A total of 779 health workers have so far been infected with COVID-19 since the outbreak of the disease in Ghana.
This translates into six health sector workers getting infected each day since Ghana recorded its first two cases on March 12, 2020.
A joint statement issued by Health Sector Unions and Professional Associations said at least nine of their members have died from COVID-19.
“As at 30th June 2020, over seven hundred and seventy-nine (779) health workers had contracted the COVID- 19 virus in the line of duty with a total of nine (9) deaths having occurred so far. A large number of health workers are also currently in isolation awaiting their test results after having been exposed to the virus at their places of work.”
“The data gathered so far indicates that; 190 members of the GMA (Doctors) have contracted the virus with 4 unfortunate deaths. 410 members of the GRNMA and its Allied Associations (Nurses and Midwives) have contracted the virus with 1 unfortunate death. 156 members of the HSWU have contracted the virus with 3 unfortunate deaths. 23 members of the GHOSPA have contracted the virus with 1 unfortunate death,” the statement noted.
The health sector unions said the worrying situation is due to what they believe are serious lapses in the government’s management of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Among other things, they said the supply of personal protective equipment for health workers have been erratic and often those they receive are inappropriate.
While admitting that some health workers were not observing COVID-19 preventive measures, the joint health sector unions also accused facility managers of not being transparent with health workers with regards to their colleagues who may have tested positive.
“Non-disclosure or concealment of information from health workers by facility managers when colleagues test positive for COVID-19 at the workplace… Delays in the receipt of COVID-19 test results for patients being managed onwards resulting in increased exposure of health personnel to the virus,” they mentioned in their statement.
They expressed worry that the rising number of positive cases among health workers place serious pressure on the few workers still on duty.
The health workers in their statement urged the government to expand its testing program throughout the country and make available test kits to prevent delays in obtaining test results.
They also said “all health facilities must mandatorily create holding bays to detain all patients who are suspected to have contracted COVID-19” warning that Ghana would be treading on dangerous grounds if it fails to urgently act in this regard.
“There is no vaccine for COVID-19, the only way prevent its spread us through adherence to the safety protocols at all times,” the health unions stated.