Research work undertaken by the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WAACBIP) and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has revealed that more than one million people living in Accra and Kasoa have been exposed to the coronavirus.
The report by the scientists indicates that contrary to the number of confirmed cases announced by the Ghana Health Service, many more residents in Accra and Kasoa have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus that causes COVID-19.
The study which had 1,305 participants took place in municipal markets and lorry stations in Accra and Kasoa, shopping malls in Accra, and COVID-19 testing centres and other research institutions and health centres in Accra.
The study further revealed that the risk of exposure was higher in markets and lorry stations than malls.
“Results of the seroprevalence study show that the exposure rate was higher among people tested at the markets and lorry stations (about 27 percent) than those at the malls (around 9 percent). The study also showed that differences in socioeconomic status could determine the risk of exposure to the virus.”
The report also added that despite widespread knowledge on the safety protocols, compliance is extremely low.
“I think these are somewhat cautionary results,” said Dr. Yaw Bediako, a Research Fellow at WACCBIP who was on the webinar. “We know these things can switch in an instant. So, we have to be vigilant and we have to be aware that COVID-19 is, indeed, circulating freely in our country and [that] our current testing protocols, which are focused on symptomatic people, will only capture a very small fraction.”
Dr. Peter Quashie, a Senior Research Fellow at WACCBIP, who presented the findings of the study disclosed that “having a higher level of education and a high level of income also significantly reduces your risk of being exposed compared to those who have lower levels of education and those who earn low incomes. We also found that individuals working in the informal sector are at a two-fold increased risk of being exposed,”