Medical practitioner and lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr Otchere Addai Mensah says Ghana’s continuos reliance on only the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) for testing for COVID-19 in the wake of growing number of cases could “breed apprehension” among people.
To him, there are other facilities in the country that could do even more testing over a period of time than the two that have been relied on, should they be resources to do so.
“The truth is that, of the test that have so far been done, a large chunk of them, when we were at 4500, before these 15000 would come in, KCCR had done about 350 of the tests; the remaining were carried out by the NMIMR ; the truth is that, we cannot have only two centres responsible for these tests, since the results would take long in coming”, he said in an interview with Kumasi-based Angel FM monitored by MyNewsGh.com on Wednesday morning.
Dr Addai Mensah who is also the National Vice President of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), proposed to government to consider the yet to be fully used University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC), which is more fit for the purposes of research than the NMIMR and the KCCR.
“We can resource other facilities; look at the UGMC; it’s a quaternary medical centre unlike Komfo Anokye and Korle-BU which are tertiary. It was set up purposely for that; research, in addition to seeing patients among other things. I think that we ought to have by now, equipped the UGMC to be part of the centres that are undertaking these tests”, he suggested.
Of the COVID-19 tests which he described as “delicate”, could be done “easily”; “so the additional test centres have been too long in coming and I don’t think this is good enough”.
The Vice Dean of Students of the KNUST also recommended the Kintampo Health Research Centre and the Navrongo Health Research Centre to be set for COVID-19 testing though they are not “Bio-Safety Level 3 laboratory” compliant; “I’m sure that once we are clear in our minds for them to also undertake the tests, we can set them up to do it”.
He however applauded the efforts of government so far in the handling of the growing cases of COVID-19 in Ghana; “all in all I think that the leaders of the country have done well; I salute them, irrespective of the challenges they have faced in the management of the pandemic”.
As at the time of filing this story, Ghana’s case count for COVID-19 stood at 313.
The Ghana Health Service attributes the sudden increase to the results of enhanced contact tracing and testing.