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COVID-19: No bed shortage in Ghana -GHS refutes claim

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has stated that the country was yet to exceed its bed capacity for treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients contrary to emerging reports of bed shortages at the centres.

“In terms of attainment of full bed capacity as a country, we can state that we have never exceeded our bed capacity as a country.

We started this process with a 450-bed capacity which has increased to 700 and at the moment, we have 71 treatment centres across the country with 21 of them, idle,” Director General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said in a statement on Wednesday.

The release which sought to clarify recent allegations that the Service was under-reporting and manipulating national data on the disease brought to light that the GHS was expanding the number of beds in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region specifically, to take care of mild to moderate cases and positive cases with co-morbidities.

“We are still not resting on our oars, we will continue to expand. We are working with the regions to increase the bed capacity for moderate to severe and critical cases. For instance, a 12-bed Intensive Care Unit wing is coming up at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital.

The largest isolation centre for those who are largely asymptomatic is the Pentecost Convention Centre located in Gomoa Fetteh with a bed capacity of 600 but as at June 16, 2020, we had 356 in-patients and the centre has never operated at maximum capacity,” the statement said.

As regards personal, protective equipment (PPE), Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the GHS had adopted systems including the “Logistic Information Management System” to monitor remotely, the availability of PPE at the district levels.

“Our concern however has been the more appropriate use of the PPE by health workers according to the level of risk they are exposed to and we are currently re-training health providers on infection prevention and control and most importantly, adherence to appropriate and consistent use of the PPE,” he noted.

The GHS in the statement explained that the recent spike in number of positive COVID-19 cases represented more of isolated reports in institutions and some localities rather than a general community spread.

While expressing concern over the trend, the release clarified that “the current number represents more of isolated spikes in localised institutions and localities and not a generalised diffused community spread.”

“It is worth noting three regions and 176 districts have not reported any new COVID-19 case in the last one week.”

Among other issues bordering on timely laboratory test results, means of discharge of recovered patients, contact tracers, safe re-opening of schools and increase in critical care staff, the GHS signalled its resolve to ensure the efficient use of resources for the overall wellbeing of Ghanaians amidst the pandemic. 

“We wish to state categorically that the GHS does not manipulate the data collated from the regions. The reporting on data including deaths and recoveries at the national level goes beyond just numbers to include epidemiological and clinical states of cases and that requires a bit of more time to verify and validate.

In that context, the regional level data will normally be higher than the national data at any given time,” the Service cleared.

Pressure group, Occupy Ghana, had earlier this week raised concerns over the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the country, alleging that the government was under-reporting the death toll.

According to the group, the death toll from some regions does not correspond to the total number of deaths in the country accusing the GHS of “massaging” of numbers which could lead to mistrust among the public.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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