The Health Committee of Parliament has asked government to allocate more resources towards the fight against a possible outbreak of the Coronavirus in Ghana.
The Committee says the ¢2.5 million start-up fund released out of the total ¢35 million allocated, is not enough.
“We were told the budget for the whole arrangement has so far been pegged at ¢35 million and ¢2.5 million has been given as seed capital.
“But we still think it is on a lower side because we need to do a lot of mobilization of logistics and all that,” Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Kwabena Twum Nuamah told JoyNews.
Government has already allocated some ¢2.5 million for the implementation of the ‘coronavirus initial response preparedness plan’ with the Ministry of Health initiating a process to procure 10,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to augment what was already in store for use by all front-line workers
But touching on these measures, Dr. Kwabena Twum Nuamah insists the ¢2.5 million will not adequately prepare the country. According to him, more money must be released to the necessary agencies, or risk a possible outbreak due to an oversight.
“We are calling on government to actually increase this funding and make it available to the agencies so they can mobilize all the needed logistics to prepare ourselves and not wait till when we get a case.
“Our plans look okay but the challenge is how to actualize them and funding is the issue. I think if we are able to get adequate funding at the right time, we can fight this since we have enough personnel to assist with the issue,” he said.
We are working to keep coronavirus out of Ghana – Government
Meanwhile, Government says it is working tirelessly to keep the deadly coronavirus out of the country.
Interior Minister Ambrose Dery who gave the assurance in an interview with JoyNews said all measures earlier mapped out by the Health Ministry are strictly being followed especially at the country’s borders.
“Since the outbreak of the virus, the Minister of Health has been to Parliament to roll out what we have to do to check it.
“I can assure you that we are going to follow it judiciously and we believe that with those measures in place, we can do with the coronavirus what we did with Ebola.”
15 suspected cases encountered in Ghana
The Ministry of Health says Ghana has encountered a total of 15 suspected cases of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) as of February 12, 2020, but they have all tested negative.
This revelation was made in a statement from the Ministry sighted by Myjoyonline.com.
According to the communique, samples of these cases were “sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research for tests after which they were declared negative.”
These include two patients – a Chinese and an Argentine – whose blood samples on February 6, underwent testing for the infection at the institute after visiting the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, with symptoms of the virus.
There are now 45,171 confirmed cases in 25 countries and at least 1,115 deaths, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation.
The statement signed by Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu also outlined preventive measures instituted at the various entry points of the country.
“Disease surveillance within the country and at the points of entry has been heightened, as we work in collaboration with the Ghana Immigration Service and other Port Authorities,” it read.
It further disclosed that the prevention and control mechanisms cut across strengthening “Surveillance internally and at Points of Entry, Case Management, Risk Communication and Social Mobilization, Coordination, Laboratory testing and Logistics support.”