Mrs Justina Ayorobila Gockah, Head of the Out-Patient Department (OPD) of the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga has called on nurses in the facility to be vigilant in identifying suspected cases of COVID-19.
She said many people were familiar with the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and were quick not to offer accurate answers to assist in triaging, the process of sorting outpatients according to their needs at the OPD.
"Some of the clients already know the signs and symptoms and so before you are even done asking any question, the response you get is no. As nurses, we must be very vigilant to identify those who cough because some hide to cough so that they are not noticed."
Mrs Gockah who made the call when she facilitated an ongoing training workshop on COVID-19 on the topic "Screening and triaging process" for staff of the facility, further urged nurses, especially those at the OPD, to quiz clients properly at the entrance to the Department to ensure that no patient with signs and symptoms of the virus slipped through.
The training was part of measures to school health professionals in the facility on the COVID-19 pandemic, and to equip them adequately to identify and handle any suspected case professionally without fear.
"Keep the screening process simple. If you identify a client coughing, politely approach him or her while in your mask, and offer the person a mask, to protect other people in that environment. When we screen patients very well, we will save ourselves and the facility from the virus."
She also told the nurses, some of whom rendered Ante-natal and Post-natal services at the Reproductive and Child Health Unit of the facility, not to take clients who visited their outfits for granted, but screen them using a designed questionnaire referred to as "COVID-19 screening tool."
Mrs Gockah insisted that "even those who perform wound dressing procedures, must be vigilant. Do not think that the client has only come to dress his or her wound, and ignore the signs and symptoms of Coronavirus."
"Separate suspected cases if you identify them, do not put them together in one place because of the differences in risks involved, and don't take accident victims who are rushed into the emergency unit for granted. They could be suspected cases of COVID-19."
She said much as their attention may be on such victims to save their lives, they should not forget to protect themselves and other patients around because any accident victim could be a suspect of COVID-19.
Some participants, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after the workshop, indicated that they entertained fears in the care of COVID-19 patients before the programme, but were presently well-informed on how to protect themselves and care for such patients.
Mrs Sylvia Antwi Boasiako Frimpong a participant told the GNA that even though she had acquired enough knowledge to deal with COVID-19 patients, "the insufficient PPE to assist us deliver to their expectation remained a worry."
She conceded that the shortage of PPE was a global challenge and appealed to the government to always consider health facilities in northern Ghana when it acquired PPE despite the huge numbers recorded in southern Ghana.