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General News of Thursday, 23 July 2020

Source: Ghanaian Times

Dr Oko Boye gives proper definition for ‘frontline health workers’

A Deputy Minister for Health, Dr Bernard Oko Boye, has said a proper definition has been coined for frontline health workers.

He stated that “the definition for frontline workers, as agreed on with all relevant stakeholders is any health worker, who has been involved in the management of a confirmed case of COVID-19”.

Dr Boye said “Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health and all relevant stakeholders have sat and settled on who qualifies as a frontline worker,” when he was briefing Parliament, in Accra, on Monday on the state of the coronavirus in the country.

Dr Boye’s explanation has finally settled the issue of who a frontline health worker was in the fight against coronavirus.

There have been ‘confusion’ over who a frontline health worker was, following an announcement by the government of a 50 per cent salary top-up for such category of health workers.

According to Dr Boye, the list of frontline health workers, which currently stands at approximately 6000, was one that could change depending on the cases confirmed at facilities and the number of people involved in the management.

He said, “any health worker that is determined as having managed a COVID-19 case, but not being in the current list would be evaluated and captured if in the reviewed list.”

Dr Boye stressed that “the list is a dynamic one that changes with a current situation. The commitment to health workers by the Akufo-Addo government remains unadulterated, firm in its creation and on efforts to overcome this pandemic.”

On delayed payments of the 50 per cent to frontline health workers, Dr Boye, who is also Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku, said the accounts of all 6,000 beneficiaries had been credited.

“I am happy to mention that the 6000 health workers that were vetted and validated as having been in direct management of confirmed COVID-19 cases have had their 50 per cent basic pay for the month of April hit their accounts,” he reported.

On contact tracers, Dr Boye said claims that the government had refused to pay contact tracers were untrue, and that it was a narration composed to create the impression that contact tracing had been abandoned.

He indicated that “for the records, the Ghana Health Service recruited volunteers, who were about two thousand in number during the three weeks of lockdown to help trace and test the 30,000 plus travellers who entered Ghana before the airports were closed.

According to Dr Boye, “the assignment for these volunteers was to last for the period of the lockdown. After the lockdown was lifted and most of the travellers traced and tested, the Ghana Health Service instructed districts to discontinue the engagement with the contracted contact tracers end revert to the use of their community health nurses for contact tracing.”

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