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Ghana Health Ministry, The Best COVID-19 Pandemic Management Team In Africa

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Ghana Health Ministry, The Best COVID-19 Pandemic Management Team In Africa

 

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”.
~Albert Einstein

“Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them”
– Bruce LEE

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana’s response was hailed as one of the best among African countries; in particular its innovative testing approach and science-driven political leadership.
Ghana’s COVID-19 response approach, in general, has been a success in minimizing the impact of the pandemic.
Multidisciplinary leadership with all stakeholders, His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his advisor on health, hard working Minister of Health and deputies, Director of Health Services, not forgetting the director of Health promotion who chaired the Covid Management Team as well as all health professionals nationwide we say a big thank you.
Corona virus continues to spread worldwide with more than 192 million confirmed cases across 220 countries and territories with over 4 million deaths as at 20th July 2021. For nearly 18 months, governments and societies have been turned inwards to fight an invisible enemy, exposing competing structures, struggling to have vaccines to protect their beloved citizens, vulnerabilities, and political priorities
Ghana embarked on intense actions to contain the corona virus outbreak since the first two cases were confirmed on 12 March 2020. Public health measures such as mandatory wearing of nose masks in public places, social distancing, and hand hygiene were instituted to curtail the spread of the virus. For optimal care of those infected with corona virus, various guidelines were adapted and isolation/treatment facilities were quickly identified and equipped to receive and manage suspected and confirmed cases.
However, as the pandemic raged on, it became evident that more needed to be done to adequately equip treatment facilities especially those managing severe to critical Covid-19 patients to improve clinical outcomes and reduce case fatality rates.

Moreover ttreatment facilities in all 16 regions of Ghana have received critical medical supplies such as oxygen concentrators, patient monitors, arterial blood gas analyzers, electrocardiograms, nasal oxygen cannulas, and pulse Some 360 multidisciplinary health staff were also trained to effectively manage Covid-19 patients in isolation, treatment facilities and at home.
Today, Ghana’s health system has improved capacity to monitor and manage diseases requiring intensive care. Consequently, a greater proportion of those infected with Covid-19 requiring intensive care and ventilator support have higher chances of survival.
Ghana governments resorted to pronouncing directives and touting the implementing of a targeted and proactive so-called approach of ‘Tracing,’ ‘Testing,’ and ‘Treatment’ as its primary COVID-19 response – where ‘Tracing’ means aggressive contact tracing to identify infected and high-risk people in the communities; Testing means enhancing the testing capacity of the country; Treatment means isolating and treating persons who have tested positive.
This targeted approach has helped trace and track high-risk individuals, accounting for its response success so far as exemplified by the lowest casualty rate.
Efficient, pragmatic and science driven public health policy approach was implemented by the multidisciplinary team led by the Ghana Minister of Health Honourable Agyeman Manu
1/ limit and stop the importation of new cases

Before recording its first two COVID-19 cases on 12 March 2020, Ghana implemented measures to prevent the pandemic from entering the country. The initial step was the decision not to evacuate Ghanaians stranded in the epicenter in Wuhan, China. The government also banned all travels of state officials. After the first recorded case, the President in a public address on 15 March outlined measures to curtail the spread of the virus. Amongst the measures were restrictions on entry into Ghana by other nationals (except for resident permit holders) travelling from countries that have recorded at least 200 corona virus cases and mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for persons who are otherwise allowed to enter Ghanaian territory [4]. The rise of imported cases compelled the President to order the closure of the country’s borders to human traffic effective midnight, 22 March. The decision to close down Ghana’s borders and the mandatory quarantine helped curtail imported cases as 105 cases were recorded from arrivals

2/Prevent community spread

. Markets and lorry terminals across the country were fumigated. However, in the wake of reported community spread, a law (Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 [Act 1012]), was passed on 21 March 2020 to restrict movement. A partial restriction of movement was imposed on the two most populous cities (Accra and Kumasi), restricting non-essential service persons’ movement for two weeks. The aim was to help scale-up contact tracing of persons who have come into contact with infected persons to test them and, if necessary, isolate and quarantine them for treatment [6]. All public gatherings, including conferences, funerals, festivals, and religious activities, were also banned for four weeks and has since been extended to 31 May. However, private burials could be held with a maximum of 25 people while observing the social distance of one-meter. Furthermore, schools were authorized to shut down. All establishments, including supermarkets and restaurants, were charged to observe enhanced COVID-19 hygiene protocols put forward by WHO

