Many health facilities across the country are yet to implement a Ministry of Health (MoH) directive to set aside holding rooms or isolation centres for any anticipated Ebola case.
With the scare of the Ebola epidemic becoming heightened, many have raised concern over the preparedness of the various health facilities to handle any suspected case.
A visit to some government hospitals by the Daily Graphic showed that while some were making frantic efforts to use their internally generated funds (IGFs) to establish the isolation centres and procure equipment, others were waiting on the government to provide them with the needed funds.
Meanwhile, the government is to set up three Ebola isolation centres in the next 10 days.
They will be at the Tema General Hospital for the southern sector, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi for the middle belt and the Tamale Teaching Hospital for the northern sector.
Although suspected fever cases which were reported at Nsawam and Bawku proved negative for the deadly virus, Ghanaians are still apprehensive of the possible spread of the disease into the country due Ghana’s closeness to the four countries where Ebola-related deaths have been recorded.
This has generated concern over the readiness of health facilities, local agencies and the government to contain the disease if a case is recorded in Ghana.
At the Police Hospital, an isolation centre, made up of tents, has been created.
Although reporters were not allowed access to the tents, available information had it that the two structures which had been fixed on the hospital’s premises were yet to be furnished.
The Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Assistant Superintendent of Police Ms Juliana Obeng, said the hospital was adequately prepared to contain any suspected case of Ebola.
She said the hospital had procured about 15 infrared detectors which were yet to be installed on its premises and in consulting rooms to capture the temperature of people who entered the hospital from a distance.
She added that the hospital had also procured personal protective equipment, as well as sanitizers, for health workers at the hospital, while they were also being trained and educated on the disease.
The Matron of the Adabraka Polyclinic told the Daily Graphic that since the clinic was under the Ridge Hospital, it was the responsibility of the hospital to provide the polyclinic with the requisite equipment and materials.
She, however, noted that efforts were in place to make the equipment available to enable the clinic to contain any suspected Ebola case.
Information from the Ridge Hospital and the 37 Military Hospital was not readily available.
The Director of Public Health at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Dr Dennis Laryea, told the Daily Graphic that the hospital had organised training for some targeted staff who normally came into contact with patients and had also increased awareness among the staff, reports Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor.
Besides, he said, the staff at the entry points of the hospital had been given training to monitor patients who reported to the hospital and send any suspected case to the appropriate area.
According to him, KATH had been designated by the state to provide an isolation centre and it was, therefore, waiting for that.
However, a holding centre for such communicable diseases already existed at the hospital, he noted.
Contrary to the generally held view, he said, such places should not necessarily be physical structures “but the process involved in attending to such patients”.
The European and the Effia Nkwanta Regional hospitals in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis have expressed their preparedness to handle any Ebola cases that may be reported, Andrews Tetteh reports.
The two hospitals gave an assurance that isolation wards had been demarcated for patients who would exhibit symptoms of the disease.
The Medical Superintendent of the European Hospital, Dr Fred Otubuah, told the Daily Graphic that from the hospital’s own efforts, “we have put together disposable theatre gowns, gloves, caps and face masks that will be used by the hospital staff to care for infected patients”.
He said but for the benevolence of a friend to the hospital, the health facility would have no kits to fight the disease, saying the Western Regional Health Directorate had not supplied the facility with any equipment so far.
At the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital, officials indicated that they had put in place procedures that would ensure that any suspected Ebola patient would quickly be quarantined to avoid the spread of the disease.
A visit to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital showed that although a piece of land had been earmarked and cleared for the establishment of an isolation centre, there was no structure on it, report Salomey Appiah & Millicent Fornyikpor.
In an interview, the Head of the Public Health Unit at Korle Bu, Dr Philip K. Amoo, said the hospital had submitted a proposal, including a budget, to the MoH to assist the hospital to build the isolation centre but had not received any response for the past two weeks.
In the interim, he said, the hospital was vigorously embarking on administrative arrangements to ensure that a department was vacated to make way for an isolation centre for any suspected case of the disease.
Dr Amoo added that the selection of teams and the description of work for volunteers and health workers were going on, while training was yet to begin.
Some of the personal protective equipment needed were available, he said, adding, “We still do not have all because we are financially constrained and some of the materials are not even in the country.”