COVID-19: Findings of study on health sector’s response disseminated in Accra


A study on the health systems capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic amidst the provision of essential health services has shown that there were inadequate medicines at health facilities at the peak of the pandemic.

The research conducted by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in June 2021 also highlighted the unavailability of laboratory and diagnostic equipment in health facilities at the onset of the pandemic.

Professor Cornelius Debpuur, Deputy Director of Research at the GHS, who disseminated findings of the survey at a meeting in Accra on Monday, said the research focused on COVID-19 case management, prevention, financial management and the availability of training support and logistics for health workers.

He said it was conducted in all health facilities across the country with funding and technical support from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Prof Debpuur said the aim of the research was to improve data, evidence, and knowledge throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, while strengthening tracking and monitoring health services response to COVID-19.

He stressed the need for the stakeholders to keep monitoring the health system to know how gaps identified could be addressed

Mr Issac Nyampong, a Programme Officer at the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR), said the research was part of the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Accelerator initiative, which sought to enhance COVID-19 response in countries.

He said the Alliance partnered the GHS and the WHO to disseminate the findings of the survey.

Mr Nyampong said the survey would be done consistently every quarter to keep monitoring national response to the COVID-19 pandemic and come up with solutions to strengthen the sector.

He said the dissemination session would allow for stakeholders to make input into the process.

Findings of the study also showed that health worker protection and support was a major concern, with a huge gap in the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff.

A major gap in the training and support for staff was also highlighted in addition to shortages of essential clinical tools and supplies in health facilities

Similarly, at COVID-19 treatment centres, there were inadequate medicines, oxygen, and ventilators as well as diagnostics equipment, additionally, the inability of COVID-19 diagnostic testing services in most facilities created long turnaround time for off-site testing.

The study further showed that the fear of COVID-19 infection was barrier to service use and a fear of vaccine side effect persist.

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