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Jun 04, 2020

The Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey has revealed that the Ministry will be ordering over 30 standard gauge trains in June this year.

According to him, the Ministry has already gotten approval of about 130million dollars’ worth of trains which will be purchased from a company in China.

Speaking live on Eye on Port’s interactive programme on national television, Joe Ghartey stated that the technical committee of the Ministry is engaging their counterparts in China to agree on the specifications on the trains.

“Once they agree on the specification we will sign the particulars of the contract and then we order,” he said.

He said the about 35 trains including both standard and narrow gauge trains would be ordered in June 2020 and should arrive latest by 2021.

“We need to make the order ahead of time for them to bring it, so if we order now it may not come this year, it will come in about 18months time. We are seeking advice from the Ghana Railway Company limited for them to tell us how many trains they will need,” he said.

“If you look at our passenger trains, they are not sufficient for the demand in addition to the fact that post COVID-19, now we can’t park our trains so we need more passenger trains hence have ordered some from a South Africa company called Transnet,” he added.

He revealed that the Ministry is purchasing more standard gauge for 2 reasons.

“Standard gauge is what the African Union and ECOWAS have said that the entire Africa should use so that we can have train that will set off from Djibouti and come all the way to Ghana. In East Africa, they are doing cross country railway line. We have started in Ghana that is the Ghana-Burkina rail line,” he said.

The Minister said about one hundred (100) old coaches were sold before he assumed office but he ensured that the rest that were left when he took office are rehabilitated and currently being operated.

“The train that goes to Nsawam is a rehabilitated train. The passenger train that goes to Takoradi is also rehabilitated,” he said.

The British, according to him left 947 kilometres of rail line but when he was appointed a minister what was left was barely 10% of that figure.

“And even that 10% was barely working. The last time a train went to Kumasi to Accra was in 2001 on the eastern line. On the western line, it was 2004.” the Minister of Railways Development explained.

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  • June 04,2020

    The Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey has revealed that the Ministry will be ordering over 30 standard gauge trains in June this year.

    According to him, the Ministry has already gotten approval of about 130million dollars’ worth of trains which will be purchased from a company in China.

    Speaking live on Eye on Port’s interactive programme on national television, Joe Ghartey stated that the technical committee of the Ministry is engaging their counterparts in China to agree on the specifications on the trains.

    “Once they agree on the specification we will sign the particulars of the contract and then we order,” he said.

    He said the about 35 trains including both standard and narrow gauge trains would be ordered in June 2020 and should arrive latest by 2021.

    “We need to make the order ahead of time for them to bring it, so if we order now it may not come this year, it will come in about 18months time. We are seeking advice from the Ghana Railway Company limited for them to tell us how many trains they will need,” he said.

    “If you look at our passenger trains, they are not sufficient for the demand in addition to the fact that post COVID-19, now we can’t park our trains so we need more passenger trains hence have ordered some from a South Africa company called Transnet,” he added.

    He revealed that the Ministry is purchasing more standard gauge for 2 reasons.

    “Standard gauge is what the African Union and ECOWAS have said that the entire Africa should use so that we can have train that will set off from Djibouti and come all the way to Ghana. In East Africa, they are doing cross country railway line. We have started in Ghana that is the Ghana-Burkina rail line,” he said.

    The Minister said about one hundred (100) old coaches were sold before he assumed office but he ensured that the rest that were left when he took office are rehabilitated and currently being operated.

    “The train that goes to Nsawam is a rehabilitated train. The passenger train that goes to Takoradi is also rehabilitated,” he said.

    The British, according to him left 947 kilometres of rail line but when he was appointed a minister what was left was barely 10% of that figure.

    “And even that 10% was barely working. The last time a train went to Kumasi to Accra was in 2001 on the eastern line. On the western line, it was 2004.” the Minister of Railways Development explained.


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  • June 04,2020

    The Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey, has revealed that ongoing rail constructions which should have seen completion by end of August 2020, have halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as over 70 workers undertaking the construction tested positive for the virus.

    Speaking on the Role of Rail in Multimodal Connectivity and Economic Growth in Ghana, the Railway Minister revealed that COVID-19 has significantly affected all rail projects across the country.

    “The thing that disturbed us the most was that we were about to do the 300 meters across the Volta river and the infamous COVID-19 came and affected the project. When the President announced the lockdown he excluded railways and roads thankfully. But what happened was that over 70 workers in the camp got the virus,” he said.

    According to Joe Ghartey, who is also the Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan Constituency, although the affected patients have so far recovered, construction works is yet to resume on the various rail lines.

    “Thanks be to God all of them have recovered and the Ministry of health in the Eastern region have written that all have recovered and they will be getting to work soon,” he added.

    Again, he revealed that the government will give a cash injection to salvage the losses of the Ghana Railway Company Ltd who haven’t been paid for three months because they couldn’t make money from both working on the passenger and cargo lines due to the fact that they were also halted as a result of COVID-19.

    “All our work across the railway sector have been affected by the Covid-19. Ghana Railway Company revenue has gone down and they had to shut down their passenger services because they want to observe social distancing and they run at a massive loss,” the Railways Minister asserted.

    The Minister assured of his outfit’s commitment to ensure the over 20billion worth of railway projects being undertaken by government stays on course.

    He said because the national rail network is capital intensive, government has adopted different financial modules for different segments of the rail lines.

    These financial modules include one that government will directly invest its money in, as well as parts which would be on a build, operate and transfer investment module by foreign investors who would bring on board capital, human resource expertise, and modern technology.

    “What will happen in some of the lines is that government will be putting its money in various parts of the line while looking for strategic partners,” he stated.

    He revealed that the Ministry of Railways has arrived at a shortlist of 3 foreign investors where one would be selected in August to construct the rest of the eastern line to complete the lines from Mpakadan to Paga.

    The said line will connect Ghana with the Sahelian regions where a lot of goods are transited to and from Ghana. He said the masterplan of Government is also to extend both the central spine rail lines from Accra to Kumasi to Tamale and Paga to connect to the northern frontier and western rail lines in order to enjoy the full benefits of all the lines.

    Joe Ghartey, who is a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice asserted that government would make way for private participation for the branch lines that would connect to cities and the main national lines.

    Joe Ghartey disclosed that, the Government of Ghana ambitiously plans to provide light rail infrastructure within the inner city to solve the problem of heavy traffic in Accra and other traffic-laden areas.

    He stated that the year 2004 was the last time cocoa was carted on the western line and this has negatively impacted the cost of doing cocoa business.

    In order to address this, the Minister of Railway Development stated that the western lines which are currently being revamped will relieve the pressure suffered by roads which get constantly destroyed by heavy duty vehicles carrying goods.

    “One of the reasons why the Tarkwa and all the other roads are spoilt is because of the heavy trucks that are moving on the road.

    If we don’t build the railway to take away heavy trucks on the roads then the roads will get spoilt again,” he stressed.

    The Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey denied assertions that hauliers who use the road corridors are sabotaging the construction of rail lines due the perceived threat to their businesses and opined that the railways would rather create alternative business for them.

    Joe Ghartey disclosed that consultations have been done with all local and traditional authorities in areas where constructions are undergoing and they have given their full commitment towards the successful completion of railway projects despite some socio-economic consequences that may be suffered in the interim.

    “The Chiefs have been wonderful from North to South. The minister for Local Government, the DCEs we have had excellent relationship with them,” he noted.


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  • June 04,2020

    The Minister of Railways Development, Joe Ghartey has given the strongest indication that workers of the Ghana Railway Company Limited who haven’t been paid for some three months now will in the coming week be paid.

    According to Joe Ghartey, who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan Constituency the 3 months’ salary arrears is as a result of the fact that the Ghana Manganese Company Limited stopped its operations.

    “Ghana Railway Company Limited earns it money from manganese and what happened was that the manganese company didn’t operate for some time,” he said.

    Speaking on Eye on Port interactive session on national television, he gave the assurance that government is giving a cash injection which will cover all the company’s expenses up to March 2021.

    The money, he said “will hit the account next week”.

    He entreated workers of the company to always endeavour to give off their best in the discharge of their duties.

    “It is not free money and I trust that they will respect government’s good intention for the sector and they will also improve their delivery and I have confidence in them,” he said.

    Joe Ghartey disclosed that the 97km rail line eastern route from Tema to Mpakadan is 60% complete.

    The percentage of completion, according to him, is based on the interim payment certificate that have been passed by the consultants of the project.

    “They have passed 24 Interim payment certificate so far and the certificate is based on the work that have been done so far,” he said.

    He revealed that ongoing rail constructions which should have seen completion by end of August 2020, have halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as over 70 workers undertaking the construction tested positive for the virus.

    Speaking on the on the Role of Rail in Multimodal Connectivity and Economic Growth in Ghana, the Railway Minister revealed that COVID-19 has significantly affected all rail projects across the country.

    The thing that disturbed us the most was that we were about to do the 300 meters across the Volta river and the infamous covid-19 came and affected the project.

    When the President announced the lockdown he excluded railways and roads thankfully. But what happened was that over 70 workers in the camp got the virus,” he said.


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  • June 04,2020

    The Minister of Railways Development, Hon. Joe Ghartey has disclosed that the 97km rail line eastern route from Tema to Mpakadan is 60% complete.

    The percentage of completion, according to him, is based on the interim payment certificate that have been passed by the consultants of the project.

    “They have passed 24 Interim payment certificate so far and the certificate is based on the work that have been done so far,” he said.

    The Minister said government is working assiduously to ensure that the eastern rail line is completed to achieve its intended purpose.

    Speaking on Eye on Port’s live interactive programme on Metro TV, he revealed each of the railway lines that are being constructed in the country are economically viable.

    “When you are thinking development, you don’t think short term view. You don’t think for now,” he said.

    Joe Ghartey who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan also assured workers of the Ghana Railway Company Limited who haven’t been paid for some months now that they will soon be paid.

    “Ghana Railway Company Limited earns it money from manganese and what happened was that the manganese company didn’t operate for some time. Government is giving a cash injection which will cover all the company’s expenses up to next year March. The money will hit the account next week,” he assured.

    He entreated workers of the company to always endeavour to give off their best in the discharge of their duties.

    “It is not free money and I trust that they will respect government’s good intension for the sector and they will also improve their delivery and I have confidence in them,” he said.

    The Minister revealed that several investors have expressed interest in the Aflao to Elubo rail line.

    Joe Ghartey said the longest train in the world is run by Transnet in South Africa which is 4kilometers and added that the Ghana Railway Company Ltd, has signed a contract with Transnet to pull 50% of manganese through rail.

    “So when we came (to power) we didn’t fall asleep, we entered into a contract with Ghana Manganese and said we will rehabilitate the narrow gauge line and use it to pull manganese. In December last year, Ghana Railway Company Limited signed a contract with Transnet to pull 50% of the manganese through rail,” he hinted.


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  • May 27,2020

    The Chief Executive Officer of the International Maritime Hospital, Dr. Yaw Oppong has advised the general public to accept the possibilities of living with the coronavirus, hence, the need for modifying lifestyles.

    “COVID-19, whether we like it or not for some foreseeable future is here to stay. It is up to us to modify our lifestyles to live with it until a cure is found,” he recommended.

    Speaking on Eye on Port’s panel discussion on the Role of International Maritime Health Facilities in Fighting Public Health Threats like COVID-19, the Head of IMaH, stated that the search for a suitable vaccine for the new coronavirus might take longer than some anticipate.

    “We shouldn’t be too hopeful that by next year a vaccine would be found. At least now about 13 vaccines are undergoing clinical trials, but there are no guarantees,” he cautioned.

    He continued to say that due to the uncertainty associated with anticipating an end to this public health crisis, socio economic life would have to resume but with caution.

    “Look at HIV, it has been around for some time now. Ebola goes and comes. If we get a vaccine that is a win for us, but we may not get one. We can also not be in lockdown forever. We would have to live our lives, but redefine the level of lives we live,” he opined.

    Dr. Oppong also opined that the slower rate of transmission in Africa compared to that of the temperate zones, could be attributed to the African weather condition, saying that research has proven that the virus does not survive long in hotter temperatures.

    He, however, cautioned Ghanaians not to be complacent with the coronavirus as it continues to take lives but rather encouraged the continued commitment to precautionary measures instituted by health authorities.

