An individual doing through the Covid-19 Testing process
As part of efforts to complement the government’s activities in reducing the spread of Covid-19 in the country, the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) has launched a Covid-19 testing programme.
The initiative, to be implemented in six sites in five selected regions will make Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for Covid-19 easily accessible at the district and sub-district levels.
The selected sites are the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital in the Upper East Region, Wenchi Methodist Hospital and Holy Family Hospital Berekum in the Bono Region and SDA Hospital, Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region.
Saint Francis Xavier Hospital, Assin Fosu, in the Central region and Saint Dominic Hospital, Akwatia in the Eastern Region are also part of the testing sites.
Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who launched the initiative, lauded CHAG for coming up with an intervention to meet the growing demands of Covid-19 PCR testing beyond designated epicentres.
He said Ghana is ranked one of the few countries that responded to the pandemic promptly due to its resolve and the solidarity and resilience of the health system in containing the virus while providing essential and basic healthcare services.
“As cases rose, testing and contact tracing were anchored at some regional and district levels to ensure effective mitigation of the pandemic at all levels,” he said.
Dr Peter Yeboah, Executive Director of CHAG, said the initiative is an upgrade of CHAG’s Covid-19 Response and Institutional Capacity Building Project (CRIB), created since the onset of the pandemic to support national Covid-19 response with funding from the UK Government’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
He said despite efforts, the risk of an increase in viral transmission presents the need for more test labs to be established.
He said to better control the spread of the Coronavirus, it is essential for the government to ramp up the capacity and scope of contact tracing, testing and routine surveillance.
“The CHAG has observed that across some vulnerable generations and geography, prompt and accurate Covid test and scope can mean the difference between life and death,” he said.
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said Ghana had only two labs for the testing of the virus at the early stages of the pandemic but has now expanded to 36 testing laboratories across the country.
He appealed to the public to serve the Covid-19 prevention protocol as the Easter celebration approaches saying
“Let’s celebrate this Easter carefully, let all make efforts to avoid large family gatherings as this is the only way to ensure that cases do not rise again as during the Christmas celebrations.”
Development Director, FCDO of UK in Ghana, Philip Smith, said the current Covid-19 vaccines are not silver bullets, but important tools in our arsenal, designed firstly to reduce the severity of the disease and deaths.
He also encouraged Ghanaians to observe the safety protocols as Easter approaches, stating the maintaining appropriate social distancing, wearing of face mask and frequent handwashing remained key in the fight against the Coronavirus.
The Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) is a network of 346 health institutions owned by the Catholic Bishop Conference, Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council.
Presently, it is the second-largest provider of health services, apart from the government, it contributes to 20 per cent of the national Out –Patient Department attendance and 35 per cent on in-patient care in all 16 regions.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri