A deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Oko-Boye, has said the legacy of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Ghana is beginning to manifest.
According to Dr Oko-Boye, the manifestation is already coming in the country’s testing capacity for diseases.
“Mr Speaker, when all is over, the story would be told of the legacy of COVID-19. We have started seeing the legacy already.
“This is a country which had a [testing] capacity of only 1,500 tests a day of nucleic acid amplification tests, but due to COVID-19, our test capacity today is about 5,000,” he said whilst commenting on a statement on the floor of the House on how the country was fighting the virus.
Dr Oko-Boye, MP, Ledzokuku, said not only would these testing centres serve the purpose of testing for COVID-19, but other infections including Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM), which is an annual ailment that usually hits the northern parts of the country.
“You need these tests to even confirm CSM infections. I remember when I was in the Upper West Region on a tour; I was told that sometimes you have to wait for weeks to get the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests done in Tamale.
“Now that we are ramping and scaling our capacity, going into the future, some of these things will be addressed,” he said.
He said Ghana’s fight against the respiratory disease which has infected about five million people globally and claimed over 300,000 lives has been well coordinated and that coordination is what was accounting for the progress the country was making in that regard.
“In Ghana, the incident commander; that is the leader of the team, is the President himself. That is not the case in other countries.
“There is good reason to be happy when your president is the incident commander because it helps in the mobilisation of resources and the commitment of all government agencies, private and public officials towards the fight,” he said.
All institutions of state which have a role to play in stemming the spread of the virus, including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Security, amongst others, have played their roles well in the fight, Dr Oko-Boye noted.
On the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers, the Deputy Health Minister said the country can never have enough, adding that “even if you give a facility all the PPEs they require, only within a week, they will call and tell you that it is inadequate.”
He explained that “these are items we use and discard. And so what we must speak to is the supply chain that would ensure that adequacy levels are maintained for a long time.”
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI