Health workers at facilities in the Western Region have threatened to lay down their tools if they do not get personal protective equipment (PPEs) to work with.
The non-availability of PPEs at hospitals across the Region has forced some of the facilities to continuously reschedule the sample taking of contacts traced from confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Persons who are supposed to take the samples have resolved to pick the samples only if they have the right PPEs on.
“What do you think will happen to us if we attend to positive cases without PPEs…Obviously, they want all of us to test positive for Covid-19. We are really frustrated and scared for our lives at the same time. My colleagues across the region are all complaining about the lack of PPEs to work with,” a health worker who pleaded anonymity complained.
Eight health workers in the Western Region have so far tested positive for the virus. One case which was recorded in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality, a 64-year-old nurse, has died.
Alarmed by the growing numbers, some health workers have resolved to protect themselves by threatening to abandon post if they are not given PPEs to work.
“Ask the National Service personnel who just started work whether they were given any PPEs. They are all using locally manufactured face masks. And they brought them from their various houses. You should see our response when we are asked to attend to a patient suspected to be a Covid-19 case. Sometimes the person will have to sit for hours before we attend to him or her albeit murmuring,” another health worker in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis confided in 3news.com.
The story was the same when 3news.com spoke to some health workers at the Kwesimentsim Government Hospital in the Effia Kwesimentsim Municipality.
Medical Superintendent of the Hospital Dr. Osei Frimpong in an interview supported the decision by health workers across the region including those at Kwesimintsim.
“I think they are right. Each one for himself and God for us all. So, if they are not provided with PPEs, I think they shouldn’t. But the work should be done, so we are trying to get the PPEs and give to them but it has not been easy. Can you imagine that one N95 nose mask costs GH¢30 and the sad thing is that you cannot reuse it. In a day, we have to use between 80 to 100 of the N95s. And this number is only for the staff who come into contact with patients. Mind you, there are other equally important staff members we must give nose masks to, so imagine what is happening here.”
He revealed that the situation is so dire that they have sadly resorted to recycling PPEs that are not supposed to be recycled.
“The one you see me wearing, I had to recycle it because had I thrown it away yesterday, I wouldn’t have gotten any to use today because we have none here at the hospital.”
Responding to the question on whether the hospital would be forced to close down due to the non-availability of PPEs, Dr. Frimpong said “gradually we are getting there and when it gets to the peak maybe it will be difficult to work”.
Administrator of the Hospital Felix Osei Kessie confirmed that they have had to reschedule sample taken twice due to lack of PPEs.
“Monday, we had to ask them to go and come on Tuesday with the hope that by Tuesday we would have received some from some of our suppliers that we contacted. On Tuesday, they came and it was the same thing. So, we had to reschedule their screening again. Fortunately, we have been able to get two boxes of nose masks from our suppliers. But we are dealing with about 50 people as contacts from the confirmed case, so the two boxes are already gone.”
When asked about supplies from the regional medical stores, he sadly revealed that the last time they went for supplies they were given only a single piece of N95 nose mask.
“With the onset of Covid, we have been there for about four times. But what we get from there is woefully inadequate. For example, the last consignment we went for, we were given one single piece of N95 and two pieces of coverall. This is not even sufficient for one patient a day. If we have suspected cases coming in now, it will be difficult for us to work on them.”
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana