Research Fellow at Ghana Centre for Democratic Development and Pharmacist, Dr Kwame Sarpong Asiedu

Pharmacist and Fellow at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), has urged government to beef up Covid-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport(KIA) to prevent the importation of the Indian variant of the corona virus disease into the country.

Speaking to Samson Anyenini on Newsfile, Saturday, Kwame Sarpong Asiedu stated that the reproduction number (transmissibility) of the new variant of the coronavirus disease exceeds what has been experienced by the country, therefore the need to ensure that tests conducted at KIA are foolproof.

“With the latest data that has been released by Public Health Newland, which shows that the reproduction number of the new variant that we are dealing with globally, is past 5.6. The one that got to Ghana was about 3.1. Now the one that has come from India is 5.6.

“We cannot risk that coming to Ghana because of the speed with which it would spread through the country. So I won’t sit here and say that should be done away with,” he stated.

He therefore asked the government to review the contract between the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) and Frontiers Health Services Limited, the firm responsible for Covid-19 testing at the KIA.

“I agree that the pricing needs to be looked at and the contractual agreement needs to be relooked at,” he stated.

The government of Ghana implemented a policy that required all passengers arriving at KIA to be tested for coronavirus at a fee of 150 dollars and 150 dollars for those departing Ghana. 

Frontier Healthcare Services was granted a two-year exclusive right to provide mandatory Covid-19 testing on passengers.

The services rendered by the company have been questioned by several institutions including the Senior Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil.

According to Mr Bentil, a contract that provides the state $10 out of the total cost is detrimental, hence, raises a red flag that requires immediate attention.

This is after the Transport Minister, Kwaku Asiamah revealed to Parliament, June 10, that Frontiers Healthcare Services accrued $16.2 million from Covid-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) between September and December 2020.

“Unfortunately, the state is not benefiting and whoever is benefiting, people are saying, is not Ghanaian. What we do is to try not to repeat this. The whole system must be reviewed including the contract. It is not clear who entered the contract.

“Questions have been raised about the efficacy of the tests. There has to be a review. On the contract propriety,” Mr Bentil stated.