The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has said that the government has allocated GH¢2.5 million to fund national preparedness to prevent coronavirus infection in the country.
He told Parliament yesterday that his ministry had also initiated the process to procure 10,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all frontline health workers who might be engaged in the treatment and prevention of the disease.
“Arrangement is also being made to procure insurance cover for all frontline health workers who may be engaged to do this work for us,” he added.
Mr Agyeman-Manu, who disclosed this when he appeared before the House yesterday, said: “We are in this together and, therefore, I call on the private sector and our development partners to support our national effort in this period of preparedness.”
He had appeared before the House, together with a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Mohammad Habibu Tijani, to spell out the various coordinated efforts being made by the government and stakeholders to prevent or contain any outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.
The two highlighted the various measures being initiated to stop the possible transmission of the virus in Ghana and the efforts made to ensure the protection of 300 Ghanaian students in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the deadly viral disease, as well as the 30,000 Ghanaians living in China.
Mr Agyeman-Manu told the legislators that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had recommended to member states to prepare and prevent further international exportation of the outbreak by strengthening systems for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case and contact management.
In response, he said, public health emergency management structures at all the national, regional and district levels had been activated and placed on high alert.
For instance, he said the National Technical Coordination Committee, made up of experts from the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the WHO, the Veterinary Services Department, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, the Ghana Immigration Service and the security agencies, had met three times to discuss how best to prevent the transmission of the disease.
“The MoH and the GHS have sent alerts to all regions and districts to activate their respective public health emergency management committees.
“Stakeholder engagements have started and we have met with the authorities of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), the Tema Port and the Ghana Airport Company Limited,” he said.
No Ghanaian infected
He said a meeting had also been held with the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana to discuss issues related to regulating high-risk travels to and from the affected areas in China.
He said while commending Ghana for doing its best to contain the outbreak, the Chinese Ambassador had given an assurance that no Ghanaian in the affected areas had been infected.
The minister told the House that alerts had been sent to the regions, teaching hospitals and points of entry on the outbreak, saying that “the alerts also detailed clinical features of the infection and gave guidance on prevention”.
With large-scale awareness and the training of health workers to be rolled out, he said, measures had been taken to enhance screening at the points of entry, especially the heavy traffic entry points, including Aflao and Elubo.
“We are screening for fever using walk-through thermometers and non-contact thermometers at the KIA and other designated points of entry. Efforts are underway to ensure that all the points of entry have non-contact thermometers,” he said.
With regard to the management of infected persons, Mr Agyeman-Manu said his outfit had designated treatment centres, isolation facilities and holding places for the management of confirmed and suspected cases, respectively.
“Four health facilities have been identified as treatment centres — the Tema General Hospital, the Ga East Hospital, the Greater Accra Regional Hospital and the Police Hospital. Furthermore, all teaching hospitals and regional hospitals have potential capacity to treat cases.
“We have dedicated ambulances for the safe transport of any suspected and confirmed case for further management,” he added.
Mr Tijani said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had granted approval for the Ghana Mission in Beijing to expend $4,286 to cater for emergency needs such as medical masks, sanitisers and food supplies, especially for Ghanaians in Wuhan and its environs.
He pointed that out of the 300 Ghanaians studying in Wuhan, 152 had been caught up in the lock-down in the city, saying that “our mission has contacted them and has, in conjunction with the NUGS-China, provided them with basic items such as nose masks, sanitisers and some groceries”.