Health workers involved in contact tracing of the novel Coronavirus pandemic in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region have shared the difficulties they go through when conducting contact tracing on suspected cases of COVID-19.
According to them, their main difficulty has to do with locating and protecting suspected COVID-19 persons from public stigmatization.
In an exclusive interview with some contact tracers on A1 Radio’s Reporters Visit, a Disease Control Officer with the Bolgatanga Municipal Health Directorate, Simon Agyei-Effah, explained, the trauma they usually go through to identify and protect suspected persons of COVID-19.
“Sometimes you have to call and meet the person outside of his/her house so that people will not know what is happing. And to do that, sometimes you have to draw a map with a call location to know exactly where the person is actually staying to avoid misdirection.
If that is successful, you will again think of how to protect the person against stigma. You know how stigmatizing people can be regarding this virus, so that is actually our main challenge in doing the contact tracing. Sometimes the person decides where he/she will like to meet us in order to avoid people knowing what exactly is going on. So, we take the risk and pain to follow whatever directive they give”.
“After meeting with the person we will then take samples of him/her for testing which will last for some days. And if the samples come back as negative we will send a text to the person, but if it is positive, then, we will quarantine the person and start again to do another contact tracing of the people he/she may come into contact with.”
Irrespective of these challenges I see the work as my core responsibility because I was doing contact tracing of other diseases before the birth of COVID-19. So, I’m not scared of the virus because I was trained to do my job.”
Another contact tracer, Dr. Edmund Mohammed, added that, since the wake of the virus his outfit recorded 410 contacts of which 24 of them were tested positive of the COVID-19 only in the Bolgatanga Municipality.
Mr. Mohammed, however added that, though the job was difficulty, frontline health workers try to deliver on their mandate but have not been their allowances of GHC150 per contact tracing case.
“But for the enhance contact tracing allowance which is Ghc150.00 per case they cannot tell whether they have qualified for it or not”.