Lecturer at the Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Dr. Justice Moses Aheto has argued that “it is not the right time to let students go back to school”.
President Nana Akufo-Addo in his eleventh address on COVID-19 announced that ‘from 15th June, the last batch of institutions in this phased approach, our educational institutions, will begin to reopen, with final year students in our tertiary colleges and universities returning to school to prepare for and take their exit examinations”.
Biostatistician Justice Aheto in an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show divulged that the Government has not followed critical procedures needed before the reopening of schools.
“I know COVID-19 has come to stay for a while but there are certain basic things which we need to first do to determine whether it is safe to relax some of the restrictions or not and we have not been able to do so. One of them is random testing across Ghana. If Government is not in a position to do what we call mass testing, Government could do random testing where certain individuals can be randomly selected across certain geographical locations of the country that will give us a fair idea about the prevalence in the country”, he explained.
He noted also that there needs to be a special mapping that will help us identify the hotspots of the disease in the country. Per his view, the identification of hotspots in the country has been poorly done by the Government and the Ghana Health Service as Ghanaians have not been given an equal chance in the sample testing.
“You hear Government and Ghana Health Service (GHS) talk about some areas being hotspots. But what we are doing so far is a purposive kind of testing. They pick a positive case and the contacts of the positive case are traced. If they realize certain areas are peaking with a lot more cases then they test people living in 2km radius. This will not give you a fair idea as to whether that area will be considered a hotspot or not because all that you are doing is following those that you actually identified as positive. You have not given Ghanaians an equal chance of being included in your sample testing, so you can’t begin to talk about hotspots”, he added.
He further advised that the Government must be careful in the definite pronouncement involving infectious diseases and must ensure that certain basic procedures are put in place before school reopens.
By: Alberta Dorcas N D Armah
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