Graphic Online

Graphic Online 

Health facilities ordered not to refer Lassa fever patients - Transfer via commercial transport will spread disease

Author: Benjamin Xornam Glover
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare (left), the Director-General of the GHS, touring the Infectious Disease Centre at the Tema General Hospital. With him is Dr Samuel Kaba, Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei (2nd right), Medical Director, TGH, and other officials Picture: Benjamin Xornam Glover
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare (left), the Director-General of the GHS, touring the Infectious Disease Centre at the Tema General Hospital. With him is Dr Samuel Kaba, Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei (2nd right), Medical Director, TGH, and other officials Picture: Benjamin Xornam Glover

The Ghana Health Service has ordered managers of health facilities across the country not to under any circumstance refer patients with any case suspected of Lassa fever or infectious disease in an unapproved hospital transport system.

He said every health facility was required to have a holding bay equipped enough to handle confirmed cases of infectious diseases, adding that suspected cases of infectious diseases, including the likes of Lassa fever, should be managed in specific isolation conditions.

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, gave the order at a forum with management and staff of the Tema General Hospital yesterday in the wake of the recent case of Lassa fever recorded at the facility.

Spread of disease

Dr Nsiah-Asare explained that “when patients are transported from one point to another via commercial vehicles, they will spread the disease as in most cases the commercial vehicles are not disinfected after discharging the patients, and they carry other passengers and in some cases food.

“For us to stop the unnecessary spread of the disease, we want anybody who suspects any Lassa fever case in any facility, from the CHPS centre to the teaching hospital, to hold the patient in a holding bay and quickly call the district office for the district management team to send people there to support and if possible arrange appropriate transport to convey the patient.  We are doing this to make sure that we do not unnecessarily spread the disease,” he said.

Hospital praised

Dr Nsiah-Asare commended the management and staff of the Tema General Hospital, especially the frontline staff, for the professional manner in which they handled the first suspected case of Lassa fever at the facility.

He said the reaction of the frontline workers was an indication that the disease surveillance and case management teams were very solid on the ground and urged members of staff to continue working hard even in the midst of their constraints.

He pledged the GHS’s support to complete ongoing projects at the Tema General Hospital, including the abandoned maternity block, and added that the GHS had entered into an agreement with the State Housing Company for the construction of accommodation for healthcare professionals, including those at the Tema General Hospital which has a large tract of land readily available.

The Tema Metropolitan Director of Health Service, Dr John Yabani, expressed appreciation to the Director General of the GHS and his team for the visit, which, he said, would motivate the staff to do more.

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