Ghana has cut down on its testing for the novel coronavirus, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association Dr Titus Beyuo has claimed.
He told Alfred Ocansey on Sunrise morning show on 3 92.7FM Monday that the situation is attributable to the reduction in the country’s enhanced surveillance which formed a chunk of the tests conducted in the early stages of the outbreak in the country.
Dr Beyuo was reacting to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s address on the covid-19 situation in Ghana on Sunday June 14.
President Akufo-Addo had said with a population of 31 million, the total number of tests that have been conducted in Ghana is one of the highest on the African continent.
“Furthermore, many countries in the world, including several of the developed economies, are not implementing a policy of enhanced contact tracing, and this makes our data qualitatively different and more effective in the fight against COVID-19. Indeed, the success of our tracing, testing and treating will lead, in the end, to a reduction in the number of cases. That is what we are working for.
“Understandably, much focus has been placed on the rise in the total number of confirmed cases. As at midnight of 13th June, the total number of positives, cumulatively, stands at eleven thousand, nine hundred and sixty-four (11,964), out of the two hundred and fifty-four thousand three hundred and thirty-one (254,331), tests conducted.
“We have a total of 4,258 patients who have fully recovered, have been discharged, and are now free of the virus. So, our scrutiny, in effect, must be on the number of active cases, i.e. people who remain on our books as still positive.
“Hence, as things stand now, the total number of people with the virus, that is active cases from our tests, is seven thousand, six hundred and fifty-two (7,652). Our positivity rate, i.e. the ratio of positive cases to total tests conducted, stands at 4.7%. In our hospitals and isolation centres, we currently have thirteen (13) persons severely ill, six (6) persons critically ill, with three (3) persons on ventilators.”
But Dr Beyuo told Ocasney that: “The type of statistics that will be helpful to us is a graph that tells us what the curving of the active cases are week-on-week or month-on-month, and then we can tell what it was last week and what it is now.
“But for us, what is worrying is not how many cases there are, but what the profile of the disease is looking like now. Many of the people reporting to the hospitals are coming with symptoms and that is worrying.”
He added: “[President Akufo-Addo] also mentioned the figure of tests. The contest in which he mentions it shows how much tests we have done as a country. A lot of efforts have gone in, a lot of money and resources have gone in but it doesn’t tell you what is happening now. Because what we are picking is that it looks like the actual testing has reduced. It may be because the enhanced surveillance has gone down.
“But if you want to look at the test we should just look at the quantum but instead we should look at week-on-week.
“So if you say from beginning till now we have done over 600,000 number of tests that is very correct but this past week how many tests did we do? How does that compare with the period to the period when we were doing enhanced surveillance?”