COVID-19: Gov’t replaces contact tracers with Community Health Nurses

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Government has disengaged services of contact tracers for Covid-19.

The duties have now been assigned to community health nurses, this is according to deputy health minister Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye who spoke on behalf of the health minister in parliament Monday.

The move follows agitations from the contact tracers who laid down their tools a month ago over government decision to slash their GHC150 allowance to GHC75.

“The claim that government has failed to pay contact tracers qualifies as an inaccurate expression, composed to create the impression that contact tracing had been abandoned. The Ghana Health Service recruited volunteers who were about 2, 000 in number during the three weeks of lock down…after the lockdown was lifted, the GHS instructed districts to discontinue their engagement with the contracted contact tracers and revert to the use of community health nurses for the purposes of contact tracing.”

According to the deputy minister,  government has so far spent over $34 million in combating the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Coordinator of Ghana’s COVID-19 testing programme, Professor William Ampofo, has indicated that the country’s testing capacity is back to full throttle after taking delivery of laboratory equipment and supplies.

Speaking at the Ministry of Information briefing in Accra on Sunday, Prof. Ampofo disclosed that all ten of the country’s testing centers have taken delivery of bulk testing equipment, reagents and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

“I am glad to report that as I mentioned in the previous briefing the ten existing testing sites have received enough supplies to enhance testing at these sites and distribution has already been done. We have procured examination gloves, nucleic acid, isolation kits and the PCR detention kits.

While these were coming into the country, we also did an emergency procurement through the Ghana Health Service supported the COVID Trust and those items also arrived last week. These are very important items especially for Noguchi and KCCR because they enable us to do automated extraction of the nucleic acid and this will help us get through the backlog which is the point of interest for some of us.”

According to him government has distributed close to 50,000 PCR kits and close to 30,000 nucleic acid extraction kits which form the basis for PCR testing to the various testing centers in the country. This he said there are plans to replenish the various centers with these kits so they do not go out of stock.

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/Ibrahim Alhassan

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