The President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Frank Ankobea, has given an assurance that its members are prepared to go the extra mile to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and save the country, even at their peril.
“It is very encouraging when the President of the nation recognises the work you are doing and I must tell you that we have resolved that we will carry on this fight no matter what it takes. We know that some of us may be taken away by COVID-19, but that is not what will let us down. We will continue to mobilise all the health workers and fight to end this COVID-19,” he assured.
Meeting with President
Dr Ankobea gave the assurance when the leadership of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) held a brainstorming session with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo about how best to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The meeting, which was at the invitation of the President to also commend the health workers for their sacrifices, attracted the leadership of the GMA from across the country.
Also in attendance were the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu and other government officials.
Dr Ankobea commended President Akufo-Addo for the bold decision he had taken throughout the COVID-I9 era: from the lockdown, closure of borders, the incentive packages offered to the health workers and the recognition of their work.
The GMA president also welcomed the President, decision to commission the production of PPE locally because that was the next critical move in confronting health issue, especially, when evidence had indicated that a pandemic would occur every five years.
Dr Ankobea said the GMA would be very happy if the President would liaise with the plastic industry to produce aprons, overalls, goggles, shields and others locally, saying, “that would mean that we have started the preparation for the next pandemic.”
He added that COVID-19 had exposed the shortcomings of the world, which would never remain the same and therefore, called for the expansion and establishment of intensive care units in every region hospital and the training of more critical care nursing staff.
He said most of the cases would move through the private sector and so if personnel there did not know how to make diagnoses and protect themselves, there would be a challenge, hence the need to engage the private sector as well.
President Akufo-Addo stated a determination in dealing decisively with COVID-19 was for the country to build a public health system that could really serve the health needs of the country in the 21st century.
“I think that if at the end of this crisis the consequence of it is that we have a stronger public health system in Ghana, it is to the good of all of us and that should be one of our goals that out of confronting this pandemic, we will have a public health system that can really serve the needs of MU century Ghana,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo was full of praise for the medical professionals for the efforts they had been making, even at great cost to their lives, especially in some instances where the materials needed were not there.
He encouraged them to do more for Ghana.
The President gave an assurance that the government would continue to meet their requirements for the fight and that it had started rolling out some measures to assist them, noting that the situation would require more also from their sacrifices.
President Akufo-Addo said the Ministry of Health would be holding discussions with them about who constituted a frontline worker to arrive at an acceptable conclusion.
Intensive care units
Reacting to suggestions from the GMA for all regional and teaching hospitals to have standard intensive care units and well-trained staff, President Akufo-Addo said the government had taken their suggestion on board and would work towards it.
He also assured the association that the government would streamline the distribution of the PPE so that areas that required them received the needed stocks and commended the association for donating to various hospitals in the country.
President Akulo-Addo said the crisis had culminated in the government declaring a public health emergency with unprecedented measures, with its dramatic consequences on the socio-economic life of the country.
He said at the heart of the entire fight were the medical doctors and that although they had been very relevant at all times to the life of society, the current situation demanded more from them and stated “that if you step up to the plate and show the people of Ghana your commitment to their welfare, it would make all the difference to our capacity to deal with this pandemic.”
The President said he was aware of the difficulties in the economy that had made it impossible to make available all things that the doctors and health workers required to work without thinking about issues of bread and butter, but gave an assurance that the government was doing its best to meet their needs.
Touching on the role private hospitals played as first ports of call for suspected patients, President Akufo-Addo said the government was finding a coordinated way for a public private health sector response to the fight.
Source: Graphic Online