding that, we also do not know how long this thing will go; it is our hope, at this point in time, that we find an immediate solution to it”, Mr Hyde noted.
For her part, the Foreign Affairs Minister explained that although the evacuation of Ghanaians would not be feasible at the moment based on broad consultation with stakeholders and experts on the matter, the details of all the students in Wuhan have been provided to a team of Ghanaian health professionals (clinical psychologists) to give the students psychological support in order to ensure their safety.
The minister also stated that a toll-free number is being put in place which will allow parents and guardians to reach their wards directly.
“I contacted the department of Clinical Psychology and I said: ‘It is important that we give them more support’. So, today, as we speak, about ten clinical psychologists are being given enough information to deal with them [students] and Vodafone is setting up Wee chats so they can be reached at any point.
“Secondly, they are setting up a toll-free line so that parents and people who are worried here can contact the toll-free line and talk to people so that they can explain what is happening even more to them”, she said.
NUGS was further given assurances about the importance the government of the Republic of Ghana attaches to safeguarding the health, safety and wellbeing of Ghanaian nationals in China, particularly those in Wuhan.