Ghana Medical Association Accuse Government of Poor Preparation Towards The Coronavirus Outbreak
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has bemoaned the ill-preparedness of government towards the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. The Deputy General Secretary of the GMA, Dr Titus Beyuo speaking on the country preparedness observed that the government had not prepared to face the virus should the country record a case. “We have already spoken to the government and asked that it supply health facilities with the necessary equipment so we can efficiently tackle suspected cases but the government is not forthcoming,” Dr Beyuo lamented in Akan. To him, the government ought to put in so much commitment than what exists currently. Dr Beyuo also noted that the Public Health Emergency Management Structures had not been instituted in high-risk areas in the country such as border towns where unapproved routes are common, urging that private health facilities must be factored in any step the government takes. “As it stands now, most of our private health facilities are not sensitised and prepared to deal with any suspected case well,” be added. Last week, the World Health Organization named Ghana among 12 other African countries including Nigeria, South Africa and Cote’ d'Ivoire as high-risk countries in terms of preparedness and capacity to handle any outbreak. The WHO describes as woefully inadequate the GHC2.8 million cedis allocated and says the Ghana Health Service needs about 25 million cedis. There are already concerns about surveillance at entry points after Nigeria recorded its first case. Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, in a statement, said public Health Emergency Management Structures have been activated at all levels; district, regional and national. As of 27 February 2020, all 24 suspected cases reported in Ghana tested negative for COVID-19. These include surveillance, coordination, Laboratory, Points of Entry, Case Management, Social Mobilization and Risk Communication, Logistics and Finance as well as effective communication channels with National Ambulance Service; Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research; Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research and CEOs of major hospitals as well as procurement of nose masks and other protective clothes. Ghana is also engaging WHO, World Bank, US Center for Disease Control, DFID, IOM and other Development Partners. Staff designated treatment centres (Tema and Ridge hospitals) have undergone preliminary training. While four other facilities Ga East, Police, LEKMA and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospitals are to be equipped to support case management.