-Health Minister urges public to remain calm
A total of nine suspected cases of coronavirus in Ghana, including the recent two from Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, have all tested negative.
Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has, therefore, advised citizens to remain calm as the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, working in collaboration with partners, are doing everything possible to prevent and protect against the importation of the virus into the country and prevent spread.
Public health management systems put on high alert
He said Ghana has put public health management systems on high alert following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advice to its member states on the coronavirus outbreak.
Designated treatment centres
Currently, four treatment centres – the Tema General Hospital, Ridge Regional Hospital, Ga East and the Police hospitals – as well as other regional facilities with the potential capacity to treat cases have been selected for the cause.
In respect of laboratory confirmation, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) had demonstrated capacity to conduct test for confirmation.
Isolation facilities and holding places ready
He added that designated treatment centres, isolation facilities and holding places for the management of confirmed and suspected cases respectively were ready.
Various actions triggered
The Health Minister disclosed that the country had triggered various actions, which included the activation and strengthening of all Public Health Emergency Management Structures ( national, regional and districts), as well as the regular meetings of the National Technical Co-ordination Committee (NTCC), which is multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary.
According to him, periodic meeting of experts from the MoH, GHS, WHO, Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, NMIMR, Immigration Service, security agencies, and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has been taking place.
Active surveillance, early detection, isolation case, and contact management
The WHO had advised member states to prepare and prevent further international exportation of the outbreak by strengthening systems for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation case, and contact management.
Stakeholder engagements ongoing
Mr Agyeman-Manu said stakeholder engagements had also begun with key institutions such as the authorities of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Tema Port and the Ghana Airport Company Limited regarding screening exercises for passengers at arrival points.
Point of entry checks
On point of entry checks, the Minister indicated that Health Declaration Forms to extract salient information from travellers to assess their risk profile are also being used at the points of entry.
He explained that the forms were currently being applied at all international arrivals at KIA Terminal Three.
He said aside these efforts, case definitions have been developed to help clinicians detect potential cases and manage them appropriately.
Sensitisation and training of healthcare workers
Mr Agyeman-Manu explained that sensitisation and training of healthcare workers and all other frontline staff, especially at the points of entry – port health, immigration, and customs – and training of staff at the designated treatment centres have started and were ongoing.
“We have conducted training for the case management teams in Tema and Ridge hospitals, and are in the process to scale up, and we have dedicated ambulances for safe transport of suspected and confirmed case for further management,” he added.
Working with development partners
The Health Minister said the ministry continues to work with its development partners to monitor the situation and further strengthen systems to prevent the introduction of the coronavirus outbreak in Ghana, and detect early if it should occur.
Regulating high-risk travels to and from the affected areas in China
He disclosed that the ministry had met with the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana and discussed issues relating to regulating high-risk travels to and from the affected areas in China.
Source: Elvis DARKO, thefinderonline.com