“We have resolved that we will carry on this fight no matter what it takes….we know some of us will be taken away by COVID-19, but that is not going to let us down,” Dr Frank Ankobea, the GMA President, said.
He gave that assurance when the Association met with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra, to discuss the COVID-19 crisis.
Dr Ankobea said the Association would continue to mobilise all health workers and “fight to the end of this pandemic.”
Applauding the bold decisions that the President has so far taken to contain the pandemic, Dr Ankobea said it was gratifying that apart from those measures, the Government recognised the work of health workers by instituting incentive packages for them.
“When you are working and the President of the nation recognises the work that you are doing, it is very, very encouraging, and I must tell you we have resolved that we’ll carry on this fight no matter what it takes,” he said.
The GMA President called on the Government to take steps to ensure the equitable distribution of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and other essential logistics to frontline health workers across the country.
“We are on the ground and we know where the PPE must go. We know some of our colleagues are really suffering in the interior. The distribution of the PPE should go to those who really need them to work on the ground,” he said.
Dr Ankobea was happy that President Akufo-Addo had made the announcement that PPE would be produced locally.
He said evidence had shown that pandemics hit the world every five years and that it would pay the country well if it prepared itself for the next wave of viruses, urging the government to link the Association with the local plastics industry to enable healthcare workers to get their own aprons, overalls, goggles and shields.
“We would be very, very grateful… and that would mean that we have started the preparations for the next pandemic.”
Dr Ankobea underscored the importance of putting up intensive care units at all regional hospitals and resourcing their laboratories to carry out the testing for COVID-19.
He also urged the government to engage and improve the stock of PPE in private health institutions as most of the cases would move through private hospitals and “if they don’t know how to make diagnostics, protect themselves, and don’t have PPE we will have a challenge…so we should engage the private sector as we move along”.
President Akufo-Addo, on his part, commended Ghanaian health workers for their sacrifice and commitment to the care of those infected with coronavirus and other diseases.
“I appreciate, and the country appreciates very much, the work you are doing, and to encourage you that, at this stage more than at any time in your professional career, you will really be standing up for the people of Ghana in everything that you do,” he said.
The President noted that doctors and healthcare personnel were at the heart of the pandemic that had implications on the socio-economic life of Ghanaians.
“You are at all times relevant to the lives of the society. If you step up to the plate and show the people of Ghana the commitment to their welfare, it will make all the difference to our capacity to deal with the pandemic.”
“I don’t think there will come a time when the Hippocratic Oath will be more in need of support and enforcement than it is today,” he added.