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Deploying personnel for voter registration exercise won’t burden health system – GHS

Johnson.

Jun. 27, 2020

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says the deployment of health personnel for the voter registration exercise will not deprive health centres of essential workers.
The Director-General of the GHS, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, says his outfit has more than enough staff to handle both the registration exercise and the already existing healthcare services.
Justifying the deployment , Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said the move was a preventive measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus among registrants and the Electoral Commission (EC) officers.
“We have other auxiliary health staff, they will be based on their availability cover-up for the others without necessarily compromising healthcare. We are not moving people from the hospital to the registration exercise.”
“We have other public health staff. We are not overstretched. We have a relatively stable number and there are no high demands. Broadly, I will not say that we are overstretched”, he said on Eyewitness News on Friday.
Not having the health staff at the centres has the potential of increasing the country’s COVID-19 cases, he added.
“Also, if we do not respond and things go wrong and we have more cases, we are able to [handle] it.  So it is all part of the overall responsibility to ensure that we are able to manage the positives that will come out rather than waiting for them at the hospital.”
“We are just making sure people don’t get infected before coming to us to affect our jobs. So as a health sector we are able to make the best use of our resources that we have to contain the disease – we are going out there to ensure that people don’t get infected”, he explained.
Regional Health Directors have been asked to deploy health personnel to provide health support during the voter registration exercise which commences on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.
A notice signed by the Director-General asked the Regional Directors to dedicate health staff to all published registrations centres for the exercise.
“The Electoral Commission of Ghana is scheduled to commence the compilation of a new voters’ register. The exercise is expected to start from 30th June 2020 to 6th August 2020. As part of mitigating measures to prevent further spread of the disease, you are by this letter directed to assign and post dedicated health staff to each of the centres as per the attached list of published registration centres,” the statement directed.
According to the statement, it is the primary responsibility of the health staff at the centres to provide medical support in the area of sensitization on the COVID-19 protocols, taking body temperatures of all potential registrants, ensuring mandatory use of nose mask, social distancing and hygiene protocols.
They are also to make necessary referrals when the need arises.
The GHS Director-General further added that “all Regional Directors are encouraged to step up community engagement and sensitization activities on COVID-19 protocols within your respective regions. For further information or clarification, Regional Directors should liaise with their respective counterparts in the Regional Offices of the Electoral Commission.”
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