3/ Isolate, treat, and take care of the sick

The government has created new isolation and treatment centers. The purpose is to immediately isolate suspected cases and those infected with the virus to minimize community spread. Government efforts have been boosted by the private sector and other civil organizations like the church. Through the private sector, the government put up a 100-bed hospital completed within six weeks for the isolation and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

4/Ensure self-reliance and expand the domestic capability
The government is championing local innovation and production of Personal Protection Equipment’s (PPEs), development of test kits, and equipping existing state laboratories. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has since selected some manufacturing companies to produce sufficient PPEs for the frontline health workers locally. Commercial banks, with the support of the Bank of Ghana, have since granted a credit facility and stimulus package of GH¢3 billion to local companies, particularly those in the pharmaceutical, health, services, and manufacturing industries to cushion their production efforts . Additionally, to protect all health personnel at the forefront of the pandemic fight, an insurance package has been instituted for them. All health workers have also been exempted from taxes on their emoluments for three months. Additionally, all frontline health workers will receive an additional allowance of 50% of their basic salary within the same period. The Ministry of Transport is also making available, for free, buses to shuttle health workers to and from work along specific routes. The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection has educated Ghanaians on how to make hand sanitizers at home

5/Limit the impact on social and economic life
To minimize the pandemic’s social and economic impact, the Corona virus Alleviation Program bill was passed as a resilience and recovery plan to boost businesses and households. On the 26 March 2020, the government announced the absorption, for three months, the water bills of all Ghanaians, and the electricity bills of all lifeline customers, and provided a 50% subsidy for all other customers. The government has also extended the tax filing date from April to June. Further, through negotiations with the banks, a 2% reduction of interest rates by banks was agreed on, effective April 2020. Additionally, banks have granted a six-month moratorium of principal repayments to entities in the airline and hospitality industries, i.e., hotels, restaurants, car rentals, food vendors, taxis operators, among others [13]. Besides, a GH¢600 million soft loan scheme has been offered to Micro, Small and Medium Businesses in the country. The scheme is expected to have a one-year moratorium and two-year rep

6/Acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines to protect Ghanaians from a range of sources to support Ghana’s target to vaccinate 20 million people. Currently 1,271,393 Total Vaccine Doses Administered, 865,422 first dose, 405,971 first & second doses as at 14th July 2021.

The world should learn from the most successful strategies for testing, quarantine, public communication and economic support.

A successful response to Covid-19 turned out to depend on more than a country’s wealth, scientific prowess and history of public health successes. The U.S. enjoys all of these advantages but mounted one of the worst responses to the pandemic: 1 in every 990 Americans has died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began. Bad politics, quite simply, can trump good public health
We are very greatful to Ghanaian leaders, his Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Health Advisor to the President, hardworking Health Minister Honourable Agyeman Manu, Director of Health Services, Director of Health Promotion and all Health professionals nationwide working 24/7 to inform, prevent, detect, trace, isolate, treat, inoculate or vaccinate Ghanaians to protect all.

Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu who also serves on the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO) is working 24/7 in saving lives and protecting people in Ghana and boosting the COVID-19 response.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana’s response is hailed as one of the best among African countries; in particular its innovative testing approach and science-driven political leadership.

God Bless our Homeland Ghana

Frederick A. ADDO
President,
A.C.G.I.E (Association of Concerned Ghanaians in Europe for Human Rights and Democratic Governance)
also
Clinical Research Consultant in France.

Health

Open Defecation Is a Health Hazard – Lecturer

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Open Defecation Is a Health Hazard – Lecture

Engineer Mrs. Asantewaa Tanor, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Civil Engineering, Ho Technical University (HTU), Friday noted that open defecation was not only a health hazard, but also made women and girls vulnerable to attacks and assaults.

She therefore urged individuals, churches, organizations and communities to treat the provision of toilets as their topmost priority.

Madam Tanor who was speaking at a ceremony to mark World Toilet Day celebration at Adaklu Kodzobi in the Adaklu District, noted that provision of toilets in schools also helped keep girls in school during their menstruation.

The Day, which was organised by the Civil Engineering Department of HTU was on the theme “valuing toilets”.

The world toilet day was said to be the initiative of a certain Jack Sim from Singapore who founded the World Toilet Organization, an NGO in the year 2001.

The United Nations General Assembly in its 67th session on July 24, 2013 passed a resolution by which it designated November 19 every year as World Toilet Day.

One hundred and twenty-two member states adopted the resolution.

Madam Tanor said the Day was aimed to create and spread awareness about ideal sanitary practices that promote the health, hygiene and safety of all, especially women.

