A former General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Jehu Appiah, has advocated for the inclusion of private health facilities in the testing of COVID-19 samples in the country.
He argued that the government facilities conducting the test are overwhelmed hence the need to include private institutions that have the capacity to test.
Ghana has so far conducted over 290,000 tests with 17, 741 proving positive as of Tuesday, June 30, 2020.
Explaining Ghana’s testing regime to Citi News, Dr. Jehu Appiah also indicated that one of the solutions to the COVID-19 fight is to ramp up testing.
“Where we are now, we should have a public health approach instead of medical treatment. In our situation, we do not have a facility that can accommodate a situation that can manage everything. Let’s find a way that we can do more of the community tests.”
“A lot of private facilities have expressed interest in doing the tests but I think they all need clearance from the Ghana Health Service. The GHS can not solve all the problems. We have other stakeholders who are ready to perform that. We need to spend money on testing because the daily increase in the number of cases means that there is something going on in the community that we need to pay great attention to.”
Recently, executives of the Ghana Medical Association have warned that the country’s coronavirus case management may hit a snag if steps are not immediately taken to ensure the release of test results within 24 hours.
They argue that the delays in releasing samples taken have become a source of worry given the adverse impact the situation is having on their operations.
A statement from the group said: “There are still huge delays in getting test results for patients (sometimes up to 7-10 days after sample taking). This situation undoubtedly is not the best for case management, especially with its attendant high risk of viral exposure to health professionals and patients at various facilities. The GMA urges the government to do all it can to ensure that test results are available within 24 hours.”
The Association is also demanding the “expansion of the current testing sites and their capacities, with all 16 regions equipped with testing sites”.
It, therefore, wants the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service to address the recurring issues of shortages of test kits.
The group also raised concerns about the government’s failure to honour its promise to re-engineer the then GeneXpert machines dotted around the country for COVID-19 testing.