The Hohoe Municipal Hospital has recorded a sharp decline in its Out-Patients Department (OPD) attendance from 10,000 to about 300, a month as a result of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus disease.
Dr. Pius Mensah, Medical Superintendent of the Hospital disclosed this during a tour by Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, Deputy Minister of Health to the COVID-19 Management facilities in the Volta region.
He said the Hospital observed this trend after it recorded its first two positive cases in April, this year which had led to stigmatisation of the Hospital and its staff leading to reduction in patronage of some of its services including the OPD.
“Life has not been the same for the past four months," he said.
“One key challenge had been stigmatisation of the hospital staff which had led to decrease in OPD attendance from 10,000 a month to just a little over 300 and we are still struggling to recover despite sustained education," he added
Dr Mensah said eight health staff; a doctor, an anaesthetist, three nurses and three midwives have all recovered COVID-19 and back to work without any residual medical complications from the infection “except one who tested positive” on June 28.
He said four of cases was from surveillance, five as contacts of index cases and 12 from subsequent cases have so far been recorded after the Hospital recorded its first two cases on April 12, this year adding that Covid-19 case count in Hohoe stood at 21 with 15 recoveries.
The Medical Superintendent said the Hospital had managed 23 suspected cases at its Holding area designated for keeping suspected cases for between 24 to 48 hours, whilst awaiting their sample results with staff running a 12-hour shift to ensure 24-hour service at the area.
He said a total of 33 staff were exposed to the index case, a pregnant woman out of which four tested positive for the disease and were treated at home, recovered and returned to work in May while the last four cases that tested positive in June could not be linked to any case although they have recovered.
Dr. Mensah said a total of 779 samples from contact tracing and surveillance excluding repeat tests had been taken since the outbreak which were sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) testing centre.
He said 909 contacts for the 21 positive cases had been traced so far and also added that the treatment centre which had begun operations and that some 16 cases being managed at the facility were referral cases from Kpando, Ketu North, Ho and West Districts of the region.
The Medical Superintendent said work at the treatment centre was not complete since it was a research centre which was converted into a clinical unit, adding that building effective teams and working together had helped the Hospital to come far in its efforts at combating the pandemic.
Dr. Okoe Boye said comparing Ghana to the rest of the world, the country’s Covid-19 statistics was an “aspiring one” with a zero point six per cent deaths.
The Deputy Minister said this was due to tracing of contacts, testing them and treating them and providing the necessary care and making sure that no lives were lost adding that “I believe strongly that we will win the war”.
Dr. Timothy Letsa, Volta Regional Director of Health Services said the Directorate has recognised the good works and dedication of the management and staff of the Hospital and would make sure the needed support was provided in the Covid-19 fight, adding that, “we will not put you on the war front and leave you behind”
Mr. Andrews Teddy Ofori, Hohoe Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) called on the citizenry to desist from stigmatising Covid-19 patients and continue to support the government in the fight against the disease by adhering to all the safety protocols.