Ghana will from Thursday, May 7, begin daily testing for the COVID-19 virus to pave the way for daily updates.
So far Ghana had conducted over 130,000 tests with a backlog of 1,9829 samples awaiting testing at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), which they hope to clear by May 7.
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), however, had no backlog.
Professor William Kwabena Ampofo, the NMIMR Head of Virology, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, disclosed this in Accra at the press briefing on COVID-19, organised by the Ministry of Information to give an update on the pandemic.
He assured Ghanaians that once the backlog of testing were cleared they would be able to provide results within 24 hours to the Ghana Health Service when samples were received from contact tracing and from hospitals’ surveillance.
“We have expanded testing beyond Accra and Kumasi. There is limited testing in Ho at the University of Health and Allied Sciences.”
“We are expecting a donation from the International Atomic Energy through the Ministry of Health. We hope that by next week, this will be fully established and, therefore, they will be able to increase testing in Ho for the Volta Region and also the Oti Region,” he said.
Prof. Ampofo said the Northern Region had testing centres established at the Public Health Laboratory of the Tamale Teaching Hospital and also the Veterinary Services Directorate Lab at Pong-Tamale.
He noted that those testing centres would provide services for the northern sector.
“We hope that we will also be able to get the War Memorial Hospital (in Navrongo) testing as soon as possible,” he said.
Prof Ampofo said another testing centre was being established in the Western Region at the Veterinary Services Directorate Laboratory in Takoradi.
“This was being done in conjunction with Public Health Lab at the Afia Nkwanta Government Hospital.”
“So, it is a joint effort, one health approach being practiced directly between the Ghana Health Service and the Veterinary Service Directorate”.
He said the testing centre at Takoradi, which was likely to start operating from May 6, would provide services for the Western Region.
“We are also going to utilise the gene expert system, which is prevalent in almost every region of Ghana – there is a specific centre that has gene expert machine for tuberculosis (TB) and there is a test that has been developed for COVID-19,” he said.
Prof Ampofo said those facilities would complement the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing stations established to test for COVID-19 adding that by the end of May, virtually every region would be able to test for COVID-19.
He said the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health would determine the actual strategy for the testing.