The Chairman of Risk Communication and Community Engagement for Ghana’s Covid-19 response has defended the testing regime at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) as robust and one of the best mechanisms in reducing importation of cases.
Dr Da Costa Aboagye told Kojo Yankson on JoyNews’ The Pulse on Thursday, that positive test at the airport will normally be subjected to genomic sequencing to determine the type of strain.
He postulated that Ghana’s FDA validates the equipment and processes of testing at the KIA often to give assurance of the testing regime.
He further clarified that once the public health system in Ghana detects a positive case, no other independent results is accepted until the affected person had completed mandatory isolation including associated treatment, a further test and be discharged by the Ghana Health Service.
This, he says, no exemptions are made to anyone regardless of status. He says persons who test positive are likely to expose people around them and should desist from conducting independent test afterwards.
Dr Aboagye noted that persons who test positive at the airport are under the control of the Ghana Health Service and assessments are normally conducted to determine whether a positive patient should be offered home, hospital, or a hotel management.
According to him, these assessments are done by clinicians and the case management team of the country.
It will be recalled that AfCFTA Secretariat issued a statement following the positive test result at KIA of the Secretary General, Mr Wamkele Mene disputing the results as a false positive .
Mr Mene went into quarantine whilst receiving guidance and advice from his medical team, who advised he took another test.
The independent tests had turned out negative raising concerns about the efficacy of the KIA Covid-19 tests.
They stated that prior to the KIA Covid-19 test, “he [Wamkele Mene] received the Johnson & Johnson (J & J) vaccine, which should provide him with an additional measure of protection. His Excellency continues to adhere to all prescribed Covid 19 protocols.”
However, the Ghana Health Service in a statement says they do not recognise the results of the independent tests carried out on Mr. Mene since it was not sanctioned by the public health system of Ghana.
As a result, the Secretary General of AfCFTA “is to remain in isolation until the completion of the statutory seven-day isolation period, and is discharged, as per Ghana’s Covid-19 protocols.”
Several other travellers in a similar situation as Mr. Mene at the Ghana Health Service isolation facilities have raised concerns about the quality of test at the airport and appealed to the service to allow for independent testing to validate the test at the airport.
Dr Da Costa Aboagye, however, appealed to Ghanaians not to bastardise the country’s Covid-19 testing regime at the KIA as it is robust and has contributed immensely in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic in Ghana.
He assured that to reduce further importation of Covid-19 into the country, additional measures have been instituted at the airport.
These include uploading of a negative PCR test of Covid-19, which is not more than 72 hours old prior to departure to a system or software for validation.
This will ensure that only test certificates bearing trusted travel or BIOMARS code will be considered valid for travel out of Ghana.
Arriving passengers will also have to use a tool made available through the Global haven partnership to validate certificates.
These additional measures of validation will help to curtail fake certificates and reduce the number of positive tests at the airport.