COVID-19: Ghana “limited” in case of outbreak – WHO

Despite assurances by the Ministry of Health (MoH) of adequate measures to tackle COVID-19, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says Ghana’s “treatment readiness,” is inadequate.

WHO Africa measures countries’ preparedness in two ways – prevention and management of an outbreak. An earlier report in February described Ghana’s preparedness for disease prevention as moderate. The latest one measures Ghana preparedness for an outbreak.

A study conducted across countries within the jurisdiction of the WHO Africa region ranked Ghana’s case management ability as “limited” for the deadly Wuhan novel coronavirus.

Sixteen other countries fall within the same category, including Nigeria, the first nation to record a positive case in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa’s most populous nation is just 1,075 km and is less than a two-hour flight journey to Ghana.

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Only eight countries are “adequately” ready in case management.

“Given the fragility of many member states’ health systems, and the potential for a large number of COVID-19 cases to emerge if infections are not addressed, effective treatment is crucial, and preparedness is a key part of this,” WHO Africa noted.

Algeria and Egypt are the only other African countries where the infection is present.

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Besides Nigeria’s case, five people are under investigation, 298 cases have been investigated and 293 have tested negative within the WHO Africa region.

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WHO Africa revealed, in an update, that African medical experts are intensifying efforts to get ready for cases.

Deputy Director of the Institutional Care Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Ofori-Boadu, is busily involved in health interventions in Ghana.

Corunavirus: Ghana’s preparedness inadequate – WHO

In 2014, he was tasked to establish a centre at the Tema General Hospital, which was named as the referral centre for Ebola. The same hospital has been earmarked for coronavirus cases.

He worked as part of a 42-man contingent from Ghana in mobile treatment facilities that the US Navy had set up in Monrovia, Liberia.

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“But now that coronavirus has come in, people have been asking for those recommendations that we made back in 2015,” Dr Ofori-Boadu, an emergency-medicine physician stated.

The plan, believed to be helpful in the wake of the COVID-19 spread, includes the design of treatment centres, including the basics such as keeping patients suspected of having COVID-19 separate from confirmed cases, having trained and dedicated staff in place, as well as the necessary protective clothing.

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“Ghana is on high alert,” says Dr Ofori-Boadu. “Ghana is considered a priority one country by WHO because of the large volume of people who travel between our country and China.”

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