MoF Measures To Contain The Spread Of Covid-19 And Protect Staff And Promote Their Wellbeing
The underlining message throughout this period by Management to staff has been focused on ‘the health and safety of staff and their families, as well as our stakeholders. Management was therefore prepared to ensure that staff were safe in the discharge of our mandate.
The Ministry began orienting staff on the pandemic as soon as the WHO declared the outbreak as a pandemic and global public health emergency. The Ministry has proactively championed the preventive measures through memos and circulars to ensure that staff were well informed, protected and provided with all that is required to work in a safe environment.
The underlining message throughout this period by Management has been focused on ‘the health and safety of staff and their families, as well as our stakeholders.
Below are some of the key actions taken so far by the Ministry since the inception of COVID-19 in Ghana:
ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE MINISTRY TO PROTECT STAFF AND STAKEHOLDERS
On 26th February 2020, the Ministry issued its first covid-19 memo to staff, mainly with information on safety tips, e.g. frequent hand washing, physical distancing etc. while awaiting guidelines from the Ministry of Health on how to manage the disease at workplaces. The Ministry provided hand washing facilities and sanitizers at vantage points for visitors and staff.
Sanitizer Dispensers, sun sinks and veronica buckets have been procured and fixed at all vantage points in the Ministry and all staff and stakeholders are under the Ministry’s mandatory washing/sanitizing of hands policy. A thermal camera and some thermometer guns are used to gauge temperature of staff and to assist anyone with high temperature to access a health facility. A mandatory ‘No Mask No Entry’ #MaskUp! Campaign was enforced in the Ministry from April 2020.
All stakeholders are encouraged to use the Ministry’s available online portals in contacting the Ministry. The Employee Wellbeing Committee responsible for the sustained health and safety of staff was on hand to provide further support to staff as and when needed. The Ministry has ensured that its facilities are COVID19 compliant by the provision of PPEs to staff and to the community within the Ministries enclave. Regular fumigation exercises have taken place in collaboration with the Office of the Head of Civil Service.
Our Janitorial Service Providers are trained to ensure 30 minutes’ interval cleaning of all surfaces such as door handles lift knobs, regular cleaning of balustrades etc. The in- house cleaners and Security had been periodically supplied with PPE’s to enable them effectively combat the pandemic.
The health and safety of our staff and stakeholders have been paramount before and during this pandemic. Regular memos have been sent to staff by the Hon. Minister and the Chief Director to check on their wellbeing. These memos have provided assurance to staff with emphasis on mental health and wellbeing. Staff have been encouraged to remain calm and observe the safety protocols. Staff have received specific contact details of clinical psychologists and counsellors to enable them reach out for psychological support during the pandemic. All Staff of the Ministry have also been supplied with hand sanitizers as well as immune boosting zinc and vitamin C.
In addition, the Ministry has educated staff through professional Clinical Psychologists during a virtual staff durbar held in August 2020. COVID19 educational materials have also been posted at vantage points in the Ministry, in addition to screensaver reminders on staff desktops, and email signatures reminding staff about the need to observe the protocols. Our lifts can mandatorily take only two persons and there are floor stickers to remind staff about physical distancing and other safety protocols.
In line with guidance from the Office of the Head of Civil Service, Management has also introduced flexi working conditions for staff. All Divisions maintain a core team of staff in the office and have divided their staff into three main groups with a rotational schedule. Staff have also been directed to embark on their annual leave especially for those who have several leave days outstanding.
In line with the new normal, the Ministry has invested in virtual tools to enable staff to work from home and to effectively communicate with limited face to face interactions. Video and audio conferencing facilities have been provided for staff.