The Leadership of Ghana Association of Public Health Technical Officers (GAPHTO) has sent a strong warning to the Ministry of Health of possible withdrawal of members from the ongoing COVID-19 contact tracing exercise if their requests are not granted.
According to GAPHTO, the Ministry’s continuous delay of financial clearance and employment of Allied Health workers will affect the exercise.
In a statement signed by the National President, Mavis Fuseini, she said “We are disappointed to note as has always been the case against Allied Health Professional that, a recruitment notice has been issued for 2017 Nurses and Midwives whiles nothing is heard of us who are already risking our lives doing COVID-19 contact tracing”
She noted that should any of the professionals take any action as a result of the neglect, GAPHTO will not restrain rather join since it is backed by law.
Madam Fuseini added that GAPHTO has taken notice of a continuous relegation of its members to the background as national resources trickle down to Districts and Health Facilities for the purposes of fighting COVID-19.
She also reminded the Ministry that the critical roles its members play over the years are done with extreme sacrifices to the detriment of their own welfare.
The National President however noted that no amount of financial motivation is more expensive than the lives of GAPHTO members like other health workers.
She cautioned that if measures are not put in place to employ its members, the designated frontline workers will not be able to fight COVID-19 alone.
The Ghana Association of Public Health Technical Officers (GAPHTO) however applauded Government for the provision of free for health staff in the Greater Accra and Kumasi Regions to enable them go to work.
“The Expansion of the COVID-19 Health staff insurance package to cover accidents in the line of duty and the provision of adequate fuel for vehicular and motor transport should be implemented urgently in all regions” she stated.
Madam Fuseini added that GAPHTO is receiving reports from its members that there are lack of maximum cooperation by some hospitals as they try to link probable and confirmed cases to these institutions for further management.
The Ghana Association of Public Health Technical Officers (GAPHTO) also called on Government and Ministry of Health to treat as urgent the rising cases of Meningitis in the Upper West Region of the country.
She said “So far it has claimed about 33 lives from 214 cases from January to date indicating a case fatality rate of about 15%”
She mentioned that while efforts are being made to contain COVID-19 cases in the country, other critical health care interventions and situations such as the outbreak should not be neglected.
In other developments, the Ghana Association of Public Health Technical Officers on Wednesday made a donation to the Ministry of Health as part of its support to the fight against coronavirus.
The items which is worth GHC50,000 included 42 pieces of goggles, 41 pieces of coverall, 1,700 pieces of face Mask, 32 gallons of hand sanitizer and 40 pieces of non-contact thermometers (order placed).
Receiving the donation, Deputy Minister of Health, Alexander Abban thanked the association for its kind gesture and assured that frontline staffs will receive the items.
Respond to calls by the association to employ its members, Hon Abban said “We have heard of their concerns but I think they have sort audience with His Excellency and will be meeting with him”
Touching on calls by some nurse to make the COVID-19 Stimulus package for all, he said “It will cease to be an incentive for frontline health workers if we say that it should just be blanket for all of them. In that case even someone in Administration who is part of this fight will say ‘I am’ entitled but what happens to those who are actually going to the frontline?”
The Ghana Association of Public Health Technical Officers (GAPHTO) is an association which is an Amalgam of Field Technicians, Health Records Assistants, and Technical officers (Nutrition, Disease Control, Community Health, and Health Information) are the foremost group of frontline Public Health Workers in Disease Control and Surveillance, Nutrition and Health Information Systems Management sacrificing their lives across Districts and Health Facilities to ensure the Country contains the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.