Researchers from the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon, are conducting a four-month surveillance in ten border towns in anticipation of opening of the country’s land borders.
The research, being conducted in collaboration with Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the Ghana Health Service as the lead institution, seeks to set up a system to track people coming into Ghana and determine whether they are importing COVID-19 into the country.
Mr Joseph Kwami Degley, Ketu South Municipal Director of Health Services, who welcomed the team at Aflao, explained to the Ghana News Agency that specimens of truck drivers and their mates, especially and immigrants, intercepted at unauthourised border crossings would be collected (with their consent) for rapid test and results given to them.
The specimens and blood samples would also be sent to NMIMR for further testing, and the results sent to the people.
Mr Degley said persons who test positive for the disease would receive medical care while those negative encouraged to take the COVID-19 vaccines to protect them against the disease and its severe implications.
Professor Fred Binka, Clinical Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, who led the team to Aflao and Akanu Borders in the Ketu South and North respectively, expressed the hope that the findings of the study would inform the government on whether to open the land borders or not.
“At the moment, it’s one brush that is used to paint all land borders. We have closed the land borders but if we can demonstrate that nothing is coming from Aflao, it will be difficult for you to say that I’ve closed it.
Maybe it’s coming from Sampa, then you’ll take action to see what you can do at Sampa to minimise people coming in.
But we’re trying to avoid the system where all land borders are closed and without any evidence,” Prof Binka said.
Madam Faustina Elikplim Korwu, the Assembly Member for Avoeme West, welcomed the news of the research, saying, “This step by the scientists is relieving.
“We have been crying for the borders to be opened. My people whose livelihoods depend on crossing the border daily are disturbing me, complaining bitterly that it is insensitive for the borders to remain shut despite indications that COVID-19 will be with us for long,”