WHO to look into Ghana's coronavirus data with the government on 'peak' claims

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it will have to look into Ghana coronavirus COVID data to see whether the West African country has peaked or not.

Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. (Daily Guide)

Speaking at the Ghana Information Ministry’s press briefing on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, Dr Badu Sarkodie who is the Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service indicated that the county was at its peak the coronavirus crisis.

“So to answer directly to the question, we are at the peak of the curve,” Dr Badu Sarkodie said.

“If we are using the daily case incident with the signs and symptoms, then that will have a challenge. So clearly, the best data that we are using for the bell-shaped curve is the use of data of the dates samples were tested

“You will realise that with the sharp rise and now with the cases that we are testing we seem as a country to be on top of the peak and we are at the stage to decline; that is the observation now,” he explained.

On May 7 after Dr Sarkodie’s comment, Ghana’s confirmed cases for coronavirus COVID-19 was 3,091. In 24 hours, Ghana had 921 more cases making a total of 4,012 on May 8. The case count increased to 4,263 on May 9 with the addition of 864 new cases taking the sum to 5,127 on May 12, 2020.

At the time of the World Health Organization’s media briefing on Thursday, May 14, Ghana had a total number of 5,530 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Despite admitting that peaking involves different factors while answering Pulse.com.gh’s question around Ghana’s coronavirus peak debate, Dr Matshidiso Moeti who is the WHO Regional Director for Africa said the organization would have to look into the numbers with the Ghana government.

“We would need to look with the Ghanaian authorities and their data and see the conditions, the trends, the basis on which they say they have peaked,” Dr Moeti told the media replying to Pulse.com.gh’s question.

“What I do know is Ghana is one of the countries that have very significantly expanded testing,” she continued.

“So they have gone out there looking for cases. Some of the increase in numbers that we are seeing in Ghana may be related to the fact that the case definition has changed slightly.

In the beginning, they were probably testing people who presented ill at a health facility.

We will look with the Ghanaian government. We know that they put in place strong measures for prevention and they are also testing very aggressively which we think is a good combination.”

Dr Matshidiso Moeti also acknowledged that the topic of peaking for countries in a pandemic was a global discussion with Ghana not being alone. The discussion which has gone on in Italy, Spain, the UK and the United States of America is still debatable and unclear for many as the world continues to learn about coronavirus COVID-19.

“The question of whether a country has reached its peak or not is one of the most widely discussed questions worldwide,” Dr Moeti said.

“It’s a matter of looking at the data of a country. We know that countries put in place these preventive measures starting with surveillance, contact tracing, isolation and then the physical distancing.

“What we are predicting now is that we might reach a peak at a slower pace but a lower level of cases in countries.”

Dr Michel Yao who highlighted that the WHO was investigating Ghana’s case of one person infecting 500 others also explained the need to be cautious when analysing data of an early decrease.

“If you look at Ghana in the last 4 days, there has been a decrease but we need to be careful of the confinement and also the number of people that could still be exposed,” Dr Yao added in reply to Pulse.com.gh’s question.

“A resurgent is possible. So while not to think with a decrease in the wide testing, we need to look at early decrease with a lot of caution.”

He talked about an investigation into the Tema fish factory case saying:

“The case is under investigation and some information will be made available as soon as possible.”

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