Government has provided additional GH₵ 2million toward implementing the country’s response and preparedness plan to tackle a possible outbreak of the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) in Ghana, Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu has announced.
The Minister made this known when he appeared before Parliament to brief the House on updates on the country’s preparedness and response to deal with the public health emergency situation.
“The Ministry of Health continues to work with development partners to monitor the situation and further strengthen systems to prevent the introduction of the outbreak in Ghana and early detect and contain it, should it occur,” he stated.
According to him, so far, 5000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) have been procured and distributed to all regions and major health facilities and points of entries, and government is in the process of procuring additional PPEs and other logistics to protect our frontline health workers.
In addition, Mr. Agyemang Manu noted that the Public health emergency management structures at all levels; national, regional, district have been activated and placed on high alert, and the National Public Health Emergency Preparedness Plan has been updated, and the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan developed.
At the country’s points of entry, the minister indicated that stakeholder engagements with the Ghana Airport Company Limited, Ghana Immigration Services, The Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority, and other stakeholders have been held to strengthen COVID-19 preparedness and surveillance.
“Screening of passengers on arrival has started using thermal scanning, and a health declaration form are ongoing. Point of entry staff have been trained and sensitized. A holding room has been identified at the Kotoka International Airport to be utilized to hold suspected cases.
A quarantine centre has been established. Another remotely located 100 bed capacity facility is been secured for the quarantine for eligible persons,” he said, and further advised the public to observe preventive measures to guard themselves against possible infections.
Speaking to the issue on the Floor, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, Ranking member on health and MP for Juaboso expressed worry about low funding from government to deal with the health situation at hand.
According to him, “when the officials from the Ministry appeared before the committee, they stated that they needed an initial amount of GH₵35million. Unfortunately, the minister responsible for health has only announced GH₵ 2.5million. It brings to question the commitment of government as far as the COVID-19 is concerned.”
The first outbreak of the virus was reported in China in December 2019 and is fast-spreading to other countries around the world – with over 90,000 cases reported as of 2nd March 2020 with 3085 deaths.