Minority urges to re-engage COVID-19 contact tracers

The Minority in Parliament is blaming government for Ghana’s increasing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

In the view of the caucus, government’s unwillingness to reengage contact tracers after suspending their services in April of last year and reneging on its 50 per cent allowances for frontline health workers are contributing factors to the country’s case count.

At a press conference in Parliament yesterday, the caucus said failure by government to ensure adequate provision of personal protective equipment to schools prior to reopening is also a contributing factor.

“President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his technical team of advisors have not demonstrated enough competence in handling this pandemic contrary to all they have been trumpeting.

“Contact Tracing has been abandoned and disappointed health workers have chosen not to join COVID-19 teams due to failure on government’s part to fulfil its promises to them,” Minority spokesperson on Health, Kwabena Minta Akandoh, told the media.

According to Mr Akandoh, MP, Dwaboso, since Ghana recorded its first case on March 12, 2020, government’s handling of the virus has been abysmal.

Ghana, after seeing its active cases reduced to less than 500 before the end of the year is bearing the brunt of the second wave with two different variants – South African and England – reported in the country.

At the time of filing this report, 472 people had succumbed to the virus, with 137 representing 29 per cent of the deaths occurring this year.

“The trend of infections and death is worrying and if nothing is done immediately to arrest the situation our outturn with COVID-19 will be a complete disaster,” he said.

Information from the Ghana Health Service, Mr Akandoh said, indicated that about 32 per cent of confirmed cases now report to medical centres sick compared to 21 per cent in 2020.

In this regard, he said it was important government engaged contact tracers to trace infected persons before they further spread the virus.

With the discovery of the new variants in Ghana, citizens expected that experienced frontline health professionals would be deployed to man COVID-19 health centres but “sadly this has not been the case.”

In its recommendation to government, Mr Akandoh urged government to, as a matter of urgency, dissolve the Technical Advisory Team formed in 2020 and recompose a multidisciplinary and non-partisan Technical Advisory Committee to direct the management of COVID-19 in the country.

“As a matter of urgency, the government must expand more management facilities and build capacity to handle the many severe cases that are likely to be confirmed.

“Schools should be adequately resourced and supported to make the environment safe from COVID-19,” he added.

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