The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) is calling for a change in strategy in the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
GMA’s call comes as the country’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases nears 3,000 with 18 deaths and 294 recoveries.
Speaking on PM Express, the Deputy General Secretary of GMA, Dr. Titus Beyuo called for a new approach in testing, such that, pressing cases are prioritised.
According to him, “Definitely I think there’s a need for a change in strategy, and for me, I think the first recommended change in strategy is a reorientation of our testing priorities. If it does exist then it’s not being practicalized.”
Explaining what he meant by a reorientation in testing priorities he said “we have lumped routine community samples, contact tracing samples, with hospital-based samples and healthcare workers samples. It takes 12 days for you to get the results of healthcare workers and a department is closed down. I think that must change ASAP. All health worker samples, in-patients samples that we need results to make a critical decision right from the pre-analytical stage, sample processing, collection, their labelling, and everything should be prioritised and for patients who are ill. We need to make a decision. We want to see these results out as early as possible.”
He believes the delay in results is a factor in the spread of the virus since asymptomatic people carry on with their normal routine until the tests come out positive.
Dr. Beyuo called for improved turnaround time for ongoing tests to help in making critical decisions and encouraged the accelerated provision of information surrounding cases especially in respect of updates.
“There are a few things when you see, it begs the question of whether there are no post-analytical delays that can be reduced. I cited an example for you where a regional coordinator will hold a press conference announcing that the certified results we have received from the lab show that our number is ‘x’. And on the Ghana Health Service platform, the number is still ‘y’ and it remains so for four days,” Dr. Beyuo said.
Dr. Beyuo also wants the Ghana Health Service to focus more on educating people against the stigmatization of COVID-19 patients.