There is confusion in Parliament over the COVID-19 positive cases among staff of the House as well as Parliamentarians.
The tests have led to the shutdown of Parliament for three weeks for those found positive to go treat themselves, however, the tests have been found to be problematic with reports that most of the staff declared positive, immediately went to other health facilities to carry out their own test and were found to be negative.
Reports from the House available to The Herald, is that the COVID-19 arrangement is a deal hatched under questionable circumstances by some notable administrators of the House to make money.
Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), has been inundated by the MPs and staff declared positive for their own test and most of them are being declared negative and they have since returned to work.
This, follows the threat from the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, to make their names public, because they had tested positive per the test carried out on them by Parliament, but had refused to isolate for treatment.
The Speaker’s police guards and ADC and a couple of drivers were declared positive, but they have since tested negative upon the second test. They have since returned to work
Interestingly, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu and Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, were said to have made their own arrangements for their administrative staff to be tested outside the Parliament arranged test, and they all came out negative.
The Clerk of Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsia, the Director of Protocol, Richard Acheampong and the Marshal of Parliament, Colonel Samuel Ofosu, are mentioned to be the leaders of the test which has proved problematic and generated controversy.
Some of the staff are going to the extent of verbally abusing them for bringing quack people to the House to run the COVID test causing fear and panic amongst them and trouble in their homes.
The Herald is informed that, many of the staff, who have gone for the additional test have since returned to work, but are highly incensed at the Clerk. They suspect that a deal has been hatched by some individuals to fleece Parliament, and they and their families have become victims of that dubious scheme.
Some of them talked about being embarrassed by the Clerk of Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsia, the Parliament Director of Protocol Richard Acheampong and the Marshal of Parliament Colonel Samuel Ofosu, saying they were embarrassingly pushed into a waiting vehicle at the recent three-day orientation and induction workshop at Aqua Safari in Ada, on the claim that they have tested positive of the COVID-19.
They were driven to Accra and left on their own to quarantine themselves, take Vitamins and Zinc.
Interestingly, here too, they suspected that someone had schemed to pocket their hotel fees and travelling allowances by having the results declared to them while on the trip, saying as soon also a telephone call is placed to you from one Dr. Julius, you’re instructed to join the bus of COVID-19 patients back to Accra from Ada.
But a call placed to one Julius Agbezudor, who was mentioned to have led the test in Parliament came out with some interesting findings.
He denied leading the test, but only made sure to relay the results to those who according to the report came out positive.
He explained that the Parliament through its Director of Protocol, made an arrangement with Noguchi to run the COVID test for the House, and he was only called in to deliver the results to those who tested positive, since the resident medical doctor of Parliament, a certain Dr Pambo, was out of town.
Mr Agbezudor, who identified himself as a Physician Assistant (PA), told The Herald that his position was merely to explain the results to the staff and MPs due to the absence of the residence medical doctor.
On the arrangement, he said he had nothing to do with it, adding the testing was not done by his facility; Clinix at Kokomlemle – Accra adjacent Harvard Senior High School (SHS).
The samples were collected by personnel from Noguchi and the tests were done there, and the results were submitted to the Clerk of Parliament.
He was, however, not surprised, some of them tested negative upon their second test, explaining that their status might have changed by the time the result arrived, since in some cases, the result took about four to five days to come, meaning the people recovered ahead of their second test.
Mr Agbezudor, said he had not charged Parliament a dime and that everything he had done had been on humanitarian ground.
He disclosed that the results are sent to the Director of Protocol, Mr Acheampong, who forwards same to the Clerk of Parliament, who then calls him to explain the results to staff, as well as MPs, adding ”I only came in because Dr. Pambo is not around, and he called me to do this for him”.
Mr Agbezudor, revealed that some who started having symptoms of COVID shortly after the test in Parliament, called him and he had to make arrangements for them to visit designated treatment centres to be attended to.
Dr. Pambo, on his part, told The Herald that he has not been in town and denied being part of the arrangements. He says he was away from Parliament for four weeks, adding the arrangement came from the top hierarchy of Parliament.
He, however, played down the fears of those declared positive, but later tested negative by rating Noguchi highly.
He described Noguchi as a 5-Star laboratory for testing COVID, adding no one could doubt their report, because it has the logistics and capacity.
He also played down those whose results came out negative upon the second test, saying it simply means they had recovered from the virus, saying ”if you test positive and the next day you tested negative, it means you’d recovered”.
He questioned ”you test positive and the next day you test negative, why will you believe the negative result, but won’t believe the positive. I could tell you that the when you tested negative, you’re believing it, because that’s what you want”.
He also played down the panic that Parliament had been thrown into by asking ”what’s the news if an MP is COVID positive? What’s the news if a president is COVID positive? Haven’t COVID killed Sir John? Donald Trump had COVID. Many many Presidents have had COVID. We might all be doing stories on people who get malaria, pneumonia and HIV-AIDS”.
Asked if there will be another test in the House, when Parliament resumes from the three weeks break, Dr. Pambo, was emphatic, there will be none.
Source: Ghana|The Herald