When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in China late last year, the government of Ghana was presented with a challenge to save lives, with a focus on limiting the importation of the virus.
But when the country recorded its first two imported cases in March 2020, an additional focus came to limit on the community spread of the virus.
Ghana has recently been placed third in the world for the effective management of the virus and according to Deputy Minister for Health, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, the government’s prioritisation of accurate COVID-19 test results is largely responsible for this.
The Deputy Minister made this assertion when MODEC Production Services Ghana Limited, together with its partners – Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Marubeni Corporation – donated over $600,000 worth of equipment and PPE to the Ministry of Health.
Dr. Okoe Boye contended that Ghana had “done well because our labs didn’t turn their backs on us. The policy of tracing, testing and treating has been very key to Ghana’s success story… Well, our objective still is to do zero active cases in the shortest possible time and that will be possible with partnerships like these where we get the necessary items in testing, tracing and making sure that we keep a very safe environment.”
As part of measures to combat the virus, the National COVID-19 Trust Fund was established to solicit support from individuals, organisations and international donors, to augment the government’s efforts.
The testing kits, laboratory equipment, consumables, reagents and PPE donated to the Ministry of Health are for onward distribution to 4 COVID-19 testing centres namely; Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR), Takoradi Veterinary Laboratory (TVL) and National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL).
The Managing Director of MODEC, Theo Ahwireng, explained that the reason behind the gesture is to boost the capabilities of the facilities.
“We all know that COVID-19 has been a very powerful pandemic around the world. MODEC globally believes in very strong health and safety arrangements for the citizenry and its workers. Since the inception of COVID-19, we have supported other institutions in various ways to see to it that they actually are able to test, treat and manage COVID-19 cases. We believe strongly that we should not rest on our oars at the moment; we must keep on with the fight until we have eradicated COVID-19, and we think it is an opportune time to give the testing agencies more capacity to be able to do their job.”
“Essentially, if you would remember when the pandemic broke out, there were only two testing centres in Ghana; Noguchi and KCCR, so they were the original targets. And as we expanded the capabilities, it was clear that we needed to go out. You should know that our operations are in the Western Region and these other two testing centres cover the Takoradi area, and they actually have also given us immense support during the early days of COVID-19.”
Dr. Okoe Boye, further admonished the general public to devotedly adhere to the mandatory wearing of nose masks as COVID-19 hasn’t completely been eradicated.
“It’s a very exciting situation to have a donation at such a time because there are folks who assume that the pandemic is over in this country. People even sometimes ask me, ‘Doctor, why are you people still wearing the mask? The virus is gone.’ But you know, fighting an infectious agent is like fighting a bush fire; and until the last bit is extinguished, the situation can get worse again… We are still in this war and it is only when the last soldier is cut out that we can take a breather.”