According to the legislator, the move would enable a majority of people to know their status and commence the necessary health steps should they test positive.
The minimum amount one must pay for a COVID-19 test is GH¢350 at a public health facility. For a private health facility, the amount is in the range of GH¢500 and GH¢700.
“If you follow what has happened in other jurisdictions, testing has been readily available, and elsewhere, they even have rapid test kits, where you can go to pharmacies, do drive-throughs and test. Testing is prioritized. In Ghana, the average cost for testing is GH¢350, and some places, GH¢500, GH¢700, and it is not affordable to the average Ghanaian. Ghana needs to change the current testing approach, and must adapt a mass-free testing regime,” the MP told the B&FT newspaper.
“The Ghana Medical Association, the foremost institution made up of the experts, professionals, and those who are the frontline health workers helping us fight this virus, have confirmed that medical facilities are now overstretched. The GMA has also confirmed that there are many lapses so far as COVID-19 response in Ghana is concerned,” Okudzeto Ablakwa added.
“It is because of these cold facts, coupled with the fact that so many people are dying, and now, it is so close to home, people very close to us are passing away, that we cannot continue with business as usual. We need for a paradigm shift—a totally different response which we hope will yield different results,” he lamented.
The MP for North Tongu also raised concerns about the cost of testing at the Kotoka International Airport for passengers entering the country.
He said the high cost of the test, which is US$150, regresses Ghana’s efforts to fight against the virus and is therefore urging for a paradigm shift in the testing and cost regime.
Currently, Ghana has hit a record high in its daily average of confirmed COVID-19 cases in almost six months.
As of Friday, January 22, the Ghana Health Service confirmed 658 new cases of the virus which has shot up the cumulative case count to 59,480 with a death toll of 361.