    “Continue to wash hands regularly, use the hand sanitizers, wear the recommended face masks, and keep our social distancing. We should also take care of ourselves by eating well, exercising, and avoiding stress to boost our immune” he urged.

    The Head of Clinical Services at the International Maritime Hospital, Dr. Helen Tettey urged the public to stay updated with education on coronavirus in order not to miss out on vital information that may emerge.

    “In the midst of all this, there are important discoveries that are being made and so when you stop following, you can miss out especially for clinicians. There could be something in there that could be useful,” she said.

    Dr. Helen Tettey, who is also the Consultant Anaesthesiologist dismissed the claim by some sections of the public that the wearing of face masks can cause hypoxia.

    “In theatre we wear face masks, and that is the norm and sometimes we wear it conducting surgeries for 10-14 hours, it doesn’t affect you. If what they are saying is true, then we should have been affected. Yet, we are here, unaffected,” she expressed.

    She, therefore, called for continued wearing of the face masks in public spaces to reduce the spread of the virus, even though she could sympathize with the discomfort associated with it.

    “The benefits far outweigh the risks so I would ask everyone to wear their face masks,” she implored.

    Dr. Tettey also called for improve social distancing among the citizenry as she lamented that, it is the main precautionary measure that has been neglected within the country.

    Yet, the Head of IMaH, Dr. Sylvester Yaw Oppong, said despite the several socio-economic challenges that have emerged due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the positive takeaways from the current circumstances is the inculcation of sobriety in human activity and hoped that value carries on, even after the pandemic.

    “It is letting us become sober and return to human values, and eliminating the unnecessary things. And I’m even hoping that after COVID-19, funerals for example would be scaled down,” he expressed.


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  • May 27,2020

    The Head of Clinical Services of the International Maritime Hospital, Dr. Helen Tettey, has called on the general public who are interested in both specialist and general health care to take advantage of IMaH as their services are of the international standard and yet affordable.

    “We have the full complement of services; from lab, to radiology which includes CT Scan, MRI, fluoroscopy, mammography, ENT, dental and eye services, a dialysis centre all fully running,” she listed.

    Speaking on Eye on Port’s panel discussion on the Role of International Maritime Health Facilities in Fighting Public Health Threats like COVID-19, she said the International Maritime Hospital has resumed all its expert surgical procedures that hitherto was on a break due to the coronavirus, and entreated the public to engage IMaH for all their health concerns.

    She recounted a neurosurgery that was recently done by a team of medical professionals at IMaH which resonated in the Tema Community.

    “This client was supposed to go to another facility but they had cancelled elective surgery yet he was getting more and more complicated.

    He couldn’t have the surgery in that facility, so he quickly came to IMaH and we did a craniotomy for him, and thankfully he has recovered amazingly. The patient was so grateful,” she revealed.

    Dr. Tettey, who is also the Consultant Anaesthesiologist at the International Maritime Hospital entreated women in particular to take advantage of the improved gynaecological services available at the hospital facilities, citing success stories that from laparoscopic procedures in the removal of fibroids.

    “What everybody knows is for an open surgery, to get the fibroid out, but what we are doing in IMaH is new. What we are doing is through a key hole. We won’t have to cut you open. And within the same day or next day you are ready to go home. The success stories are so many. We had to do one for a woman who had so many complications and the fibroid was making her situation even more complex, yet we did the surgery efficiently to her amazement,” she added.

    The Head of Clinical Services at IMaH continued to urge the general public to adopt a prevention-oriented attitude towards their health rather than ad hoc solutions to health conditions during complications.

    She said to encourage regular check-ups within the Ghanaian populace, IMaH introduces several initiatives periodically across the span of the year that cater to specific aspects of human health.

    “What we do in IMaH is that we offer service to our clients in any way or form. Your health is important so whichever way we can get you to come we have introduced different packages. One which we were offering until the pandemic, is Hearty IMaH which allows a full heart screen at a subsidized fee,” she said.

    The CEO of IMaH, Dr. Yaw Oppong, on the same program, emphasized that IMaH is not only available for members of the maritime industry but the entire Ghanaian populace as well as the International community.

