Ghana Health Service investigates high Covid-19 mortality rate in Ashanti Region

Health authorities in the Ashanti Region are investigating what they say is alarming coronavirus-related fatalities in the region.

Officials say high mortality figures are becoming a concern to them since as it could affect the fight against Covid-19.

The region accounts for 58 deaths, which almost half of the country’s total death toll of 129, as of July 9, 2020.

Regional Health Director, Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang, describes the fatality as highly unacceptable, as he calls for concerted efforts to bring it down.

Ashanti Regional Health Director, Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang
Ashanti Regional Health Director, Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang

“The mortalities may be due to the fact that people are reporting late or people are living in denial or we are dealing with a difficult strain or we are not managing the cases as expected.

All these are factors. We are trying to analyze the data and then classify the deaths properly to see how they come in; how they die to see the signs and symptoms whether its Covid-19 death or Covid-19 related death.

All these are something that I think we will need to start researching into to find out why the mortality in Ashanti region is quite high compared to other regions in this country .”

Ashanti Region has seen Covid-19 deaths jump from 5 from May 10,2020 to 58, as at yesterday, July 9,2020.

Confirmed Covid-19 cases leapt from 453 to 4,972 with 3,641 recoveries over the same period.

Out of 42 districts with confirmed cases, Kumasi Metropolis tops the death toll with 33.

Obuasi Municipality and  Obuasi East District follow with  four  each, Afigya Kwabre South and Kwadaso have three apiece, with Old Tafo, two.

Nine other districts have each lost one person.

Health authorities say the are analysing the worrying trend, as there is evidence of many patients being brought either dead or die less than 24-hours on admission.

“We are  very much concerned. Sincerely that has been my work and every day we are working; we are analyzing  records because we realize that most of them come and die within 24-hours.

Some of them are even brought in dead and you do  verbal autopsy and you say this may be Covid-19,” Dr. Tinkorang said.

Despite ongoing public education, many residents in the region doubt the existence of the Coronavirus.

People continue to flout safety protocols such as social distancing , wearing of facemasks and hand washing with impunity.

“It means that the awareness is not high or the denial is still very high and that’s the reason why people are just ignoring the protocols and then the guidelines.

“It seems that people are not serious about it. And do when they are sick, they much won’t come to the hospital,” he said.

He added, “They stay till they are about to die. So, in fact, we need a lot of efforts not only the Health Service but we need a concerted effort by all the stakeholders. Everybody needs to do his or her bit so as to help embark on continuous education for the people in my region to realise that we have a challenge.”

The likely consequence is that a few will report Covid-19- related symptoms at health facilities.

Dr Tinkorang attributed the cause of the trend to several factors, but he singles out public apathy towards the virus.

“We shouldn’t sit down thinking that nothing is happening. Sometimes I go around and talk to people and they think that we are not doing anything but just scaring them,” he said.

“‘You say there’s a problem but we don’t see any problem. It’s because they are not in our hospitals to see what is happening. Sometimes what they tell us is so hurting,” he said.

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