Editorial: Covid-19: The bizarre story in Asuogyaman

According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), out of the 5,735 cases of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) the country has recorded, 1,754 have recovered, with 29 people unfortunately losing their lives. Our big brother Nigeria, on her part, has recorded cases of 6,175, 1,644 recoveries and 192 deaths. In the case of South Africa, it has recorded 16,433 cases, 7298 recoveries and 286 deaths.

The above information indicates that statistically, Ghana is doing well among her peers in Africa. In fact, we are touting ourselves as one of the countries with the highest testing rates in Africa. But, whilst congratulating the GHS and, in fact, all those connected with the fight against the disease for the feat achieved so far, The Chronicle is at the same time alarmed with pronouncements made by two of the recovered Covid-19 victims in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region.

In a story we carried yesterday, one of them told us that “regularly, health personnel visited us at the isolation centre to check our temperature until they said our temperature was normal and they discharged us. We didn’t show any symptoms of the virus, but since the health personnel said the tests they carried on us were positive of the virus, we had to oblige to be isolated.”

Another, a male, said he coughed only once at the workplace, and later when tests were conducted on him, “health personnel said I was positive. At the isolation centre, I was given a cough syrup and Paracetamol. Then after a couple of weeks, the health personnel declared me okay after they had checked my temperature. That’s all.”

Looking at the devastating nature of this disease, one would have expected that thorough checks would be done on victims before they are declared fit or having recovered from the disease. But from the accounts of the two, no testing was done to prove that they had fully recovered. After the officials tested and realised their temperatures had gone down at the isolation centre, they were declared fit and asked to go home.

If these are the methods being used to declare 1,754 as having recovered from the Covid-19 in Ghana, then we are afraid, the country is in for a serious trouble. There are several cases globally where people are found to be carrying the disease without displaying any sign of high temperatures. This is the reason why we have to take samples from suspected victims and do scientific analysis to determine whether the person has the disease or not.

It is wrong for officials to look at somebody in the face and tell him or her that because he is coughing or has a high temperature, automatically the person has the disease, without going through the rigorous process of testing to confirm or otherwise. In the story under reference, the people said they were not even provided with any medication, and that they were given only cough syrup throughout their detention at the isolation centre, and later were told they had recovered.

If this is really true, then it is a bizarre story. The Chronicle is, therefore, calling on the authorities to summon the Asuogyaman District Director of Health Services, Dr Abdul Aziz Abdulai, to Accra for him to explain the method they used in declaring the people as having recovered.  Until this is done, it would be very difficult for The Chronicle to accept the figures being churned out as having recovered.

As the Akan adage goes, when you feed your stomach with wrong diet in the day, it will beat the drums for you to dance to the tune in the night. In other words, if we rush to declare people as having recovered from the Covid-19 disease when the opposite is the case, it will come back to haunt us as a nation. This is the reason why we think whilst calling on the GHS to summon the Health Director in charge of the district to Accra, the former must also strengthen its oversight responsibility so that they could determine what goes on in the various districts, which are mostly rural areas.

We would be laughing at the wrong side of our mouths if we keep policing what is going in our big towns and cities and leave that of the rural areas.  We hope the Ministry of Health, headed by dynamic Kwaku Agyeman Manu and his team, are reading us.  We need to be serious in the fight against the dangerous disease and stop exhibiting a lackadaisical attitude as we suspect is happening in the Asuogyaman District.

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