    “Ours is a fully-fledged medical facility that looks after everybody not just the maritime,” he stated.

    Dr. Oppong added that although the patient attendance has generally reduced over the period of the coronavirus pandemic, its conducive mortuary facility remained attractive to clients.

    “There was even a point where we had a nightmare where it got to full capacity. We even had to transform a cold room to add to it.”

    He said after the partial lockdown experienced in the country which allowed clients to retrieve their corpses, allowed for some decongesting only for the mortuary facility to get to full capacity again.

    This according to Dr. Oppong allowed for some expansion of the mortuary facility which has a hall that could be used for private burial services in consistency with the current convention.

    “The hall can take about 50 people, but we have reduced to 25 in consistency with the president’s directive for social distancing,” he explained. 


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  • May 27,2020

    The Chief Executive Officer of the International Maritime Hospital, Dr. Sylvester Yaw Oppong has stated that the International Maritime Hospital, is well-positioned to help solve some of the health concerns of members of the international trade community who find themselves in Ghana to do business.

    “When people are doing business in the port space, they are more comfortable when there is a facility that would see to their healthcare needs, especially in times of emergency. And in that respect IMaH is particularly well-placed,” he said.

    Speaking on Eye on Port’s panel discussion on the Role of International Maritime Health Facilities in Fighting Public Health Threats like COVID-19, the Head of IMaH revealed that one of the principal motives for establishing such a world class hospital to complement operations of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority is to strategically position Ghana as the gateway to West Africa.

    “When people are entering the country, one of the things that make them very uncomfortable, is the health services available in that country.

    Some of them when they are coming they are very apprehensive that should I come and get a heart attack, do they have facility to take care of me?” he continued.

    Dr. Oppong asserted that currently, many within Ghana’s ports and maritime industry, including foreign nationals seek healthcare from the International Maritime Hospital, with the expectation of increasing the numbers considerably due the variety of specialist healthcare services offered.

    “These agencies, even without enrolling all their staff, they make sure that the expatriate staff have access to IMaH, because of the standard of healthcare here. Going forward the development of the Tema Port, and the presence of the International Maritime Hospital, will make foreigners coming in, to feel comfortable and be confident in getting the level of healthcare they are used to.”

    Dr. Helen Tettey, the Head of Clinical Services of the International Maritime Hospital also said IMaH has been readily positioned to help keep the gates of the country away from the importation and spread of public health threats, and has since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic collaborated with the GPHA Clinic and the Port Health Unit of the Ghana Health Service in that regard.

    “We have several interactions with them. And so, if there is anything of the sort, the first point of call is the Port Health, but if there is any client they need to move for treatment, because of the connection with us, we are available to take care of the patient,” she said.

    Dr. Tettey, who is also the Consultant Anaesthesiologist at IMaH, revealed that even though IMaH had to remodel a lot of its healthcare services since the advent of COVID-19, it has been able to effectively collaborate to handle first hand situations associated with the COVID-19 before transfer is made to the designated national treatment centres.

    “Once they are doing that, we also test our in-patients, so if somebody comes with any condition and we suspect that it is COVID-19 or associated with it, we have an isolation bay, where we hold the person, take samples, and continue to treat him or her before the results come."

    We have done several of those since the pandemic,” she disclosed.


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  • May 21,2020

    The General Manager of the Health Services Department of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Dr. Vitus Victor Anaab-Bisi, has expressed his disapproval for mass testing of the general public due to the financial implications it would have on an economy like Ghana.

    “To do the mass testing with no justification, I do not advise it. There must be prudent use of resources. It is not sustainable,” he opined.

    Speaking as a panellist live on Eye on Port, the Head of GPHA’s Health Services, also explained that mass testing especially in institutions may not prove to be useful in stemming the spread of coronavirus.

    “The virus is such that it can be transmitted anytime, any day. So one person can be tested today, be negative, and still contract the virus tomorrow,” he elaborated.

    The respected medical doctor, however, encouraged stricter adherence to health etiquettes as well as effective contact tracing as a more reliable strategy in containing the COVID-19.

    “You can make sure that if someone tests positive, you would do the proper contact tracing and have all contacts tested even if they are one thousand, and that’s what we have been doing so far,” he said.

