The Bono, Bono East and Ahafo chapter of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called on the government to upgrade the Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC) into a COVID-19 testing hub to serve the three regions and surrounding areas.
The chapter made the call because of the long turnaround time it took for COVID-19 test results from the three regions done at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) to be released due to the many backlog of cases.
“Currently, it takes an average of five to seven days and sometimes two weeks for a test result to be released by the KCCR and this negatively impacts our efforts in managing the pandemic in our regions,” the Chapter Chairman, Dr Alexander Kofi Egote, said.
Dr Egote was speaking at a press conference held in Sunyani yesterday. He said the KHRC laboratory had the human resource capacity and infrastructure to undertake testing of the disease and was strategically located geographically to serve the three regions and others beyond their borders.
“It is worth noting that the KHRC laboratory was used for similar disease outbreak investigations in 2015 for Meningitis. All that is required critically now is a Polymerase Chain Reaction machine (PCR) used in detecting the presence of infectious agents including COVID-19,” he said.
He said from their enquiry a PCR machine cost about $30,000.
Dr Egote disclosed that the Bono Region had 75 recorded cases of COVID-19 out of which 54 had tested negative with results of 21 others still pending. Besides, 496 people alleged to have contracted the disease were being investigated.
Moreover, he said 186 people were being contact traced in the Bono Region.
Dr Egote said the Bono East Region had recorded 111 cases and the results of 44 received had tested negative while the results of the remaining 67 were outstanding.
The Ahafo Region, he said, had 16 people believed to have been infected. However, results of 15 of them received so far proved negative while one person’s was pending.
All in all, he said, a total of 113 test results had been received out of the 202 possible cases in the three regions, while that for the remaining 89 were still pending.
Long turnaround time
“The long turnaround time for the release of test results leads to people with possible cases of the disease being held for long periods at the holding centres awaiting confirmation,’’ Dr Egote said.
He said under the circumstances, the limited personal protective equipment (PPE) available were used for their care and, as was characteristic, many were declared negative at the end of the day anyway.
That, according to him, potentially increases the risk of spread of the infection to health workers and patients.
Dr Egote has therefore urged the government, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to support an upgrade of the KHRC as a COVID-19 testing centre to boost the nation’s capacity for testing for the disease.
When that was done, he said the KHRC’s capacity to provide quality laboratory services would be enhanced beyond the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the three regions and beyond.
He commended the government and the health directorates in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions, traditional and religious leaders, security services, health workers, media and the entire population for keeping the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions “safe at least for now.”
He urged all and sundry to observe the safety protocols on COVID-19 and ensure to eat nutritious foods, drink a lot of water and have adequate rest to boost their immunity.
Source: Daily Graphic
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