The robust COVID-19 testing procedure at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, was subjected to strict scrutiny by Members of the Select Committee of Parliament on Health, with the lawmakers expressing satisfaction with the operational procedure.
The decision of the Committee was spurred by the experiences their Members shared after going through the procedure at the Airport COVID-19 Testing Center from the start to the end.
Prior to this, there were some media reports that had raised some concerns about the COVID-19 testing procedure at the nation’s international airport, a situation which brought the integrity of the testing results into dispute.
Following up on the concerns, with some member availing themselves to the operational testing procedure, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Nana Ayew Afriyie, told reporters that they were impressed with what they saw and experienced.
“We were taking through the processes at the Kotoka International Airport from arrival of passengers to the exit point. We are impressed with what we saw with regard to the operational processes”, he noted.
Apart from that, he said any other observations will be discussed with the airport authorities together with Frontiers Health Services, a laboratory service provider mandated to manage the KIA COVID-19 Testing Center, privately for solutions.
The move by the Select Committee on Health was to enable them have first-hand information about the testing procedures for arrivals and to also understand the dynamics and operations of the Testing Centre run by Frontiers Health Services.
The Ranking Member of the Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, sharing his observations with reporters said the a major concern was how Port Health Officials came into contact with passengers before getting to know their status.
Another concern, he noted, was the cost of testing which has now been reduced from US$150 to US$50, stressing that the Committee will have further engagements with the Minister of Health to resolve the challenges they have identified.
The Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited, Yaw Kwakwa, who hosted the lawmakers, explained to them how the testing procedure at the airport was done.
“On arrival at the airport, all passengers are screened using thermal scanning devices and are also required to a health declaration form”, he said.
He further explained that the airport operator as part of the processes, created banking booths at the airport for passengers to verify only their payment receipts before being ushered into testing booths for their blood samples to be taken.
“The results are ready in 30 minutes”, he noted.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, commenting on the management of the confirmed cases at the airport, all confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus were handled by the Port Health Unit.
“After completion of arrival procedures, they are then sent to the Ga East Municipal Hospital for further clinical assessment and management”, he averred.
The Managing Director of Frontiers Health Services, Dr. Kudzo Seneadze, also commenting on the testing procedure, said the safety of passengers is at the core of their duties, assuring the Health Committee that his outfit would continue to do its best to ensure that the quality of COVID-19 testing at the airport is not compromised.