Dr. Norman Insists Ghana Is Not Ready For Coronavirus
President of the Institute for Security, Disaster and Emergency Studies, Ismael Norman, has described Ghana's preparedness against the deadly Corona Virus as a joke.
According to Dr. Norman, the country has not done much when it comes to containment policy should there be an outbreak or a confirmed case of the novel corona virus which is wrecking havoc in China and other parts of the globe. "The perceived adequacy of Ridge Hospital or Tema as a treatment center for the corona virus should the disease finally be in Ghana is a joke", he said.
Ishmael Norman was speaking at a public forum on the Global Scourge of Corona Virus on the theme "Emerging Infectious Diseases and their Effects on Public Health Management in Ghana" at TV3 Executive Theater.
Dr. Norman enumerated a number of reasons for the lack of preparedness. According to him, allocation of 9 medical doctors and 26 nurses with a designated ward at the Ridge Hospital is woefully inadequate for a disease of such magnitude. Alluding to China's inability to contain the number of patients the virus produces daily, he stated that Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service have lied to Ghanaians about our preparedness. He questioned authorities about other facilities earmarked to help manage and contain people aside Tema and Ridge Hospitals. He also questioned the level of engagements with private health practitioners about the use of their facilities and personnel should the need arise.
After scoring Ghana's containment and management plan at 30%, he mentioned that " if Ghana were to have confirmed cases, there would be complete breakdown of communication between the public and competent health professionals". This, he attributed to the lack of operational manual for doctors and nurses to implement the Ghana Public Health Act of 2012. He blamed the GHS and the MoH for failing to put a legislative Instrument together for the past 7 years since the act was passed in 2012. For him the LI would among other things provide protection, and give medical professionals the mandate to evacuate, quarantine and isolate patients in emergencies.
He ended on the note that in terms of risk communication, both MoH and GHS have done the country and Ghanaians a great dis- service. He said the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health have reduced risk communication to mass media publications through newspapers, Radio and TV broadcast.
Also speaking at the forum, Dr. Issaka Yakubu, an aerospace medicine specialist buttressed Dr. Norman's point that Ghana is not prepared for the Corona virus. "In Ghana now if I look at what we call isolation rooms, it's more of a pity. I think we are still not prepared", he stated.
Dr. Yakubu also said it is not a wise decision to use the structures used for Ebola for the corona virus because the mode of transmission of the pathogens are not the same.
According to WHO, Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.