COVID-19 testing enhanced, Logistics procured — Oppong Nkrumah

July 20, 2020 / Comments (0)

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The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said the government has taken delivery of adequate COVID-19 logistics to resume the national testing programme at full throttle.

He said the programme suffered setbacks due to shortages of some logistics a few weeks back, but the situation had been rectified.

“The government has started taking delivery of laboratory equipment and supplies that are expected to increase the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity and address current hiccups in testing,” he said.

National strategy
Speaking at a national COVID-19 briefing in Accra yesterday, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said contrary to speculations, the five-part national strategy of limiting importation, containing spread, adequate care for the sick, limiting socio-economic impact and ensuring local content had not changed and was being followed actively.  

He said although the country had recorded significant strides in the fight against the COVID-19, it was imperative for Ghanaians to continually abide by the safety protocols to curtail the spread of the virus.

“What we need to reiterate is that people should not take solace in improving numbers to be reckless. We need to maintain our vigilance, so that we can continue our proven track record,” he said.

Details of logistics
Providing more details on the revamp on behalf of the National COVID-19 Testing Coordination Team, the Head of the Virology Department of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Professor William Ampofo, said the team had taken delivery of enough logistics to test between 100,000 and 300,000 samples through a period of three months.

He said the initiative formed part of efforts to strengthen the PCR (direct detection of virus) testing capacity of the country at its 10 existing sites and later six identified additional sites.
He said the supplies included swabs, KN 95 masks, examination gloves, autoclave bags, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits tubes and PCR machines.

Security agencies
Prof. Ampofo said the team, with the help of the security agencies, took delivery of the logistics on the tarmac of the Kotoka International Airport, which facilitated quick delivery to the laboratories in the network.

“Last week, I announced that we expected the deliveries and today I am glad to mention that we have received enough supplies and distributed to all 10 existing sites to enhance testing.

“We also had an emergency procurement of additional logistics through the Ghana Health Service (GHS), supported by the COVID-19 Trust Fund, and those also arrived last week. These are critical for Noguchi and the KCCR because they will help in clearing the backlog,” he said.

National Burden
The Director General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said the focus of the national response should be on the active cases and not the cumulative total.

That, he said, was because the active cases, which currently stood at 4,058, represented the actual national burden and stakeholders needed to be concerned about how to help the active cases decline faster than it was currently doing by strictly adhering to the preventive protocols.

He said out of the 774 treatment capacity, only 299 patients were in treatment centres nationwide; 387 were in isolation, while 3,372 were being managed from home in isolation.

He said recovery had been very fast locally and occurring among particularly those between 20 and 39 years and people without underlying health conditions.

He, however, cautioned that the high recovery rate was not an excuse for the public to relent in their adherence to the safety protocols because that could erase the strides made and escalate the national burden of active cases.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye appealed to the public to continue in the right use of nose masks strictly in public, adhere to respiratory and hand hygiene, among all other preventive protocols.


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