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30.04.2020 Letter

Open Letter To The Central Regional Minster

By Denkyiraman Association
Open Letter To The Central Regional Minster
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Hon. Kwamena Duncan
Central Regional Minster
P. O. Box
Cape Coast
Ghana

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: COVID 19 Pandemic- Degree Of Preparedness And Readiness Of Health Facilities And Medical Staff In Upper Denkyira East And West And Municipal District Of Dunkwa On Offin.

The Denkyiraman Association was formed in London as a voluntary Association of all Denkyiras living in the UK and Ireland on the 7th of July 1991. Over the years, the Association has made numerous valuable donations of Medical Equipment to Dunkwa Municipal Hospital with the most recent one in August 2018 to the tune of 89,000 Ghana cedis.

As the COVID19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world we write to express our concern and worry about the potential impact of the virus could have on our people in the above districts of Denkyira.

We agree with the government's initiatives throughout the country to prevent, contain and stop the spread of the disease. Naturally the focus of the government's Corona Virus policy has been on the hot spots in Greater Accra and Kumasi. However, despite the government's efforts the virus continues to spread to other regions in the country. Luckily the fatalities in the country are relatively small, compared to the scale of deaths in Europe and the USA.

We hope you would agree with us that the relatively small number of fatalities in the country is no reason to be complacent about how dangerous the situation could become. The virus continues to spread to other regions of the country. We understand that one positive case has been confirmed in the central region.

Compared to the hotspots at Kumasi and Accra this is minuscule. However, as you must be aware, the worrying aspect with this virus is its exponential potential to spread very rapidly among the general populace within very short space of time.

We pray and hope that the success of the containment measures taken so far by the government would continue to work. However, for Denkyira area to continue to reap the benefits of the government's containment measures requires that some basic fundamental steps are implemented throughout the country.

It is for this reason that we write to seek information about the measures being taken in Denkyira area to enable the frontline staff and medical facilities to in a state of readiness to handle and deal with any potential outbreak of the virus in the districts and metropolitan districts in Denkyira.

We would like to raise the following points with you and hope you would be kind enough to respond accordingly.

1. Preparedness:

As you must be aware the best form of defence against this deadly virus is how a country prepares its medical facilities and medical staff so that in the event of an outbreak its institutions and personnel are best positioned to combat the break. We hope you know that there is only one government hospital at Dunkwa on offin and one clinic each in each of the districts.

None of these facilities has been in proper shape to deliver the most basic health care to the people of Denkyira for a very long time. Sir if have ever visited Dunkwa hospital for example, you would not have failed to notice that wards are in sorry state.

There are not enough hospital beds, never mind the supply or the availability of bed sheets. You would also have noted that the floors are cracked. Most of the wards do not have any screens; curtains are missing from the ward windows. Water supply to the hospital wards is irregular. The local mortuary has not functioned properly for over a year. We understand there are only two doctors running Dunkwa Municipal Hospital, a situation unacceptable under any circumstances. Unfortunately, our clinics in upper Denkyira East and West are not in any better shape. Both are managed by nurses and by doctors. This in a nutshell is the current state of the Denkyira medical facilities. We hope you would agree with us that as at now the health facilities in Denkyira area are ill-equipped to deal with any potential outbreak of the Virus should it reach the area.

We understand that the government has already allocated funds to the regions to disburse to the districts and municipal areas to enable them to prepare for potential outbreak of the virus. Sir is it possible to provide us with the following: How much of the corona virus fund has been allocated the Denkyira area and which government or local authority agency has been appointed to oversee how the funds are to be spent. We like to be advised about how much of this fund has been allocated to the Denkyira districts. Could you also confirm how much has been allocated to upgrade Dunkwa hospital and the two clinics?

Sir, there are other factors to consider when testing the preparedness for the virus. An essential element is one's ability to identify those who have contracted the disease and how they can be properly isolated from the general population. Linked to this is what you are no doubt familiar with- contact tracing. We have already established that in Denkyira area the medical facilities are inadequate. Also, that there is a dearth of qualified medical staff on the ground. Given this unfortunate state of affairs, could you please reassure us that you have instructed your officers on the ground to recruitment and train qualified personnel who in the event of an outbreak can undertake corona virus testing, undertake contact tracing and ensure compliance with the quarantine measures designed for the purpose. Could you also assure us that you have identified potential isolation centres where those with the virus might be isolated and quarantined?

2. CAPACITY BUILDING:

Sir, as you aware the pandemic has challenged the existing clinical knowledge about immunology and viral physiology and best scientists all over the world. As a result, medical experts and scientists around the world have had to upgrade their existing knowledge and skills in order to equip them to deal with this pandemic. In Ghana's case we expect our capacity building to involve the deepening the skill levels and knowledge of existing staff in our clinics and hospitals throughout the country so as to equip our doctors, nurse and other medical staff with latest skills required to fight the virus.

In relation to Denkyira area we would like to know whether the government or the regional authorities have undertaken any initiatives to ensure that the capacity of the medical team has been deepened so that in the event of an outbreak they would be in a strong position to deliver the required health services in line with best practices elsewhere in Ghana.

3. Training: In addition to capacity building at the local level, the training of medical staff, nurses, paramedics as well as cleaners is equally important. Training could take several forms but in relation to the virus training in basic protocols and procedures are essential. Training for example in emergency ward admission procedures, Covid 19 testing and isolation protocols, the supply and administration of personal protective equipment, how one must wear personal protective equipment, procedures in admission, intensive care medicine and nursing.

4. Supply Chain: Supply and availability of qualified doctors, nurses, hospital beds, medicines, oxygen and Personal Protective Equipment are prerequisite requirements. We hope you would appreciate how important it is for all hospitals to have sufficient number of qualified people and relevant equipment available and ready for use in the event of an outbreak of the virus. We are concerned that the medical facilities in Denkyira area are so inadequate that their capacity to deliver adequate services to our people is already in doubt. Sir are you in a position to assure the people of Denkyira under your leadership as the regional minister you are addressing the problems highlighted in this letter.

Sir, in conclusion, we would like you to note that we have highlighted throughout this letter our concerns about how inadequate health services provision in the Denkyira area is. We have also raised a number of remedial actions you could take to improve the situation. Obviously, it is not our intention to meddle in your work. But please note the virus is deadly and its impact is devastating. We hope the virus is contained as it is now and that it does spread to Denkyira area and does not wreck the communities in Denkyira area. Denkyira people deserve better and expect to be treated fairly. This is all that we are asking for. We do not expect to be treated any better or any less than other communities in central region.

We look forward to hearing from you soon

Yours sincerely,

Kweku Bedu-Addo
Chairman
{for and on behalf of Denkyiraman Association UK}

Cc: COVID19 National Coordination secretariat
Office of the President
Ghana High Commission UK
Central Regional House of Chiefs
Chief Executive Municipal Council
District Chief Executive – Upper Denkyira -East and West

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