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Voluntary mass testing for coronavirus to be rolled out in Obuasi

BY: News Desk Report
Head of the Disease Surveillance Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), D. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe
Head of the Disease Surveillance Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), D. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe

A voluntary mass testing programme for the coronavirus disease is to be rolled out in Obuasi in the Ashanti Region as part of efforts to help curtail the spread of the disease in the area.

Obuasi currently has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the Ashanti Region.

At a press briefing in Accra on Tuesday, (May 19, 2020) the Head of the Disease Surveillance Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), D. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, said a recent visit to the area revealed that some more work still needs to be done in the Obuasi municipality to ensure that the risk of spread in the area is kept low.

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said commercial vehicles, food vendors, and other high-risk persons were the targets for the mass testing exercise.

“We are going to carry out enhanced contact-tracing in the very high-risk areas. Obuasi has very densely populated areas like Central Market, Anyinam, Asankore, Wawaso among others…We are also going to do mass voluntary testing among certain risk groups including taxi drivers and food vendors. That is a way of trying to address surveillance and contact management in Obuasi,” he said.

He added that 72 per cent of all cases recorded in the area occurred within four days [April 21 – April 25] with one trader identified to have infected 17 people.

Dr. Asiedu-Bekoe said the fact-finding team found out that compliance to the wearing of face masks in the area is low and there is no Covid-19 treatment facility in the area despite being a very densely populated area.

“Obuasi is one area where population density is high. Although AngloGold Ashanti has a prominent hospital, they do not have a treatment facility. You also see that, you do not see people wearing face masks…They also did not have a holding facility,” he observed.

He said as a result, the Obuasi Government Hospital has been made a Covid-19 treatment centre while the Ministry of Health has also secured a 100-bed facility as an isolation centre to help in case management in the area.