The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) has called for the testing of staff at health facilities for COVID-19 as primary sufferers in the resurgence of the respiratory disease.
It commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for introducing an income tax waiver for health staff in 2020 as motivation for the COVID-19 fight and appealed to government to reinstate the tax waiver.
The Association, in a statement jointly signed by Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, its President and Mr David Tenkorang-Twum, the General Secretary and copied to the Ghana News Agency, also petitioned the President to ensure that payment of the insurance premium for those who were infected with the virus was fast-tracked to motivate those on the fight.
At the peak of the first wave in July 2020, the statement said 840 nurses and midwives were infected with two deaths recorded.
The death toll now stood at four with the recent demise of Mr Solomon Nsor, a Senior Staff Nurse who worked at the Wa Memorial Hospital in the Kasena Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region.
Africa is virtually missing in the race for the development of vaccines to combat the COVID-19 virus and left at the mercy of the world giants in pharmaceuticals, the statement said, adding that the reservations raised about the vaccines could not be simply overlooked.
"Attention should, therefore, be paid to the origin, safety and efficacy of the vaccines to be procured," it said.
The Association called on state agencies responsible for the certification of imported drugs, including vaccines to adopt a vigorous system to certify the vaccines once procured before its administration to health professionals and the public, saying, that would improve the uptake of the vaccines.
"We further call on the African Union, and the regional blocks, particularly ECOWAS to call on the World Health Organization on the need to identify or prepare and distribute serum standards and other reagents to allow for credible comparison of one vaccine to another."
On the compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols, the GRNMA noted that majority of Ghanaians were not observing it, especially the wearing of face mask at public places, which was a worrying trend.
It said considering that there were already imported cases of the new variant in the country and the possibility of its existence already in communities, the non-adherence to the protocols, would in no time result in an escalation of new cases, which would overwhelm the already fragile health system.
The Association, therefore, called on managers within the Ghana Health Service, the Teaching Hospitals, Christian Health Association of Ghana and other health facilities, both public and private, to reinstate the checking of the temperature of all those who entered the hospital premises, hand hygiene protocols, pre-triaging and triaging of patients and the identification of quarantine and isolation areas.
The required logistics should also be made available in schools to ensure the safety of teachers, students and pupils and continuous education on the application of COVID-19 protocols should be an ongoing exercise in all schools.