Former President John Dramani Mahama has donated some personal protective equipment (PPE) worth several thousands of Ghana cedis to the Upper East Regional Hospital to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
The donation is the latest contribution the leader of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has made as part of his nationwide offer of assistance to the citizenry in the wake of a pandemic that has claimed 8 lives in Ghana and killed more than 100, 000 people globally.
A senior lecturer at the University for Development Studies (UDS), Dr Vida Nyagre Yakong, led a contingent of NDC regional and constituency executives in handing over the PPE to the regional hospital on behalf of the former Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“The former President is reaching out to all facilities around the country to support them with items that will help them do their work. He extends his profound gratitude to all health workers across the country for the good work they have been doing. We are aware of the challenges that they do have; most of it dwells on the lack of PPE. If they (health workers) have nothing to protect themselves, I don’t see how they are going to fight the battle. We are not waiting for health service providers to go on strike because they have nothing to work with before we respond to their cry; and, so, today is a response to that.
“As a technical team, we are happy that the recommendations that we have provided to government, they are implementing them. And one key example is the recent announcement by the President that they are providing incentives, motivation, for healthcare providers, ” said Dr Yakong, who is also a member of a nonpartisan COVID-19 technical team established by Mahama to support the Akufo-Addo-led government with technical ideas to effectively deal with the spread of the disease.
Also in attendance at the event was Dr Thomas Anaba, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Accra-based Ridge Hospital.
Gov’t urged to speed up PPE distribution and establish testing centres
The delegation also registered an observation that healthcare workers lacked PPE in many places and, with deep concerns, urged government to provide them with protective kit without further delay.
“We are also as a technical team encouraging government to speed up with the distribution of PPE across the country. We have heard everywhere, every corner, that [health] providers are crying for PPE. The Ghana Medical Association has also made it clear that, ‘Yes, thank you for the incentives, but what we need most is the PPE. We have to be alive to enjoy these incentives.’
“And I think that call is very strong and we are urging government to respond quickly to this call. We are also urging government to open up more testing centres. We are the regional hospital in Bolgatanga and I think in this region and the entire north we do not have any testing centre yet. The two [testing centres] are still Accra, Kumasi. That is not adequate if we are going to go progressive and combat this virus,” stated Dr Yakong who also serves as the National Women’s Organiser of the Progressive Intellectuals.
The lecturer stressed: “We need to be progressive. We are calling on government to establish the centres as a matter of urgency now. The Navrongo Health Research Centre is ready and could be of help. The Tamale Teaching Hospital, the University for Development Studies in Tamale where they train medical laboratory scientists, they have more qualified staff and they have a lab. All we need is to prepare them, aid them and this can be taken up quickly.”
Mahama’s anti-COVID-19 donations throughout the country are worth Gh¢390,000 combined, according to the contingent.
By Edward Adeti, Daily Mail GH