Geography Education Department Details Role of Geography in Fighting COVID-19

As part of their activities for the 2021 academic year, the Department of Geography Education in a seminar organised to commemorate its departmental week celebration has expounded the crucial roles Geography played in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seminar held under the theme: “The Role of Geography in the Fight against COVID-19” took place on Wednesday, 14th July, 2021, at the Jophus Anamuah-Mensah Conference Centre, North Campus.  

The Geography Education Week formed part of the global Geographical celebration instituted by National Geography in the United States of America (USA) to raise awareness about Geography as a part of everyday life.

Some students of the Department at the seminar

Speaking on the rationale for the gathering, the Head of Department, Geography Education, Dr. Enoch Sam indicated that, the celebration focused on the importance of Geography by hosting events, using lessons, games and challenges in the classroom and offering meetings with policymakers and business leaders. 

Dr. Sam further highlighted the importance of the GIS tool popularly called ‘Geospatial technology’ as a very important tool for Geographers. “GIS is an important tool that has the potential to greatly improve the population geo-literacy. Its spatial focus embraces the idea of interconnection and it can be used to solve many of the problems Geography Awareness Week addresses,” he noted.

He expatiated that, the celebration also emphasised the role of geography, geographic information knowledge and tools in everyday life, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. “We are here to focus on how Geographers and the tools we have at our disposal can help in this fight against COVID-19”. 

Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, the Director, Quality Assurance, University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Prof. Emmanuel Obed Acquah expressed enthusiasm about how the Department strove to make an indelible mark. 

Prof. Lucy Effeh Attom (middle) seated with Prof. Emmanuel Obed Acquah (left) and Dr. Enoch Sam

He further commended the Department for bringing on board representatives from the corporate sector, public sector, civil society, alumni as well as other members of the University community to discuss innovations Geography could develop to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences Education (FSSE), Prof. Lucy Effeh Attom, who chaired the occasion, recounted how geography was used in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The role of geography in terms of the physical and human geography in response to the fight can never be completed without using important geographic tools, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), Remote Sensing and Maps in identifying, analysing and interpreting data related to the pandemic,” she said.

She urged participants to continue to observe the COVID-19 protocols adding, “in this light, the pandemic demands that we all continually explore the geophysical and geo-medical possibilities to eradicating the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The resource persons who engaged participants throughout the seminar were a Geographer from the University of Ghana, Prof. Alex Barimah Owusu; a Medical Geographer, Dr. Kojo Oppong Gyaabah and Mr. Felix Damte.

The Department used the occasion to commission its ultramodern GIS Laboratory at the Social Sciences Faculty Block at North Campus.