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General News of Friday, 28 May 2021

Source: GNA

SEND Ghana calls for logistics for Emergency Response Teams

This is to strengthen the country's health care system and in effect enhance resilience This is to strengthen the country's health care system and in effect enhance resilience

SEND Ghana, a non-governmental organization, has called for the provision of logistics to Emergency Response Teams (ERT) at the forefront of service delivery during health emergencies.

This is to strengthen the country's health care system and in effect enhance resilience during emergencies.

Mrs. Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, Senior Programmes Officer, SEND Ghana, made the call during a stakeholder’s dialogue on access to primary health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project, which sought to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of primary health care services and access for selected groups, was undertaken by SEND Ghana between March and April, 2021, with participants drawn from Accra and Accra Metropolis, Ayawaso East, Ga East and Ashiaman Municipal.

The rest were Asokwa and Tafo Municipals, Oforikrom Municipal and Kumasi Metropolis, targeting slums.
Focus Group Discussions were held with Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV), lactating mothers, aged, and Persons with disability (PWD).

Mrs. Nuamah Agyemang said although ERTs had been set up, they needed logistics and training of key staff to make the execution of their job effective.

She said the findings from the report indicated that the pandemic caused the unavailability of doctors, which had been attributed to the shift system practiced in some health facilities.

Mrs Nuamah Agyemang said according to the report, both public and private facilities suspended their services and attended to only emergency cases which were not COVID -19 related to make way for enough space and workers to address the COVID-19 cases.

It was also recommended that government should invest in infrastructure for e-health and telehealth to enhance virtual health service delivery in all health facilities.

The report recommended that Government should adopt measures to enhance the capacity of locally based pharmaceutical companies to manufacture medications whose supply was largely on importation.

As part of the recommendations, the Ghana Health Service(GHS) was tasked to ensure the establishment of holding centres in all health facilities.

The report indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted service delivery by reducing accessibility to primary care, overwhelmed isolation units, depleted PPE and stock of medicines among others.

It said the utilization of private owned facilities increased from 15 per cent to 26 per cent whiles the use of public health facilities decreased from 85 per cent to 74 per cent during the pandemic.

The report further stated that, due to the increased usage of PPE at the health facilities, supply could not meet the growing demand, which resulted in shortages.

It said the stock level of medicines and vaccines generally dropped due to disruptions in the supply chain, however, available medications were adequate to meet the demand of clients, which was as a result of a reduction in health attendance by the public.

It also noted that, dissatisfaction with service delivery during the pandemic was linked to inadequate medications in health facilities especially with cases of aged persons and PLHIVs, the unavailability of vital sign services and less time spent with doctors.

Dr Andrews Ayim, Deputy Director for Policy, Ghana Health Service said the Service had gradually rolled out a core strategy; Network of Practice with some health centres, which had a lot of resources, as the hub and central system, connected to the community pharmacies, CHIPPS and market clinics to help them run effectively.

Mr Victor Ofori Antwi, Regulatory Pharmacist, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), said the Authority had set up many departments that supported the local industry to build up their capacity and had also collaborated with other agencies to set up clinical drug centres.

‘‘We are ready to set up necessary production facilities for the vaccine so we will help our health system grow,’’ he added.

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