Time to take COVID-19 safety measures serious

Elsewhere in this issue, we have carried a story on efforts the Ghana Health Service (GHS) is making to ease pressure on various health facilities providing care for COVID-19 patients as infections continue to rise in the country.

Head of Disease Surveillance Department of the GHS, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, told the Ghanaian Times in an interview that reports of over stretch on facilities was partly because of the Service’s review of its COVID-19 management and care guidelines.

“Originally, if you are positive and an international traveler, you are assessed if you have any symptoms, any underlying conditions and whether your home environment is conducive for home management so you are put under such care, but we realised a lot of people were not abiding by the guidelines.

“So, we changed the protocol and said that every person, who is an international traveler who enters the country will do a mandatory seven days isolation and all these people were being managed in the health facilities and  occupying the treatment centres so this together, with increasing cases put lot of pressure on the hospitals,” he explained.

Furthermore, Dr Asiedu-Bekoe  indicated that the GHS has secured some facilities including hotels, the 65-bed COVID-19 isolation centre at Pantang and the 100-bed infectious disease centre at the Ga East Hospital, to augment care and management of cases.

“Pantang will now take care of international travellers who are asymptomatic and were undergoing home management. We are also getting another facility at Dodowa ready and that will help free the system and give space to treat critically ill and complicated cases in the hospitals,” he noted.

The Deputy Director, Public Health, said unlike other regions, it was the Greater Accra Region that was experiencing a surge in infections hence more facilitites being secured to manage cases and promote effective care.

“The other regions are not overstretched so clearly whatever surge we are seeing over the past 10 days is in Accra and we are working to minimise the threat,” he stated.

The Ghanaian Times as well as many Ghanaians have expressed concern about the COVID-19 surge and the attitude of some members of society.

It appears many continue to ignore the safety protocol, including  the  personal protective equipment (PPE).

A casual look around reveal that many people are taking the disease for granted and that is why there is a surge and hospital beds are over stretched.

Indeed, many celebrated super spreader activities such as Christmas and the New year as if there is nothing at stake.

Do we, therefore, need to be surprised that beds are overstretched due to the surge in infections? We are not.

But, the grim picture painted by the GHS should be a wake-up  call to all to go back to the safety protocols so we can prevent the spread.

We have to adhere strictly to all preventive protocols against the COVID-19 particularly the wearing of face mask and regular washing of hands under running water with soap as well as the use of hand sanitisers.

It is important to remind everyone that managing COVID is not an individual affair: it is a collective affair and so everyone should abide by the protocol because the failure of doing so is what is contributing to the rise in infections we are experiencing in recent times.

The disease is spreading at an alarming proportion throughout the world, and we cannot afford to allow it in Ghana. The cost would be too much to bear.

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