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General News of Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Source: Starr FM

Surgeon, two critical care staff contract coronavirus at Ho Teaching Hospital

Fear and anxiety have gripped health workers at the Ho Teaching Hospital in the Volta Region after a surgeon and other staff tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility.

The surgeon, who is on housemanship together with two other critical care staff of the Hospital working at the Regional COVID-19 treatment centre have all reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

Since the first case was confirmed in the region, the Ho Teaching Hospital has been overwhelmed with cases, like other medical facilities in the country. At the triage area where suspected cases are kept when the relatively small isolation ward is full, patients are reportedly left in the open and at the mercy of the weather. Due to the situation, Starrfm.com.gh sources say, a patient who was supposed to be sent to isolation centre ended up at the emergency room because of lack of space.

The situation, according to sources, has left other workers at the facility exposed to the virus.

Some staff of the hospital say they have become apprehensive about the situation, and are demanding for mass testing of all health workers.

They are also complaining of shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to work with. Due to the shortage, some have resorted to the use of nose masks made from fabrics to protect themselves.

The PRO of the hospital Amos Jah who could neither confirm nor deny the report said, “health workers all over the country are always exposed in their line of duty. And even if the story is true, this is not the first time such a thing is happening. This isn’t topical to report. Our focus now is dealing with Stigma. Because the case count has been increasing nationally.”

He acknowledged the challenges the hospital is facing with the availability of nose masks.

“As for the PPEs, no health facility in Ghana has enough. This is simply because majority of the PPEs are disposable so they get exhausted through the usage but we keep procuring more. What Central government provides arrive late but even, they get used especially the coveralls, gloves, surgical masks, N95, etc”.

“For the facility, government has also supplied the fabric nose masks to all health workers. We have also through research, supplied high-quality fabric masks to all staff to wear at all times so that their safety is not compromised. So please don’t get it twisted. Those who treat/triage (isolation and treatment centre) suspected cases don’t do that with fabric masks. They use the appropriate clothing,” Mr Jah said.

Dr. Kwesi Senanu Dzokoto, Deputy Regional Director, Ghana Health Services, Public Health, in an interview with starrfm.com.gh refuted the claims of shortage of PPE.

According to him, the hospital has been supplied with enough PPE to enable them work effectively.

He noted that all COVID-19 cases are well managed in the region.

Volta Region recorded its first case of COVID-19 on April 12, 2020 and since then, the number of cases has increased drastically.

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