In week two of Joy TV Newsfile’s discussions on coronavirus infections, Ghana’s health system was analysed to determine its level of preparedness.
The panel also discussed worst-case scenarios and why the fact-based alarm is better than hope-based calm.
Here are six things we learned;
- Don’t worry about the death rate; fear the transmission rate.
According to a pharmacist with 15-years professional experience, George Yeboah Kesse, we need not fear deaths because of coronavirus. The rates are low. What should be our concern is the transmission rate of the virus that has no cure.
He said how to control the transmission is most critical because more transmissions could cripple the health system, and that’s when doctors may have to choose who lives or doesn’t as it is happening in Italy.
- Ghana is estimated to get 32,000 infections within 30 days.
So how worried should we be about the infection rate? George Kesse, who is also MD and consultant at Royal Crown Consult, explained that based on the current infections of 19, Ghana is likely to record 32,000 infections within the next 30 days.
The pharmacist has explained transmission rates “doubles every three days.” He said for each one infected person, 10 others are at risk. According to him, there is a formula experts use to predict the transmission rate. Ghana’s situation is “very alarming”, he said.
- Lockdown is the most logical thing to do.
According to the pharmacist, all the highlighted measures are a pale shadow of the real solution. “You cannot control it by hygiene,” he said, explaining that good personal hygiene only slows down transmission.
The pharmacist was emphatic that, “you can only control it by isolation.
“Frankly, that is the only way out,” he emphasised.
“We cannot improve our bed capacity; we cannot train more doctors. It is too late. We should start devoting all our resources towards supporting people in a shutdown.”
He said countries with better healthcare systems have had to lockdown as it is the only successful means of dealing with COVID -19.
- The fact-based alarm is better than hope-based calm.
The pharmacist rejected suggestions that his views were alarmist. He explained people who worry about alarm “don’t have a good idea” of the dangers involved with coronavirus. He elaborated that the disease will overwhelm our health system if the transmission is not stopped. He urged Ghanaian authorities to learn from Italy, which appeared to have dilly-dallied in its response and is now carrying dead bodies away for cremation.
- The transport system may have to shut down.
Two health experts believe Ghana’s transport system may have to shut down as it could be a loaded transmission agent for coronavirus. Dr Titus Beyou, a member of the Infectious Committee of Ghana, believes perhaps the number of passengers on commercial buses should be reduced to two per row. But the pharmacist was emphatic that transport should be shut.
- The middle class is a sick class.
According to the pharmacist, seven out of 10 middle to higher-income families in Ghana have chronic diseases–hypertension, diabetes, etc. This category is most vulnerable to death by a coronavirus, according to global experts.