The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) is calling on the government to make functional the over one hundred GeneXpert machines that can aid in sample testing of COVID-19 cases.
According to the association, the cartridges for this platform can produce results for the novel coronavirus within 45 minutes.
GAMLS in a statement said its members have expressed worry over the non-usage of the facilities available.
The association in the statement asked:
“Why is there silence on the use of the GeneXpert (TB testing machine which can be adopted to test for COVID-19) available in a minimum of 100 Clinical Laboratories in Ghana? What is holding government from facilitating the procurement of reagents (cartridges) that could enable COVID-19 testing and produce results in 45 minutes using the GeneXpert equipment?”
The Association also questioned why the government had failed to heed to its call of providing testing centres in other parts of the country, especially in the Bono, Bono Ahafo, Upper West and Upper East Regions.
“What is preventing government from listening to the call of professionals to provide testing centers in other parts of the country, especially those in Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Upper West and Upper East?”
It further reiterated calls for the implementation of the National Health Laboratory Policy to help boost healthcare infrastructure in the country.
“GAMLS reiterates the call for the implementation of the National Health Laboratory Policy (NHLP) and representation of Medical Laboratory Professionals at management level to contribute to the healthcare infrastructure investment and the building of the infectious disease control centres as promised by government.”
“We also call for the provision of required Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for routine use and COVID-19 patient testing. As a matter of urgency, the government should get the qualified but unemployed professionals to come and support in the facilities,” portions of the statement read.
What informed the policy?
The Policy, which was drafted between 2010 and 2013 is to improve the quality of preventive, promotive, and curative health care in Ghana by guiding the expansion of laboratory services in support of health care programmes.
However, the policy has failed to see the light of day due to successive governments paying little attention to its implementation.
More scientists needed
Even before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ghana, the Association had asked the government to employ more qualified medical laboratory personnel to augment work in laboratories.
The Association had said despite the financial clearance to employ some 690 staff, there is still a backlog of people needed to be employed to ensure the delivery of quality healthcare.