Accra, May 16, GNA - Voluntary testing for COVID-19 is currently not part of Ghana’s protocols, and so Ghanaians need to make do with the available guidelines for the enhanced contact tracing, Dr Badu Sarkodie, Director of Public Health, Ghana Health Service has said.
He said encouraging voluntary testing in this period would also bring undue pressure on the laboratory facilities and issues of the backlogs that “we have struggled to clear will come back”.
“Considering the pressure that we have on our laboratories for now, it will not be advisable to promote that, besides, Dr Sarkodie said, there was no clear stated protocols as to whether a person who wanted to do voluntary testing would pay for the cost or the state would bear the cost.
Responding to a question asked by a media personnel at the Ministry of Information COVID-19 briefing update in Accra on Thursday, Dr Sarkodie said should the voluntary COVID-19 testing be permitted now, many employers and their workers might overwhelm the facilities with the request to test them.
Dr Sarkodie said currently, it was the government that was paying for all the cost of the COVID-19 tests including the contact tracing programme, and wondered who would be bearing the cost for the voluntary testing that would enable people to know their status should that be considered at all.
“So voluntary testing is not part of the protocol and we cannot cope with it now...
“If we have some of these rapid diagnostic test evaluated with adequate sensitivity and specificity, then we will use this, and if people wish to know their status, either you are currently infected, will also help us to know whether your exposure was a previous exposure or the status that you have- whether you are having the infections previously exposed or whatever the situation is.
“Unless we bring all these things together as part of our testing capacity, it will be difficult to permit and make it part of our policy with regards to voluntary testing, we would not encourage that for now,” Dr Sarkodie said.