    Dr. Anaab also said, regular fumigation in enclosed areas, is also a reliable and cost-efficient method of reducing the spread of the coronavirus especially at the organisational level.

    “Regular, periodic fumigation would help, with the appropriate chemicals that would last for long. Here, when someone who is infected sneezes or coughs in that environment, the chemical will supress it and people will be at less risk. We advise that for enclosed facilities,” he said.

    A Nursing Officer at the GPHA Clinic, Regina Tedeku, also called for corporate organisations and benevolent business enterprises to support government with the provision of the needed logistics and equipment, especially adequate Personal Protective Equipment, for nurses and other frontline health workers as she shared some experiences.

    “We are pleading with our authorities, employers, and companies to help provide with enough PPEs so that no nurse would refuse to attend to a patient because she doesn’t have the necessary protection,” she appealed.

    Regina, who is also a Fellow of the West African College of Nurses bemoaned that, many frontline health workers especially those in less privileged health institutions are woefully exposed to the virus, during their service and their protection should be treated as an immediate priority.

    Gideon Lamptey, the Consultant Medical Laboratory Scientist, on his part, called for more infrastructural support in terms of labs and equipment at the national level, to enable increased efficiency in carrying out their duties as the virus continues to spread in the country.

    “Looking at the scenario of testing, its only Noguchi and KCCI, and a few other peripheral laboratories that are doing the test. In the Western world, there are a lot of laboratories. There is a lab policy, that needs to be followed. We want to urge government to put in place to ensure we have more than what we have now.”

    Dr. Anaab-Bisi, also stated that moving forward, on the global level, countries, would have to expand and invest in sufficient state of the art facilities that can contain such public health emergencies.


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  • May 21,2020

    A Senior Medical Laboratory Officer at the GPHA Clinic, Gideon Lamptey has called on the general public to desist from the stigmatization of health workers in particular in order not to demotivate them to stop serving the public against the spread of the COVID-19.

    “I want to take this opportunity to appeal to the general public that it doesn’t help. Because we are fighting for God and Country. We want them to appreciate us when we come home and sit with them. They shouldn’t stigmatize. But rather encourage us to do more. If we don’t continue to do our work, the case rate would continue to increase without any help,” he beseeched.

    Speaking live on Eye on Port’s panel discussion on Fighting COVID-19 at Ghana’s Ports: Celebrating Frontline Health Workers, the Consultant Laboratory Scientist, recounted some of the undesirable behaviours sections of the public demonstrate during the taking of samples for onward testing.

    “There was one situation that we went to Ashaiman to take a sample, and by the time we had finished taking the sample, someone had the nerve to be videoing us. And I had to be stern on him,” he narrated.

    Gideon, however, emphasized on the need for regular testing on the part of the frontline health workers, due to the delicate nature of their work.

    A Nursing Officer at the GPHA Clinic, Regina Afua Tedeku, also lamented the psycho-social impact stigmatization would have on the Ghanaian society, and added her voice for its eradication.

    “If you shun the person and you isolate them, this can push them into depression, and we all know the dire consequences of depression.”

    She said, instead of flagrant labelling and shunning of patients of the coronavirus, it is in the society’s interest to cautiously ingratiate recovered patients warmly into the society.

    The General Manager, Health Services Department of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Dr. Vitus Victor Anaab-Bisi, also urged recovered patients of the coronavirus to come out boldly, in order to serve as torch bearers for the fight against stigmatization.

    “Indeed those who have had the disease, and have gone through treatment and have been cured, should make sure to come out, as champions and speak to it,” he encouraged.

    Dr. Anaab-Bisi indicated that stigmatization is emerging as a social bane in these times of the coronavirus pandemic, and can gradually create a society where people, especially asymptomatic patients are unwilling to get tested.

    According to him, this would worsen Ghana’s coronavirus situation and take a lot away from all the efforts that have been made to encourage collaboration from the general citizenry regarding testing and quarantining.

    The panellists nonetheless, urged their colleagues serving as frontline health officials, to embrace the call to service in these challenging times to fulfill their very purpose in life.


