Ghanaian health authorities are putting measures in place for the mobile testing of COVID-19 infections in due course, Prof. William Kwabena Ampofo, Head of Virology Department, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, has said.
The equipment, he said, had arrived while the training of personnel to undertake the testing had started.
The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has begun piloting the programme.
Addressing the media in Accra, on Thursday, at the Ministry of Information’s bi-weekly briefing on the COVID-19 Case Count and Management, Prof. Ampofo said the Ministries of Finance and Health were funding the bulk supply of laboratory equipment and medical supplies from China to ramp-up COVID-19 testing.
This follows the recent shortage of reagents and other medical supplies in the country, which impeded testing samples and thus, delayed the release of test results.
The first consignment of bulk supplies arrived in Accra on Saturday, July 4, from China, the second arrived today, July 9, and the third consignment is expected to arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, tomorrow, July 10, and subsequently be airlifted by the Ethiopian Airlines to the country.
Some of the equipment and medical supplies received so far include; 100,000 scrubs, 150,000 sample collection medium, 100,000 KN95 masks, more than 700,000 natural examination gloves and 260,000 PCR devices for Covid-19 testing.
Prof. Ampofo explained that with the arrival of the medical logistics, the network of laboratories testing for COVID-19 would be conducting between 100,000 and 300,000 tests.
On the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for testing, Prof. Ampofo said the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) had not yet approved any RDT for mass testing.
However, health authorities were considering plans to use RDT to test persons who had recovered from COVID-19 after 14 days of discharge to determine their immune status and ascertain whether they had developed antibodies against the virus, he explained.
He lauded the dedicated laboratory staff across the 10 testing sites for their hard work – working tirelessly 24/7; and also applauded corporate entities, which had extended support to them.
Prof. Ampofo said the ministries of Health and Finance were working towards recruiting more of the graduates who were working in some of the testing centres to enhance their manpower base.
Meanwhile, Ghana has recorded 641 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the tally to 23,463, as at July 6, 2020.
There are 18,622 clinical recoveries and 4,717 active cases, while the death toll still remains at 129.
There are, however, 26 severe cases, eight patients in critical condition and six on ventilators.