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Coronavirus: Who's a frontline health worker? – Physician assistants ask Health Minister

The Ghana Physician Assistants Association has acknowledged the efforts of the government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic but has, however, expressed scepticism about promises to ensure that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are made available at the peripheries of the health system and also demanded what the definition of a “frontline health worker” is.

According to the association, facilities at the primary health care level, especially at the Health Centres and CHPS Compounds lack basic PPE like gloves, masks, hand sanitisers and goggles to protect themselves against the virus.

The leadership of the association also says they were among union and association leaders who met the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu and one of his deputies on Sunday, 5th April 2020 at a meeting where the Minister defined frontline health workers as ‘all health practitioners working at all levels of the healthcare delivery machinery’ (CHPS, Health Centres, Polyclinics, Municipal/District Hospitals, Regional Hospitals and Teaching Hospitals), and, so, it comes as a surprise to them that in less than 24 hours, another minister comes to define frontline health workers as health workers managing COVID-19 cases.

“Going by this other definition, it means majority of health workers who come into contact with any client who can be a potential COVID-19 case have been conveniently excluded,” the association noted in a statement.

The association wants the Minister of Health to come clear on who a frontline healthcare worker is in connection with the influx of people from affected regions to the peripheries of the country after the lockdown, and the unavailability of PPE at those areas “before we advise ourselves as health professionals.”

Source: Class FM

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