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Opinions of Sunday, 15 March 2020

Columnist: Kwadwo Owusu Nyarko, Contributor

A senior health practitioners take on basics of coronavirus, prevention and hand sanitizer use in Ghana and beyond

Richard Owusu Nyarko, a senior health practitioner/health research scientist and trainee in medicine and surgery has advised Ghanaians on the coronavirus that has been declared pandemic by the world health organisation.

Earlier today, four more cases of the coronavirus was confirmed by the Director of Public Health at Ghana Health Service, Dr. Badu Sarkodie during a press briefing on the current status of the country at the Information Ministry, Sunday, March 15, 2020.

Below is the advise from Richard Owusu Nyarko ( Bsc, MHCM, MBA (MB ChB & PhD student):

COVID -19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus which surfaced in China in December 2019.

COVID -19 symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and at times bodily pains.

COVID -19 can be severe, and can cause death if not attended to immediately.

The new coronavirus spread basically from person to person through moisture from the nose or mouth, which is passed on when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

There is no coronavirus vaccine approved or certified by the world health organisation yet and we hoping sooner scientist get the break through.

- Prevention involves frequent hand washing with soap effectively one with antiseptic.

- Coughing must be done into the bend of ones elbow away from people.

- Self confinement or staying home when one shows symptoms while he/she alerts health authorities.

- The public should be careful on the influx of hand sanitizers at the market during such season since most retail and whole sale outlets can use it as a business venture only.

- The advise is preferably only alcohol based hand sanitizers with concentration between 60 – 95% should be used since they are more effective in killing pathogens than those with a lower alcohol concentration or zero alcohol - based hand sanitizers.

- Hand sanitizers with lower concentration of alcohol of 60 - 95% is not very effective and do not work equally well to kill many types of pathogens and possibly only reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them.

- Also the hands can be more greasy and soiled in our part of the world and local settings due to the nature of work and activities especially for market women and men, mechanics, factories and industry workers and the advise is one should first and foremost wash the hands with runing water and soap before applying the alcohol based hand santizers and if this is done it can make our aim of prevention better and achieved.

- In applying Alcohol based hand sanitizers the public should take note that the more you apply to make the palms and hands wet with the the alcohol hand sanitizer the better and one should wait for it to dry before engaging in other activities to make it more effective.

- One should also be careful in the use of Alcohol based hand sanitizers in children and parents should supervise the application since it can cause alcohol poisoning if someone swallows more than necessary and same applies to adults.

The public should take a critical look on labels on hand sanitizers to see the alcohol concentration if it is within the range of 60 to 95% with up to date expiry dates and the aim of prevention can be more effective and achieved.

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