Health Barrier Screening

A team of nurses at the Pwalugu Police barrier in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region has identified one suspected case of COVID-19 among travellers from the southern part of the country into the Region.

As at 1000 hours when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the barrier to observe activities, long queues of vehicles moving into the Region were packed by the barrier for temperatures of passengers to be checked before continuing their journey.

There were only three nurses at the barrier with three non-contact thermometers attending to all passengers, and as at the time of the GNA’s visit, about 30 or more vehicles were packed with the passengers waiting their turn.

Madam Elizabeth Issahaka Abotibala, a Public Health Nurse, Bolgatanga Municipal, who disclosed this to the GNA, said “We have only one case at hand from one of the VIP buses, and we have taken records of all the occupants of the bus so that if the test turns out positive, then we can do the contact tracing.”
The suspected case is a native of the region.

She said “We are overwhelmed with the people, they are many, and the cars are still coming, today is a market day. Since last night a team of nurses were here and we took over from them at about 0800hours this morning.”

She indicated that the thermometers were failing them, saying “As the sun is so hot, I don’t know whether it had effects on the thermometers, so right now they are failing us, but one is working, we have called for more thermometers.”

Taking the GNA through the screening process, Madam Abotibala said they ensured that on arrival, all passengers on board the vehicles disembarked for their temperatures to be checked; those with temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius, and above were separated from the rest for immediate attention.

“When we separate and check the temperature for the third time and it remains the same, the person will be isolated and then the response team will come for the person,” she explained, and emphasized that “Right now we have only one suspected case at hand.”

Madam Abotibala, who is also a Deputy Director of Nursing Services (DDNS), said in spite of the inadequate staff at post and the many numbers they dealt with, they still educated the passengers on the preventive measures of the disease, and stressed on the need for proper hand washing under running water and social distancing.

Commenting on the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), she said the nurses had only disposable face masks and examination gloves to work with.

“It is better to use what you have to prevent, than to wait for the full complement, which may even make the case to get out of hand. These are not the appropriate PPE, but we are using them in addition to our barrier nursing skills, to distance ourselves from the passengers.”

The Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACOP) Alexander Amenyo, who was at the barrier with a team of Police Officers to provide security and ensure compliance by the passengers, said the Command observed that some recalcitrant passengers were trying to by-pass the process.

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