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  • May 21,2020

    The General Manager of Health Services Department of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Dr. Vitus Victor Anaab-Bisi, has revealed that no case of COVID-19 has been imported through ship or sea transportation and for that matter Ghana’s sea ports.

    He attributed this success to rigorous efforts that have been instituted at the sea ports of Ghana by the Port Authority in collaboration with other partner stakeholders including the Port Health Unit of the Ghana Health Service.

    “When we had this pandemic, we didn’t even wait for the day WHO announced that it is a pandemic. We started our awareness program way back in January, together with port health to sensitize all stakeholders in the port community,” he said.

    Dr. Anaab-Bisi’s revelation has become more essential considering the fact that ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the latter part of 2019, many have compared its devastating effect to the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic which is reported to have been introduced into the then Gold Coast by shipping and sea trade along the Southern Coast and overland across the Northern Frontier.

    Speaking on Eye on Port’s live panel discussion on Fighting COVID-19 at Ghana’s Ports and Celebrating the Frontline Health Workers, Dr. Anaab-Bisi revealed the various strategies that his outfit has undertaken, to ensure Ghana’s ports are safe from the importation and spread of the coronavirus to protect the port’s role as a major economic asset for the state.

    “We had to spend to support Government and keep our staff, clients, and our business going. If we do not keep the ports safe, and the ports close down, Ghana will come to a halt,” he expressed.

    He said the Port Authority put in place new strategies such as the mandatory health declaration forms that were introduced to ensure that seafarers who use Ghana’s ports were remotely monitored.

    “What we did was that we designed a quick COVID-19 declaration form for all vessels. We distributed them to all shipping lines, and all clearing agents, so before a vessel will call our ports, they have to fill by answering critical questions concerning COVID-19 and provide feedback by email,” he disclosed.

    Dr. Anaab said, the Management of the Port Authority, despite financial constraints, recognized the desperate times the country faced and played a key role in procuring all the needed equipment needed to augment the health services’ capacity to ensure the port’s clients, and operators within the port community are protected from the importation and spread of the coronavirus.

    A Senior Medical Laboratory Officer at the GPHA Clinic, Gideon Lamptey on the same program, revealed that some frontline health workers at the port like himself, had to quickly adapt to the new situation in order to mediate between the crew of cargo vessels and the port community to ensure both parties are protected from the importation and spread of the coronavirus.

    “We have instituted an emergency response team that includes doctors, nurses, pharmacist, laboratory scientists and we move to the various berths were the crew come to assist there. We had training from the harbour master and the professionals as to what to do and we have been applying since,” he said.

    He revealed that his prior experience working in an Ebola treatment centre in Liberia, which posed a much bigger risk to his life, had contributed to grooming and disciplining him for the job at hand, and has been pleased to answer the call to help fight the coronavirus.

    “Ebola is worse than COVID-19 in terms of the fatality rate. So, the experience killed the fear in me. I believe this training I had earlier especially also at Tema General Hospital where we had a case centre for Lassa fever. All these things put me in good stead to serve,” he recounted.

    A Nursing Officer at the GPHA Clinic, Regina Afua Tedeku, also detailed the crucial role nurses have been playing in the fight against COVID-19 especially within Ghana’s port community.

    “As nurses, we have been involved in intensive education of the public, the port community which is still ongoing. Also we let those who come to the clinic understand the reality of the virus so they take informed decision on how to protect themselves,” she said.

    She advised that, considering the fact that priority in health service delivery currently is targeted towards COVID 19, and the high rate of transmission of the virus, it is important for clients to visit the clinic facility when it is absolutely necessary so that they don’t contract the disease.

    “We are educating the general public that if you are not very sick, there is no need to come to the hospital, for example a slight headache that you might need rest or basic medication. If you just jump in and come to the clinic, you might come and pick the infection.”

    Dr. Anaab said that this same advice should apply with patients with underlying chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes, and added that such patients should make use of phone calls in order to access medical advice for medication.

    “Indeed, we don’t advise people to walk in and out of the hospital like they used to do without urgent need. If they have any concern, they should rather call us and we are ready to fill the prescription forms for them to pick up.”

    The various representatives of Ghana’s port health services department affirmed their commitment to continue to play their roles to help safeguard Ghana’s port community from the importation and spread of the coronavirus.


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