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Last March 30th, the CHAG (Christian Health Association of Ghana) launched a Covid-19 Testing Programme. The purpose thereof is to complement the Government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus in rural areas.
The programme takes part in the 6 designated sites, which have received training and equipment to start testing patients for coronavirus.
St Francis Xavier Hospital, one of Sisters Hospitallers’ centres in Africa, has been selected to take part in the programme. They have already received the required machines to carry out PCR tests. Furthermore, they have taken additional training to guarantee best practice during testing and lab work.
CHAG’s focus on rural areas aims to breach inequalities and mitigate the impact of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
During the launch ceremony, the Minister for Health in Ghana highlighted the role of CHAG in helping contain the virus in rural areas. “We started with two labs at the outset of the pandemic, which has now increased to 36 labs”, he added.
This programme is part of a general project against coronavirus that started in July 2020 under CHAG’s Covid-19 Response and Institutional Capacity Building (CRIB). Moreover, according to Philip Smith, Acting British High Commissioner and Development Director of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), “the UK has repurposed £6 million of its bilateral funds to support Ghana since then”.
The support provided by the UK and the Government of Ghana has allowed access to training for professionals. More specifically, for 6,412 health staff from 1,453 lower-level facilities in 40 Districts throughout the country. The training covered essential areas regarding the virus, such as preventing infection, screening, and contact tracing.
Furthermore, since July, the CRIB has also contributed to supporting the Government’s efforts against Covid-19 by monitoring its impact on health service delivery and knowledge-sharing on implementing new measures within the health sector.
Sisters Hospitallers is a Charity with HQs in London, committed to the sick and their wellbeing, especially in the mental health sector. It counts on care homes across England and medical centres in Liberia and Ghana, to which the selected St Francis Xavier Hospital belongs.
Its foundation goes back to 1881, as a response to the lack of mental health care provided for female patients. With a Catholic background, the Charity aims to provide mental and medical care in Africa, where mental disorders are highly stigmatised and socially excluded.
From their new role in complementing the Government’s measures to contain the virus, the staff at St Francis Xavier Hospital in Foso has already started testing their patients and visitors. They see this programme as a much-needed help to prevent the spread of the virus in rural areas, where medical treatment and support are scarce.