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Opinions of Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Columnist: : Addo-Lartey A, Aheto J, Bonful HA, Ganle J, Sarfo B, Aryeetey R.

Prevention of COVID-19 in Ghana: Compliance audit of selected transportation stations in Accra

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Summary of findings

1. Majority (80%) of public transportation stations in Accra have at least one Veronica Bucket with flowing water and soap but the number of washing places at each Station is not adequate.

2. Only a small minority of Stations (18%) were communicating the need to wash hands frequently and appropriately, and to practice social/physical distancing while at the station.

3. In most stations (95%), handwashing practice was either not observed or only infrequently.

4. Almost all stations (93%) did not have alcohol-based hand sanitizer for public use.

5. Social distancing was rarely practiced; it was observed in only 2% of stations.

Background and purpose of study

Ghana, together with 210 countries and territories around the world are experiencing COVID-19, a global pandemic that causes fatal respiratory illness.

Because little evidence exists on transmission patterns of COVID-19 national recommendations to limit transmission include appropriate and frequent hand-washing plus physical and social distancing.

Experts at the University of Ghana School of Public Health in Ghana explored how these recommendations were being practiced in selected public transportation stations in urban areas in Accra, Ghana.

Study approach

A one-hour audit of 45 public transport stations in Accra and Tema was carried out between 27th and 28thth March 2020, by trained assessors.

The audit assessed how handwashing and social/physical distancing guidelines were 1) communicated and 2) enforced at the included transport stations.

We also determined the availability, access, and adequacy of infrastructure needed for these guidelines to be successfully practiced at the stations.

Key findings

Recommended actions

1. Awareness creation should aim to elevate risk perception of transportation operators and clients

2. Transport operators and stations need support and guidance to enforce handwashing and Social distancing

3. Lessons from best-performing stations need to be transferred to poorly performing stations