The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) has urged the government to expand the Covid-19 testing centres by utilising the GeneXpert equipment which can test a huge number of samples in the shortest possible time.
According to the GAML, using the equipment is “the surest way to identify Covid-19 cases and readily isolate them to prevent further transmission of infections to others.”
GAMLS indicated that the country stands at high risk of putting health workers involved in testing for the disease in danger looking at the limited number of testing centres the country has amidst the constant spike in the number of infections.
“The leadership of GAMLS is very much concerned about the continuous increase and spread of the SARS COV-2 infection in Ghana as the situation poses a risk to Ghanaians including medical laboratory professionals who provide COVID-19 testing, routine and additional complementary testing to manage COVID-19 patients in our hospitals. They are directly and frequently exposed to the virus in high concentration,” the GAMLS said in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Dr. Denis Adu-Gyasi.
It said although President Akufo-Addo promised to “recalibrate 100 regional and district tuberculosis GeneXpert laboratories across the country to help ensure that we have a minimum situation of one testing centre per region” in his national address on April 19, nothing has been done yet.
Expressing disappointment in “the lack of commitment from the authorities to heed professional advice”, the GAMLS called on “authorities to, as a matter of urgency, take steps to get the Covid-19 cartridges and to use the GeneXpert equipment as well as enough reagents for the established Covid-19 testing centres to operate.”
The GAMLS is also asking the government to “take immediate steps to engage the services of the qualified but unemployed professionals to augment medical laboratory services in our health facilities.”
The National Reference Lab (Korle-Bu), VSD (Accra, Kpong, Tamale) and the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) are among the new testing centres set up by the government in recent times.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri