The spike of community infections of the novel coronavirus pandemic across Ghana’s five regions in the north will be very devastating.

This  is because of the inadequate preparedness of healthcare facilities coupled with low confidence level in healthcare workers to handle COVID-19 cases.  

NORSAAC, a nongovernmental organization has established through research that, about 66% and 49% cumulatively of respondents have less confidence in their health facilities and their own capacity to tackle the pandemic.

The NGO has conducted an assessment of the micro readiness of health facilities in managing suspected or real cases of COVID-19 and the availability of requisite equipment to support the fight against the disease in those parts of the country.  

However, it emerged that little or none of the government’s essential materials has trickled done to some of these areas.

Some of the respondents complained there hasn’t been adequate training of healthcare staff but only briefings.

Therefore, NORSAAC believes that based on these findings, the targeted regions and districts are not ready for a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Monitoring and Evaluation Manager of NORSAAC, Mr. Issah Aminu Danaa who is also a member of the research team explained to THE CUSTODIAN that the arrival of urban migrants in these communities was a cause to worry.

CSO Assessment on micro readiness on COVID-19 in Northern Ghana medi briefing

 “We felt that this was the time to find out how our communities were faring because many CSOs had abandoned their communities because people had to work from home due to the virus.”

“But we found out that these communities only have CHPS compounds and health centres, so we were then interested to know if the migrants settled down and there was a community outbreak, can the available facilities manage even suspected cases let alone real cases?”

Mr. Danaa noted as first port of call for these communities, the facilities lacked basic equipment such as medical mask, gloves, disinfectants, thermometer guns among others.

As a result, he indicated some respondents were adamant to give out information alleging there were directives to them against any Covid-19 related survey or discussion.  

Nonetheless, one hundred and eight (108) frontline health staff in 90 communities and health facilities in 18 districts cross the five regions were contacted as well as regional and district Covid-19 response teams.  

Impact of Covid-19 on ANC and PNC

Both Anti Natal Care and Post Natal Care service delivery at these health centres have been affected due to the impact of the virus. 

This, Mr. Issah Aminu Danaa blamed on lack of national guidelines to sustain a healthy human population.

Again, less attention is given to reproductive health service because of the fear of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on people’s movement. 

In view of this, Mr. Danaa argued this could result in unsafe sex and eventually causing unwanted teenager pregnancies.

Recommendations

NORSAAC in view of the highlighted outcomes has urged the Ghana Health Service to build the capacity of all medical and non-medical staff on Covid-19 issues.

It further implored government to demonstrate transparency in the distribution of essential equipment across the country.

Moving forward, the organization wants a clear national plan on the sustainability of essential services such as youth friendly services, ANC and PNC in this era of COVID-19. 

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