By Maxwell Nkansah
Executive Director of the African Center for Health Policy Research and Analysis Dr Thomas Anabah has appealed to the government to scale up surveillance at the nation’s entry points in order to halt the importation of the deadly Delta strain of the coronavirus into the country.
He suggested to the government to use the Military to man the borders across the country. An immunologist at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), Dr Yaw Bediako, has noted that countries that are handling the deadly Delta strain well are doing so because they have scaled up their vaccination exercises. He explained that persons who are fully vaccinated may fall sick after coming in to contact with the deadly may fall sick but won’t die from the sickness.
The Delta used is the largest in the UK and a number of other European Countries. The only difference between them and Uganda or India is their rate of vaccination so Delta is the most serious variant we have seen so far. The countries that are handling it well are handling it well because they have high vaccine coverage and so the two things that I will ask against Delta are vaccination. So the country needs to find vaccines.
However, Ghana needs to do legally, they need to do it. Secondly, in the mean time before the vaccine comes we need to adhere to the protocols and this has to be preached from the most senior person in the country all the way down and we all have to lead by examples.
At the moment funds that were earmarked for research and provided by foreign donor agencies and governments are being used for the purposes of sequencing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Dr Thomas Anabah further appealed to the government to make funds available to research institutions in the country in order to scale up sequencing for the virus.
Meanwhile, Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Dr Franklyn Asiedu-Bekoe, has revealed that the deadly Delta variant of Covid-19 recorded in Ghana may have entered the community. This is contrary to earlier claim by the GHS that the virus may yet have entered the community. Dr Asiedu-Bekoe explained that although the GHS has no evidence to conclude that the deadly virus has permeated the communities, it is most likely that persons who tested negative at the airport may have tested positive days after getting home. According to him they do not have the evidence that the Delta is in the community but you can make an inference that it is possible it is in the community because people who come into the country may be negative at the airport but they can become positive in the community.
.Though they are not saying the Delta is in or not but for them they assume that they have Delta in the community. The GHS earlier confirmed that Ghana has detected six Delta variants of Covid-19 so far. The variants were confirmed from samples taken from passengers at the Kotoka International Airport between April and June.
A statement by the GHS said “all passengers who test positive at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) are put under mandatory isolation and all positive samples are sent for further testing (genomic sequencing) to identify the variants. Variants sequenced from samples of positive cases at the Airport do not necessarily end up in the community.
However, Ghana has not experienced a third wave partly due to the robust surveillance system in place at the ports of entry and strict isolation of all cases detected. On the issue of vaccines, the GHS noted that reports that Sputnik-V and AstraZeneca vaccines are not effective against the Delta strain of SARS-Cov-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) are untrue.
According to Public Health England (PHE) two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are highly effective against hospitalization due to the Delta variant and showed no deaths among those vaccinated. The data also suggest that the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective against symptomatic disease caused by the Delta variant.