The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu says the government is setting up a 100-bed capacity facility in a remote area to serve as a centre for quarantining persons with suspected coronavirus infection.
According to him, the facility will be ready in two weeks’ time.
Mr. Manu, made this known on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 when he briefed Parliamentarians on the state of the country’s preparedness.
“Mr. Speaker, procurement of all regeants…for confirmation of coronavirus cases is currently ongoing to support the two research structures. A quarantine centre has been established. Another remotely located 100-bed capacity facility is being secured for the purpose of quarantine for illegible persons and this will be ready for use in two weeks. We do not hope that we’ll get to that situation,” he disclosed to the House.
He further outlined other new measures the government has put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus into the country.
“Dedicated contact lines have been given to the general public to report suspected cases of Covid-19. Phone lines are 0552222004, 0552222005, 05094977100, 0558439868 and 0800110555. These are all toll-free numbers. Alternatively, text messages can be sent to the shortcode 199. Mr. Speaker, so far, 5,000 PPEs have been procured and distributed to all regions, major health facilities, points of entry, teaching hospitals, treatment centres and selected health facilities,” he said.
“For surveillance, we have inducted and circulated Covid-19 case definitions to regional and lower levels. We have also adopted a Cobid-19 investigation form which is currently in use. National rapid response team has been activated. The national-level training for rapid response teams and local health workers on severe respiratory illnesses has been done. Training of regional and district rapid response teams has been planned for execution.”
Per Ghana’s preparedness plan for an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, the state is operating along the World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols.
Alerts have been sent to all regions to update their respective preparedness plans and activate their respective public health management committees.
Ghana is among 13 priority countries in Africa identified as being at high risk of getting the virus because of their established links with China.
So far, the Ridge Hospital and the Tema General Hospital have been earmarked as case management centres.
Four other facilities; the Ga East Hospital, the Police Hospital, the LEKMA Hospital and the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital have been identified as additional facilities to support case management.
Technical support visits have also been undertaken by the Institutional Care Division (ICD) of Ghana Health Service and WHO to some designated facilities to assess preparedness.
Staff at the two identified treatment centres have also been given preliminary training in case management.
The country currently has testing capabilities for the virus at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research. The centres have handled 24 suspected cases so far.
The United States government is, so far, also providing technical support and funding.
The National Technical Coordinating Committee has met twice to coordinate national preparedness activities.
Ghana’s National Public Emergency Preparedness Plan has been updated and a draft COVID-19 preparedness plan has been developed.
by Ellen Dapaah