A call by medical laboratory scientists in Ghana in May this year for the government to retool over 100 GeneXpert machines for sample testing of COVID-19 has been repeated.
Dr Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, a public health physician, repeated the call during an exclusive interview with GhanaWeb.
â€œWe have these GeneXpertÂ® machines that were procured to fight Tuberculosis [TB]. A lot of them can be configured to test for COVID as wellâ€¦and we know that there are a number of them scattered across the country.
â€œFor a long time, there was the discussion for government to retool these machines and for them to be used for COVID testing. I hope that government is going to move rapidly on that so that we can fully deploy some of these machines,â€ he said.
The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) released a statement in May to say that the TB testing machines, when put to use, can produce test results for COVID-19 within 45 minutes.
â€œWhy is there silence on the use of GeneXpert (TB testing machine which can be adopted to test for COVID-19) available in a minimum of 100 laboratories in Ghana? What is holding government from facilitating the procurement of reagents (cartridges) that could enable COVID-19 testing and produce results in 45 minutes using GeneXpert equipment?â€ the Association quizzed.
Dr Sodzi-Tettey also told GhanaWeb in a recent interview that although the government has rolled a lot of social interventions to manage COVID-19, â€œit makes a difference if you can conduct the test and know where people stand and then you give them the requisite support.â€
Dr Sodzi-Tettey, who has been elected to serve on the board of the Ireland-based International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua), further urged government to pay allowances promised the health workers.
â€œI know that the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health are saying that they are compiling lists of frontline workers and all of that but I will say that given the kind of sacrifices that people have made and length of time that it has taken up to this time, I would expect that this ought to have been concluded by now,â€ he said.
In his 18th address to the nation on the pandemic on Sunday, October 18, 2020, President Nana Akufo-Addo, implored Ghanaians to look out for each other, as being each otherâ€™s keeper would help the nation attain its target of zero active cases.
â€œI have said before, let us continue to look out for one another, and remain each otherâ€™s keeper, and I am confident that, by doing so, we will emerge victorious in the fight against COVID-19.
â€œZero active cases must be the goal, and I have no doubt that, together, and with the help of God, this too shall pass, for the Battle is still the Lordâ€™s,â€ he said.