COVID-19: GRNMA advocates mass testing of members in UE

Mr Thomas Lambon

Mr Thomas Lambon, the Upper East Regional Chairman of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) has called for mass testing of nurses and midwives in major hospitals in the Region.

He said there was the need for massive testing of members of the Association across hospitals, especially those that had recorded confirmed cases of COVID-19, “And if there is the need for some units to be closed down for some time, I think it will be the best.”

Mr Lambon’s call came on the backdrop of a nurse, at the War Memorial Hospital at Navrongo, who reportedly died of COVID-19 yesterday, January 15, at the treatment centre in Bolgatanga.

The Chairman, who made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga, insisted that “If we just concentrate on the deceased person and his unit alone, we might not know, he could have moved to other units and interacted with other staff.

“Others may be infected but because they have strong immune systems, they may not show signs and symptoms. If authorities are able to conduct mass testing for nurses and midwives, it will help,” he said.

Mr Lambon expressed concern about the rising cases of COVID-19 in the Region, especially among nurses and midwives, and emphasized that “We have to pay critical attention to the protocols and insist on the no masks, no entry policy.”

He observed that most facilities and public places had relaxed on the COVID-19 protocols of hand washing and use of face masks and there was no strict supervision to ensure adherence to the protocols in health facilities.
“People move about in some health facilities without face masks even though you find inscriptions of ‘No face masks, no entry’ all over, no one is enforcing that.”

Mr Lambon said it was sad for the Association to lose its member to the virus, “My condolence to the family and the entire membership of the GRNMA in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality and Region at large.”

When the GNA visited some public health facilities following 89 confirmed cases of the virus in the Region as at January 14, 2021, it observed that most of the facilities which had ‘Veronica Buckets’ at their entrances had no water, soap or tissue papers for hand washing.

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Region and country at large, those hand washing facilities were readily available with clean water in them on daily basis, while temperatures of clients to the facilities were checked before entry.

At the War Memorial Hospital where the GNA visited to ascertain the mood of nurses and midwives after the death of their colleague, a close friend of the deceased blamed the death on failure of management to act swiftly and transport the nurse to the Regional Hospital for treatment.

“Can you imagine that it was only last week that some wards received just a box of surgical face masks? Even a vehicle to transport the nurse to the treatment centre was a problem. In fact in my last conversation with him (the deceased nurse).

“He told me that his situation was bad. When I called him after sometime, it was the wife who answered his phone and said he was being attended to, when I later contacted the staff who attended to him, they said his oxygen concentration was less than 50 per cent. I was so sad.

As at the time of filing this report, the Deputy Director of Nursing Services (DDNS) had not responded to a phone call from this reporter to speak on the issues surrounding the death of the nurse.

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