The Ghana Health Service has urged the public not to fear to seek medical care in various health facilities across the country because of the apprehension of contracting COVID-19.
Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang, the Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, who made the call, said data available to the Regional Health Directorate (RHD) showed a reduction in health indicators, which could be attributed to the outbreak of coronavirus.
Speaking at a meeting to discuss the roles of stakeholders, he said people with other medical conditions were refusing to attend hospital.
This, he said, could have a dire consequence on the health of the population if the trend was not halted.
The meeting which was organised by the RHD with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) sought to engage stakeholders to step up public education on the need for people to access healthcare without any fear.
It was attended by representatives from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Information Service Department (ISD), Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), Non-Governmental Organisation in Health, the clergy and the media.
Dr Tinkorang said the reduction in Out Patients Department (OPD) and other critical services such as immunization and antenatal care was worrying and stressed the need for all stakeholders to put their shoulders to the wheel to reverse the trend.
“Let us begin to discuss how to address this issue as stakeholders to improve access to services in our health facilities,” Dr Tinkorang appealed.
He also bemoaned the blatant disregard for the safety protocols in public places and cautioned that the fight against the virus was not over since there were still active cases in Ghana.
Madam Juana Ansong, a Representative of WHO, said the meeting was critical to efforts to increase OPD attendance amid COVID-19 and urged the participants to effectively play their roles to address the problem.
She said if care was not taken, the mortality rate of other disease conditions could increase if people continued to stay away from health facilities because of COVID-19.
The participants pledged their commitment to support the campaign to eliminate the fear factor among the populace to improve hospital attendance.