Ms Esther A.N. Cobbah, Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Communications Africa Limited, said families must together, understand, appreciate and enforce the guidelines of washing hands, wearing face masks, and maintaining social distancing as critical for family survival.
She said effectively and continuously applying these guidelines in the family context could be difficult, but it was better than contracting the disease and being separated from family.
Ms Cobbah, in a message, to create awareness for families during the COVID-19 period, said communication in the family was very critical at this time.
She said families, both nuclear and extended, needed to communicate openly about COVID-19, what it is, how it spreads, and how the family unit could be a major channel for the spread as well as how the family unit can be used to combat the pandemic.
She said through such communication, members of the family could fully consider the reality of their particular contexts, including sharing information about a family member, who has been infected or who has been in contact with an infected person.
“Any member of the family can be infected and may be unaware of it,” she said.
The CEO said family members need to make each other regularly aware of where they go and what interactions they have.
She said the family context was where compassion and help for those infected should be expressed to prevent stigma and discrimination, which could result in undisclosed infections and can lead to the extensive spread of the virus.
“The family context is where support is needed to encourage and ensure that family member, who has to self-isolate or be quarantined at home, stay compliant for the good of all,” she added.
She said in Ghana and Africa, instead of the communal way of life becoming a pathway for the spread of COVID 19, the family context could be mobilized for deepening the commitment to compliance with the guidelines.
Ms Cobbah said families need to pay special attention to communication with children about COVID- 19 and the associated preventive guidelines.
She said it was also a way of instilling ownership of the fight against COVID -19 among families collectively and individuals.
She said the family would need to confront the paradox X of having to enforce social distancing when normally this is the context for close physical interaction, with handshakes, hugs, eating from the same bowl, and drinking from the same cup.
She said Stratcomm Africa has developed communication materials with easy-to-digest messages for community and family conversations with ‘The Adventures of KOO the COVID Prefect’ as one such material.