The Ghana Medical Association has stated in a joint press statement that some 779 health staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
The statement issued by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) had the backing of the Government Hospital Pharmacists, the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association and the Health Sector Workers Union.
At a press conference organized in Accra Thursday morning, the health groups expressed grief over the alarming rate of infection among its members; adding: ‘it could have an adverse impact on the country’s health system giving their front line role in the fight against the pandemic’
According to them, inadequate supply of PPE, lack of disinfecting agents and a failure by the government to provide holding bays at various health facilities, are some of the major factors contributing to the surge in cases among their members.
Addressing the media, President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr Frank Ankobea, w said:
“As of 30 June 2020, over seven hundred and seventy-nine (779) health workers had contracted the COVID-19 virus in the line of duty with a total of nine (9) deaths having occurred so far. A large number of health workers are also currently in isolation awaiting their test results after having been exposed to the virus at their places of work.”
“The data gathered so far indicates that 190 members of the GMA (Doctors) have contracted the virus with 4 unfortunate deaths. 410 members of the GRNMA and its Allied Associations (Nurses and Midwives) have contracted the virus with 1 unfortunate death. 156 members of the HSWU have contracted the virus with 3 unfortunate deaths. 23 members of the GHOSPA have contracted the virus with 1 unfortunate death,” he said.
He added that the non-disclosure or concealment of information from health workers by facility managers when colleagues test positive for COVID-19 at workplaces, as well as the delay in receipt of COVID-19 test results of patients being managed in wards, conspire to increase the risk of health workers getting infected.
The health groups also urged the government to solve pertinent challenges such as shortage or inadequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, in particular.
Also, they want the government, through the security agencies, to ensure strict enforcement of all COVID-19 safety protocols without fear or favour and have also demanded transparent and adequate dissemination of information to exposed health workers whose colleagues have tested positive for COVID-19 at the workplace.
The Association has however appealed to government to ensure that test results are available within 24 to 48 hours.
”All health facilities must create holding bays to detain all patients who are suspected to have contracted COVID-19, Dr Ankobia added.