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Coronavirus: The world must follow Ghana’s unique tracing, testing and treatment example

Capture  UK 2 Kwaku Bimpeh

Thu, 14 May 2020 Source: Kwaku Bimpeh

At a time of a global pandemic, such as what we are experiencing globally and in Ghana, what the world need is leadership and the right strategy to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

In Ghana, HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and his team at the Ghana Health Service, as well as the Ministry of Information have demonstrated just that, and continue to do so. They have scored very highly, and have been decisive, clear and informative.

The control measures of a partial lockdown in some parts of the country, mandatory quarantine, contact tracing and enhanced contact tracing have been effective so far in rooting out infections among the Ghanaian population, one that has been admired by WHO and other governments, and one that is worthy of emulation by the rest of the world.

By mid-April, a total of 50,719 tests had been carried out which returned 641 positive cases, representing 1.3% of all test done. There were 83 recoveries, indicating possible green shoots and a glimmer of hope in the fight against this pandemic. Mandatory quarantine of people through Kotoka International Airport returned 105 positive cases out of 2,011 tests carried out (5.2% of those tested).

At Tamale Airport, 11 tests returned 10 positive cases (91% of those tested). Normal surveillance –contact tracing also returned 268 positive cases out of a total of 13,838 people who were under radar.

The most exciting part of the strategy, one that has not been seen in many countries is, the enhanced contact tracing of suspected cases within the communities. 258 potentially infectious individuals tested positive out of a total of 34,859 people, representing 0.7%. However, this group represented 40% of all infections in Ghana at the time.

This is an incredibly significant result in the fight against the coronavirus in Ghana. In what has been described as a case of ‘catch me if you can’, the virus is truly being caught before spreading and infecting more people within the local communities. As at the last presidential broadcast in May, 160,501 tests had been carried out with 4700 infections, 494 recoveries and 22 deaths.

Enhanced contact racing involves tracing those who have been in contact with those quarantined, or those who had tested positive and then tracing those who have also been in contact with them. Such time evokes affective feelings of nostalgia on effective government policies, such as formalisation and digitisation of the economy.

It would have really simplified the process of enhanced contact tracing and effectively supported the efforts to fight against this deadly virus, one we have not experience or seen in the history of our country. The use is drones to deliver test samples to testing facilities has been great idea, one that perhaps very few countries in the world have been able to do.

While the government and the health professionals do their bit to reduce the spread and the subsequent impact of COVID-19 on our livelihoods, the citizens must also do their part. They must follow guidelines and adhere to measures put in place to help stop the rapid spread of the virus. Washing hands with soap, use of alcohol-based sanitisers and wearing a mask has become part of our daily lives. One that will reduce infections and allow a certain level of new normality.

Individuals, regardless of their beliefs and values, must be ready to change their behaviour. They must be educated to understand that this virus is deadly and has infected over 4,000,000 people globally, with over 270,000 deaths. At its peak, over 900 people died in a single day., and there has also been mass burials in some countries.

This should be enough to change our individual perception of the risk of acquiring this deadly virus. Community mobilization and organizational change will go a long way to support our enhance contact racing strategy and to reduce the impact of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).

God Bless Ghana

Long live the Ghana Health Service

God bless HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

By: Kwaku Bimpeh

NPP UK Deputy Communications Director

communications@nppuk.org

Columnist: Kwaku Bimpeh