Ghana preparing to Fight Coronavirus Head-on

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 virus

The 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.

An emergency response team is ready for any crisis

The minister also announced that President Akufo-Addo founded an emergency response team to handle any crisis that may arise. This team is said to report directly to the President, on a daily basis. Emergency structures at district, regional, and national levels have all been placed on extremely high alert while on-going meetings have been held by the National Technical Coordinating Committee while the Emergency Operations Centre (EPC) was activated. Stakeholder meetings between the ministry and Ghana Immigration Services, Ghana Airport Company Limited, and the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority have also been held in a bid to significantly reinforce the nation’s level of COVID-19 preparedness.

President happy with measures put in place

The President himself has, on more than occasion, expressed that he is pleased with all the measures that have been put in place to effectually deal with the COVID-19 peril. This comes after he personally paid visits to the Tema General Hospital, the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, and the Kotoka International Airport. Screening of arriving passengers at the airport has via thermal scanning has already begun and all Points of Entry (PoE) staff have been adequately trained on all pertinent protocols. The country is currently able to conduct tests for the virus at both the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research. Although the president is happy with all the precautionary measures that are in place, authorities at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital are concerned about the rate at which members of the public who are returning from foreign destinations, are being tested for the virus. Testing is not cheap and the influx of people demanding to be tested is putting severe financial strain on the health department. It is for this reason that additional finance would be very welcome.Ph: rosn123 
Justine Bishop
Justine Bishop
I am Justine Bishop, a passionate and creative freelance writer, coffee addict, and cat lover from Cape Town, South Africa. When I am not delivering copy for my clients, I can be found digging for crabs on the beach, watching Grey's Anatomy reruns, or exploring the phenomenal city I call home.
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