Ghana is on high alert with maximum protection against COVID-19 – Govt.
Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has assured Ghanaians that government is doing everything possible to prevent and protect citizens against the outbreak and spread of the Novel Corona Virus Disease in the country.
The Minister’s assurance comes in the wake of concerns being raised in other West African nations of an Italian man who has been confirmed in Nigeria, a sister West African nation, as that country’s first coronavirus case after arriving from Milan.
The report has prompted Nigerian health authorities to trace everyone, who arrived on the same flight as the patient and identify the places he visited before going to the hospital.
According to Mr Agyeman-Manu, the Ministry was collaborating with its Development Partners to monitor the situation and further strengthen the systems to prevent the introduction of the outbreak in Ghana, and ensure early detection and containment should it occur.
Mr Agyeman-Manu gave the assurance when he appeared before Parliament to update the House on the country’s preparedness and response to the Novel Corona Virus Disease also known as COVID-19.
Following the declaration of the outbreak of the Novel Corona Virus Disease, christened COVID-19, as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 30, 2020, the Ministry of Health has led several efforts aimed at preparedness and response to any potential outbreak in Ghana.
Worldwide, the number of coronavirus cases have sharply increased from 20,604 cases as of February 4, 2020 to 90,302 as of March 2, 2020 with 3,085 deaths.
Mr Agyeman-Manu also revealed that the 40 suspected coronavirus cases reported and tested at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) have all proved to be negative.
He said procurement for more reagents and primers for confirmation of coronavirus cases is ongoing.
He announced that another remotely located 100-bed capacity facility is being secured for the purpose of quarantine for eligible persons and this is expected to be ready for use in two weeks.
Mr Agyeman-Manu also announced that a health prevention emergency response team was constituted by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to handle the crises; and the team has been reporting to the President on daily basis.
He said the public health emergency management structures at district, regional and national levels have been activated and placed on high alert, and the National Technical Coordinating Committee has had continuous meetings on the coronavirus disease while the Emergency Operations Centre (EPC) was activated, and had already met five times.
Mr Agyeman-Manu stated that his ministry has held stakeholder engagements with the Ghana Airport Company Limited, Ghana Immigration Service, Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority among others to strengthen COVID 19 preparedness and surveillance.
He explained that screening of passengers on arrival has started using thermal scanning and a health declaration form ongoing.
He said Points of Entry (PoE) staff were sensitized on case detection and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) undertaken for the heads of the designated points of entry and all Kotoka International Airport (KIA) staff.
Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandor, Ranking Member of the Health Committee in his remarks expressed reservations about the country’s preparedness in the face of the growing global scourge of coronavirus.
He called on the Government of Ghana to pursue strong measures to be able to prevent and protect citizens against the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus.
He said the announcement of only GH¢2.5 million out of the GH¢35 million amounts budgeted for the disease shows the lack of commitment on the part of the Government of Ghana to protect people against the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr Benard Okoe Boye, MP for Ledzokuku and Member of the Health Committee, stressed the
need for people to be properly educated on the disease and not create fear and panic in the systems.
He said preparation by government to protect citizens against the outbreak and spread of the disease in the area of public health emergency management structures at all levels were activated.
He said any country that was able to handle Ebola cases should be able to deal with the coronavirus disease, adding that Ghanaians should pride themselves of some of the best healthcare workers, up to the task.