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Noguchi decries power cuts in Accra …says its affecting operations

The Noguchi Medical Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has decried the recent power cuts in parts of the capital as it was having a toll on its operations.

Director of the Institute, Professor Abraham Anang, told the Ghanaian Times in an interview yesterday that the institution stands to lose “precious materials” with the inconsistent power supply, calling for a dedicated power source to keep it running.

“We have over 500 samples being kept in deep freezers for analysis with others running on our controls at a time and the unfortunate thing is that when we start analysing a sample and there is power cut, the whole test will have to be scrapped and the process restarted.

“At the moment, we have two 600kw generators and a 500kw generator in our new research laboratory but the problem is we need to buy about GH¢90,000 amount of fuel to keep them running and that is a major challenge for us.”

Prof. Anang appealed for a stabiliser at the University’s central distribution point to cease power fluctuations as measures are instituted to “isolate the institution’s power source because this is an essential facility and we should not face power rationing.”

Meanwhile, 166 samples of suspected cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have so far been tested at Noguchi since the outbreak in Ghana.

In an earlier media interview, Prof. Anang dismissed reports that the institute did not have the required capacity to deal with a likely surge in testing for the disease.

“This is a well-established institute that has been running tests on influenzas. We have as many as four high end equipment and each can run as about 200 samples a day so with the four, we can do 800 a day and that even at a relaxed pace. Should there be a surge, we can do over 1,000 samples a day,” he said.

Ghana on Tuesday confirmed its seventh case of coronavirus involving a 35-year-old male Ghanaian citizen, who returned to Accra from France in the past 14 days.

A tweet by the Disease Surveillance Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) confirming the case said it was recorded at 3.00 pm in the Greater Accra Region.

“This afternoon (17 March 2020); we have received report from NMIMR that indicated one (1) more confirmed case as positive for COVID-19 in Greater Accra Region.

“This is another imported case, which brings the total number of confirmed cases to seven (7). The case is being managed in isolation and he is in stable condition,” the statement said

According to the GHS, as regards contact tracing of the six cases earlier announced, a total of 350 contacts have been identified and are being followed up.

COVID-19 is a new form of coronaviruses that is associated with respiratory disorders and characterised by symptoms such as fever, sore throat, runny nose and breathing difficulties.

To prevent contracting the infection, members of the public are advised to adhere to precautionary measures including regular washing of hands with soap under running water and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers.

“Avoid shaking of hands, keep distance of at least two metres from persons with signs of fever, cough, sneezing and difficulty in breathing, do not touch face, eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands, be physically active, drink plenty of water, eat healthy, avoid stress and have enough sleep.

“In case of suspected cases members are to call the following numbers; 0509497700, 0558439868.”

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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