Health authorities in the country have been urged by pressure group OccupyGhana to think outside the box in preventing the coronavirus from coming in and spreading in the country.
Though Ghana is yet to record a single case, OccupyGhana has charged health authorities to be on the alert and adopt effective measures help deal with the disease.
The group, in a statement, said although the Ghana Health Service has come up with a paper cataloguing its preparedness, “… we cannot escape the fact that the nation’s health sector is weak and not well-resourced. This means that our preparedness for epidemics and/or pandemics may not be the most optimal.”
Termed as “Plan B”, OccupyGhana says its recommendations is to serve as a backup to what has been put in place by the Ghana Health Service.
“Given our economic means, surveillance testing may not be feasible,” the statement said.
It further said quarantining those who are suspected of having the virus, either because they travelled to a high-risk area and/or have had contact with a person with the virus, is one of the best ways of preventing the spread of the disease.
OccupyGhana again proposed that patients can self-quarantine at home, saying this involves a high level of discipline.
It said prevention is one of the most important ways to reduce the contracting and spreading of the virus, and therefore asked that public education on the disease must be enhanced.
“In this, public education assumes a very important role. Constant education of the public through TV, radio and social media would be very helpful,” the group said.
With two centres now designated as testing places, OccupyGhana asked that the emergency operations centre (EOC) should ensure that all frontline clinics know what to do when a patient shows up with symptoms suspicious of COVID-19 infection.
“These clinics should have holding rooms for such cases. The personnel should also have protective gear that allows them take samples from the patient that the Rapid Response Team can then pick up. Having an easy-to-remember hotline number helps,” it said.
Two major health facilities, Tema General and Ridge hospitals, have been designated as the two hospitals for isolating and treating these patients, with four additional ones to provide support. But the pressure group wonders if these isolation and treatment centres are ready and able to accept and manage confirmed cases.
It therefore asked the government to, as a matter of urgency, ensure that these centres have adequate stocks of oxygen, ventilators and other vital equipment.
“In conclusion, although Ghana may not be as prepared as a lot of developed nations, OccupyGhana believes that if we consider the above, use our resources well, think outside the box and figure out alternatives, we might just avert a disaster should there be a COVID-19 outbreak,” the group said.
Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Minister of Health