The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused widespread panic across the world in recent weeks. While no cases of the virus have been confirmed in Ghana, both the government and the public are on high alert after more than 100,000 cases have been confirmed globally.
The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has resulted in nearly 4,000 deaths with Ghana being one of 13 countries in Africa that are considered high-risk.
To date, the Ridge Hospital and the Tema General Hospital have been identified as treatment centres while four other facilities can also be utilised should the need arise. The Institutional Care Division of the Ghana Health Service Department together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) have carried out various technical support visits in orer to assess the exact level of preparedness among major facilities.
Ministry seeks additional funding to fight virusThe Accra-based based Ministry of Health is expected to receive an additional GH¢11 million in funding to help it adequately prepare for (and contain) a possible coronavirus outbreak in the country. The World Health Organisation (WHO) released an assessment report on Friday, 14 February 2020 which indicated that the original GH¢2.5 million that the government had committed was grossly inadequate. The report further revealed that Ghana’s total budget for COVID-19 preparedness is standing at GH¢35million.The Sector Minister, Kwaku Agyeman had the following to stay while making an official statement on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. “We had an initial budget of GHS35 million, got seed money of GHS 2.8 million, and we have an indication of an additional GHS11 million. Aside from these two tranches, the Finance Minister has met with Bank of Ghana where we also met with them to discuss a comprehensive budget with the view of trying to get more resources to put at our disposal towards this fight.”Measures are being taken to combat the virus
Ghanaian Health minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has assured the public that the government is doing everything in its power to protect the country’s citizens from a possible coronavirus outbreak. The assurance came after an Italian arriving from Milan became Nigeria’s very first confirmed case. The report of the confirmed case has prompted health officials from Nigeria to try and trace all the other passengers of the flight that the affected passenger was on while also identifying any places and people he came into contact with prior to his diagnosis. The minister added that the government was also in the process of setting up a quarantine facility with 100 beds for any patients that may be suspected of carrying the virus.