She hinted that about 3.6 billion people in the world were currently without safely managed sanitation and toilets.

She described the situation as worrying, adding “we must therefore not brush aside the issue of toilets and keep it in the dark.”

Madam Tanor urged those who had toilets in their homes, work places and communities to keep them clean and hygienic always.

Togbe Dzegblade IV, chief of the community, was grateful to the Department for selecting his community among the lot, to celebrate the Day.

He expressed the hope that the bond between the community and the University would be strengthened.
Togbe Dzegblade said the community had a 20-seater functional water closet toilet and urged the people to patronise and always kept

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GHS revises age of recipients of Pfizer vaccine to 15 years

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GHS revises age of recipients of Pfizer vaccine to 15 year

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director-General, Ghana Health Service (GHS), says the Food and Drugs Authority has revised the age of recipients qualified to receive the Pfizer vaccine to 15 years.

He said the revision of the ages from 18 and above to 15 years would help adolescents to be vaccinated to reduce school outbreaks of COVID-19, especially for Senior High School students and reduce the transmission of the disease to adults at home.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye said this at the CHPS Database Dissemination Forum organised as part of efforts aimed at strengthening Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) implementation under its Technical Cooperation Project, ‘CHPS for Life Project’ to accelerate the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

He said the country originally registered the ages of 18 and above as qualified recipients of the Pfizer vaccines, whereas the United States of America registered Pfizer for 12 years and above.

The Director-General said the adolescents were the most active group in the society and as expected, they would be moving about more during the upcoming festive season and since COVID-19 was about the movement it was important to get them vaccinated.

He said it would also help the country have proper herd immunity when they were added to the total population of those to be vaccinated.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye stated that they were engaging major stakeholders, including the Ghana Education Service on the modalities on how the vaccination of the adolescents would be carried out.

‘‘We have the consent issues like the adults’ but this is a risk for all of us and I believe that this something we can all get above and be able to vaccinate as many people to protect us all,’’ he said.

He said adolescents who were out of school and within the age group would also be vaccinated.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye said there were some Pfizer vaccines in the country and they were expecting more Pfizer from Covax and other places as well.

 

GNA

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GHS lauds Zipline for facilitating child Immunization in Ghana

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GHS lauds Zipline for facilitating child Immunization in Ghana

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has commended Zipline Ghana Limited, a medical drone delivery company, for its industrial revolution in facilitating the immunization of dozens in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipal of the Western North Region and other parts of the country.

The GHS said the previous challenges that delayed the transport of medications, unavailability of storage systems for vaccines, and administrative bottlenecks would no longer pose a threat to healthcare delivery in the Municipality after Zipline’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) made delivery of several components of vaccines in record time.

The government of Ghana in April 2019, signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Zipline Ghana Limited for the transportation of medical supplies to hard-to-reach communities due to inaccessible roads.

The partnership has since expanded the tentacle of the Company to include distribution of Covid-19 samples for testing and child immunization vaccines delivery nationwide.

In an interaction with the media, Mr Clement Baffour, the Municipal Focal Person for Immunization for the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipal, said the involvement of Zipline in the supply chain process of the GHS represented a “game-changer” in the health delivery apparatus.

He added that since the involvement of Zipline, the challenges of delivering vaccines had become a thing of the past.

Mr Baffour expressed the gratitude of the beneficiary communities and called for more support for the company to help reduce the high mortality rate by facilitating emergency delivery of medication to patients.

“I think Zipline has brought a lot of relief to the communities and this directorate in the discharge of its work, for which reason they must be commended for their innovation. Previously, we had to travel to Takoradi to take delivery of vital medications for lack of storage facilities.

“But having witnessed the innovation of Zipline’s drones, it is safe to say that we are out of the woods.

“We will continue to share in the benefit of their work and pray for them to succeed”, Mr Baffour said.

Mr Oheneba Municipal Director of Health Service Opoku-Darko, for Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipal, spoke fondly of how the company had substantially reduced the defaulter rate in the administration of child immunization vaccines in the municipality.

He said that before the intervention of Zipline, whenever the quantum of vaccines delivered for service provision got finished, there was no backup available and, therefore, most patients often missed the opportunity to take their vaccines at the required time.

“This is now a thing of the past. A parent cannot miss this immunization any longer on the basis of non-availability of the vaccines as Zipline is just a call or text away and they deliver just-in-time to make our work much easier”.

He commended government for the partnership with the company, which had ensured every citizen, irrespective of proximity, has equal access to healthcare delivery in the Country.

GNA

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