The Ghana Health Service has directed health facilities in the country not to refer any suspected Lassa fever cases to Tema General Hospital or any higher institution.
Health facilities from CHPS compound to higher institutions must create a small holding place to observe patients and take their samples for testing.
Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, Director-General of the GHS, gave the directive when he paid a working visit to the Tema General Hospital, the first health facility to record a Lassa Fever case in Ghana.The Director General added that, the hospitals after isolating the suspected patient, should immediately report the case to the respective supervising district health directorate for a management team to be dispatched to the place for assessment.
The team he stated, would provide the needed transportation when the need to refer to the infectious centre arises.
The directive is to curb the unnecessary spread of the disease through transporting and handling of a suspected patients from one hospital to the other.
Dr. Asare said even though TGH has the only working infectious disease centre, transferring suspected Lassa fever case to Tema could lead to a spread of the disease.
He explained that due to the lack of proper health transportation for referred patients, the probability of spreading the disease through referral was high.
“A referred suspected patient can vomit in the taxi which will end up at the washing bay and subsequently spread the disease to others as the driver does not know what sickness the patient is suffering from”, he noted.
Dr. Asare indicated that other measures put in place to ensure the containment of the disease included temperature checking of people at the country’s entry points.
He added that the 32 Ghanaian health officials who helped in the control of Ebola in Liberia were also being contacted to help prevent the spread of Lassa Fever in Ghana.
He commended the TGH for effectively diagnosing and holding the deceased Lassa Fever patient, and assured that health officials of the hospital who worked on the patient were being monitored.
The Director -General said plans were underway to make the hospital a secondary referral point especially for infectious disease.
Dr. John Yabani, Tema Metropolitan Health Director, in a welcome address, thanked the Director-General and his entourage for visiting the hospital to assure health officials of their support.