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Public health physician repeats call for govt to retool TB machines for coronavirus testing

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

A call by medical laboratory scientists in Ghana in May this year for the government to retool over 100 GeneXpert machines for sample testing of COVID-19 has been repeated.

Dr Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, a public health physician, repeated the call during an exclusive interview with GhanaWeb.

“We have these GeneXpert® machines that were procured to fight Tuberculosis [TB]. A lot of them can be configured to test for COVID as well…and we know that there are a number of them scattered across the country.

“For a long time, there was the discussion for government to retool these machines and for them to be used for COVID testing. I hope that government is going to move rapidly on that so that we can fully deploy some of these machines,” he said.

The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) released a statement in May to say that the TB testing machines, when put to use, can produce test results for COVID-19 within 45 minutes.

“Why is there silence on the use of GeneXpert (TB testing machine which can be adopted to test for COVID-19) available in a minimum of 100 laboratories in Ghana? What is holding government from facilitating the procurement of reagents (cartridges) that could enable COVID-19 testing and produce results in 45 minutes using GeneXpert equipment?” the Association quizzed.

Dr Sodzi-Tettey also told GhanaWeb in a recent interview that although the government has rolled a lot of social interventions to manage COVID-19, “it makes a difference if you can conduct the test and know where people stand and then you give them the requisite support.”

Dr Sodzi-Tettey, who has been elected to serve on the board of the Ireland-based International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua), further urged government to pay allowances promised the health workers.

“I know that the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health are saying that they are compiling lists of frontline workers and all of that but I will say that given the kind of sacrifices that people have made and length of time that it has taken up to this time, I would expect that this ought to have been concluded by now,” he said.

In his 18th address to the nation on the pandemic on Sunday, October 18, 2020, President Nana Akufo-Addo, implored Ghanaians to look out for each other, as being each other’s keeper would help the nation attain its target of zero active cases.

“I have said before, let us continue to look out for one another, and remain each other’s keeper, and I am confident that, by doing so, we will emerge victorious in the fight against COVID-19.

“Zero active cases must be the goal, and I have no doubt that, together, and with the help of God, this too shall pass, for the Battle is still the Lord’s,” he said.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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