We need face masks and non-contact thermometers- Upper East Regional Hospital

Management of the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga has called on government to supply the facility with non-contact thermometers and disposable face masks to beef up their emergency preparedness towards any possible spread of the coronavirus.

Health professionals at most of the units in the facility, especially the Out-Patient Department (OPD) which is usually crowded, still used contact thermometers to assess temperatures of clients.

At about 1000 hours, when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the facility to assess the level of preparedness of the hospital, which is the major referral Centre for the Region, it was observed that Nurses, who wore reusable face masks instead of the disposable ones, attended to clients with contact thermometers.

Speaking to the GNA in an interview on the facility’s preparedness, Dr Samuel Aborah, the Acting Medical Director of the Hospital said “what we need more now are the face masks and non-contact thermometers with additional Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE).”

He said the facility had no face masks, but had for the meantime, improvised reusable ones to protect frontline care providers.

The reusable face masks were sewn at the facility’s tailoring unit, where about 20 pieces were dispatched to staff as at the time of GNA’s visit, while some were still being sewn.

Dr Aborah said as part of the facility’s readiness, “We have reactivated our Public Health Emergency Management Committee and Rapid Response Teams. We have also put in place the case definitions for suspected Covid-19 and confirmed cases.”

He said the case definitions were distributed to the OPD and the wards, adding that “We have also educated the staff on this case definition to enhance surveillance on the disease. We are putting in place measures to get more hand sanitizers.”

Showing the GNA a four-bed isolation ‘Holding Centre’ of the hospital for suspected cases of the coronavirus, the Acting Medical Director said any suspected case would immediately be admitted there, while the blood sample would be taken for laboratory investigations at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

Dr Aborah said the Pharmacy Unit of the facility was preparing hand sanitizers to supply to all the units, and reiterated the need for urgent supply of non-contact thermometers and disposable face masks.

In a related development, Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) at a news briefing at the instance of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), said even though only the Paga border had a ‘Holding Centre,’ should there be any suspected case, “we can get a place to hold and in the next one or two hours, our team would be there to transport the person to a safe place.”

He noted that it was part of the immediate measures adopted by the Region, to handle any suspected cases at the borders, while they worked to get ‘Holding centres’ at the borders.

Madam Tangoba Abayaga, the Upper East Regional Minister said the meeting was to discuss measures to help prevent the spread of the disease in the Region, and charged Municipal and District Security Councils to engage traditional leaders at local levels and implement the measures of REGSEC.

She also called on the Municipal and District Assemblies to resource the Information Service Department to undertake intensive education in the communities, particularly in the markets on the need for personal hygiene and healthy living, and appealed to the media, especially Radio stations in the Region to make available airtime for officials of the GHS to educate the public on the coronavirus.

Source: GNA

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