Don’t bastardize our COVID-19 testing regime – Dr Da Costa Aboagye

Dr Da Costa Aboagye, the Director of Health Promotion at the Ghana Health Service has described the testing regime at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) as robust, hence urged Ghanaians not to bastardize the testing regime.

He said the KIA testing was one of the best physical protocol mechanisms in reducing the importation of cases into the country.

Dr Aboagye who said this in an interview explained that positive test at the airport would normally be subjected to genomic sequencing to determine the type of strain.

The Food and Drugs Authority validated the equipment and processes of testing at the KIA often to give assurance of the testing regime, he stated.

Once the public health system in Ghana detected a positive case, no other independent result was accepted until the affected person had completed mandatory isolation including associated treatment, a further test and was discharged by the Ghana Health Service.

Dr Aboagye said no exemptions were made to anyone regardless of status, adding that persons who tested positive were likely to expose people around them and should desist from conducting independent test afterwards.

The Director said persons who tested positive at the airport were under the control of the Ghana Health Service and assessments were normally conducted to determine whether a positive patient should be offered the home, hospital, or hotel management. He explained that these assessments were done by clinicians and the case management team of the country.

Several travellers at the Ghana Health Service isolation facilities raised concerns about the quality of test at the airport and appealed to the service to allow for independent testing to validate the test at the airport. They appealed to Government to investigate the testing regime being done at the airport.

However, Dr Aboagye said the GHS did not recognize independent tests not sanctioned by the public health system of Ghana.

“As a result, the travellers should remain in isolation until the completion of the statutory seven-day isolation period, and is discharged, as per Ghana’s COVID-19 protocols.”

Travellers must respect Ghana’s protocols as they will do when in the UK or USA.

Dr Aboagye said in the quest to reduce further importation of COVID-19 into the country, additional measures had been instituted at the airport such as uploading a negative PCR test of COVID-19, which was not more than 72 hours old before departure to a system or software for validation.

This would ensure that only test certificates bearing trusted travel or BIOMARS code were considered valid for travel out of Ghana. He explained that arriving passengers would have to use a tool made available through the Global haven partnership to validate certificates, help curtail fake certificates and reduce the number of positive tests at the airport.