Correspondence from Western Region
The Public Health Emergency Committee instituted in Ellembelle District of the Western Region to combat the fast-spread deadly Coronavirus pandemic outbreak, has inspected the Isolation Center at Saint Martin de Porres hospital at Eikwe in the area.
As efforts to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading to the whole Ghana, government had pledged to set up Isolation Centers in other health facilities to isolate any suspected cases of the virus.
Saint Martin de Porres hospital at Eikwe was established in 1959. It was formerly called Eikwe Catholic Hospital.
The hospital currently serves a wide catchment area with an average Out Patient Attendance and Admissions of about 100,000 and 13,000 respectively.
It is one of the biggest hospitals in the Western Region.
The hospital is a member of the National Catholic Health Service (NCHS) and Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG).
This Isolation Center has two rooms plus toilet facilities where any suspected patient can be kept.
It is also has a special room where Personal Preventive Equipment (PPEs) are kept.
The center has been declared as an authorized place for only suspected patients.
Briefing the committee and the media about after the inspection, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr. Paul Cooper called on the general public to collaborate with them by giving them adequate information to trace infected people.
“First collaboration from the general public that is very important to give us the information we need so that we can trace people who may infected by the disease”, he said.
He said the treatment point has enough PPEs to handle low cases but added that if in case the number double the equipment could not help to deal with the cases.
“From the treatment point of view, if we get a few cases we have enough PPEs for our Frontline staff but if the numbers are high then we need more as it is happening in other places”, he emphasized.
He called on government to provide the hospital with more PPEs like goggles, glasses, overall and others to enhance their work if the facility receives cases.
“As you know this equipment is supposed to be used for one patient and not for second patient, this means we need more numbers of the PPEs, these includes glasses, goggles, overall, and many more but for the moment we can handle any emergency case”.
Suspected case recorded by Eikwe St Martin Hospital
Dr. Cooper took the opportunity to explain to GhanaWeb’s Western Regional Correspondent Daniel Kaku why the suspected case turned out to be tested negative.
The patient who returned from the UK to stay in Ellembelle District some weeks before President Akufo-Addo’s directive that nobody should enter the country until further notice experienced some symptoms of the COVID-19 and was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
According to Dr. Cooper, they quickly have to isolate him at the Isolation Center for the necessary test to be done.
He said they took some droplets of the patient (name withheld) to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research for the final test.
He was happy to announce that the test was tested negative.
He added the patient has improved rapidly and doing very well, “and he is due to be discharged any moment from now”.
“We had a suspected, the suspicion, we have what we say an index of suspicion, an index of suspicion can be low or high and for this particular patient, we decided that we would air on the side of caution, admit the patient and go through the proper procedures, that is what we did”, he disclosed.
“Admitting a patient is treat, take all our laboratory investigation, X-RAY investigation and then finally sent the lab sample to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and within 24 hours we got a message that he was tested negative”, he continued.
He stressed that, “The patient has also improved rapidly and he is doing very well”.
He revealed that the patient had an ordinary pneumonia but since the symptoms of pneumonia are like that of Coronavirus so they had to isolate him and finally tested him.
“…So he had ordinary pneumonia but since these symptoms meaning what we have of COVID-19, always we have to be careful and make sure that distinction is done, so he is okay”.
Advice to the media
Dr. Paul Cooper, therefore, seized the opportunity to advise the media to double-check their information before disseminating them to the general public.
“I would advise the media to get fact before giving it out to the general public and then also we need to consult the District Health Director, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital who has adequate knowledge to communicate our messages across, this will help us in general”, he stated.
On his part, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area, Hon. Kwasi Bonzoh commended the hospital for their readiness to fight against the Coronavirus.
He said the Isolation Center would go a long way to help the District if there is an emergency.
He promised to forward their concerns to the government to support them with many Personal Preventive Equipment (PPEs).
“It is very important we have to get this Isolation Center Infrared, face shields and other equipment, and Doctor I will and get you some”, he worried.
He took the opportunity advised against stigmatism, adding that people should not be afraid to report themselves to the nearest health facilities if observing any symptoms of the Coronavirus.