Authorities Intensify Sampling, Testing And Contact Tracing At Ghana’s Ports To Fight Covid-19

A Senior Medical Laboratory Officer, and Consultant Medical Laboratory Scientist, at GPHA Gideon Lamptey, has allayed concerns by some sections of the public that, COVID-19 test results emanating from the national testing centres may be compromised.

Speaking on the Eye on Port program, he said the systems in place for sample taking and testing are so robust that deliberate forgery or mistakes with respect to test results are practically impossible.

“Looking at the systems in place at the test centres, it would be very difficult. They have systems to check that the samples being taken are correct samples.”

“Looking at Noguchi for example, they have their reputation as a renowned testing center and they have a reputation to protect because they are internationally accredited,” he added.

Mr. Lamptey urged the public not to entertain such false public speculations as they are intended to only exacerbate the already existing apprehension surrounding the coronavirus.

Instead he urged the public to in addition to practising the COVID-19 prevention protocols, to avail themselves to health officers during the taking of samples for testing.

Gideon however called for some intervention to address some inefficiencies associated with the Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS) introduced by government.

“The only challenge we have is with the entry system, SORMAS, which is very good for tracking the cases and their location, but sometimes there are delays,” he complained.

The Consultant Medical Laboratory Scientist, indicated that, at the Tema Port where he works, processes have been intensified to increase vigilance and compliance to testing protocols.

He revealed that sample taking exercises at nation’s port have intensified especially as crew change activities have increased.

“What we do basically is to ensure that we receive a medical report from the incoming crew 72 hrs, at about 10-15 Nautical Miles, to give prior notice of their intention and if they intend to do crew change. Once they get to the anchorage we go there and take samples and have them quarantined until results are ready. Similar procedures are done for the crew coming to take over,” he explained.

Also speaking on the same program, Dr. Kissi Dompreh-Ofori, who is a Senior Medical Officer and Clinical Care Lead at GPHA encouraged the public to take health and safety protocols associated with the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

He said it is important to acknowledge the ferocity of the virus as it is delivering more severe consequences on patients than formerly expected in 2020.

“Unfortunately we tend to see that there a lot more deaths now. And before we were seeing deaths among elderly people with comorbidities. Now we are seeing deaths among relatively younger people with no comorbidities,” he disclosed.

He revealed that truly as speculated, there has been a detection of a new variant of the coronavirus in the country.

He said this newer variant is 70% more transmissible and appears to be more violent than the initial one that dominated the public space the entirety of 2020.

Dr. Dompreh-Ofori however urged the public not to panic, but emphasized the need for the public to intensify their adherence to the COVID-19 prevention protocols.


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