President Nana Akufo-Addo has said his government is putting together a definition of who a frontline health worker is vis-à-vis the insurance relief packages he has instituted for them as far as the fight against COVID-19 is concerned.
At a meeting with the leadership of the Ghana Medical Association on Tuesday at the Jubilee House, Mr Akufo-Addo said “the daily allowances that are going to contact tracers and all; all of those things are being done”, pointing out that “above all, in crises of this nature, it is our spirit, our morale, our commitment, to our country, to our society, that will determine the success or otherwise of our ability to confront this menace.”
On the definition of a ‘frontline health worker’, the President said the “effort is being made on the part of government, to arrive at an acceptable definition, and I think your input will be very necessary and required, so that we get a definition that makes sense for everybody and which addresses the issue of people who are also in the frontline, as it were, of dealing with this disease.”
On the same day the GMA met the President, the Ghana Physician Assistants Association, through a statement, acknowledged the efforts of the government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic but, however, expressed scepticism about promises to ensure that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are made available at the peripheries of the health system and also demanded what the definition of a “frontline health worker” is.
According to the association, facilities at the primary health care level, especially at the Health Centres and CHPS Compounds lack basic PPE like gloves, masks, hand sanitisers and goggles to protect themselves against the virus.
The leadership of the association also said they were among union and association leaders who met the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu and one of his deputies on Sunday, 5th April 2020 at a meeting where the Minister defined frontline health workers as ‘all health practitioners working at all levels of the healthcare delivery machinery’ (CHPS, Health Centres, Polyclinics, Municipal/District Hospitals, Regional Hospitals and Teaching Hospitals), and, so, it comes as a surprise to them that in less than 24 hours, another minister comes to define frontline health workers as health workers managing COVID-19 cases.
“Going by this other definition, it means majority of health workers who come into contact with any client who can be a potential COVID-19 case have been conveniently excluded,” the association noted in the statement.
The association wants the Minister of Health to come clear on who a frontline healthcare worker is in connection with the influx of people from affected regions to the peripheries of the country after the lockdown, and the unavailability of PPE at those areas “before we advise ourselves as health professionals.”
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