COVID-19: Ghana has 67 ventilators – Health Minister

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu says Ghana has a total of 67 ventilators.

The Minister made this known on Wednesday at the Minister’s press briefing organized by the Information Ministry to provide updates on the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

“Ghana has 67 ventilators. An extra order of 50 has been made out of which 20 has arrived whilst we await the remaining 30. That together with what we have in the private gives us about 200 ventilators in Ghana,” the Health Minister said.

The Minister further stated that no case in Ghana had required the use for a ventilator.

“So far none of our cases in Ghana has required a ventilator yet.”

Ventilators and its importance

A ventilator is a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air into and out of the lungs, to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently.

This gives the patient time to fight off the infection and recover.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 80% of people with Coronavirus disease can recover without needing hospital treatment.

But one person in six becomes seriously ill and can develop breathing difficulties.

In these severe cases, the virus causes damage to the lungs. The body’s immune system detects this and expands blood vessels so more immune cells enter.

But this can cause fluid to enter the lungs, making it harder to breathe, and causing the body’s oxygen levels to drop.

To alleviate this, a machine ventilator is used to push air, with increased levels of oxygen, into the lungs.

The ventilator also has a humidifier, which modifies heat and moisture to the medical air so it matches the patient’s body temperature.

Patients are given medication to relax the respiratory muscles so their breathing can be fully regulated by the machine.



Confirmed cases in Ghana

The novel coronavirus cases in Ghana have risen to 195.

Thirty-four new cases have been recorded since Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

The Greater Accra Region has 174 of these cases, the Northern Region has 10, the Ashanti Region has nine, the Upper West Region has one and the Eastern Region also has one known case of the virus.


How to protect yourself

To prevent the spread, the standard recommendations coming from the WHO is regular hand washing, covering one’s mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.

People are also advised to avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.