The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) Friday expressed sorrow at the passing of Dr. Richard Kisser, one of Ghana’s renowned surgeons, who succumbed to COVID-19, while receiving treatment for complications from the respiratory disease at the University of Ghana Medical Centre at Legon.
Dr. Kisser worked as a consultant surgeon at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Koforidua Regional Hospital and the Trust Hospitals.
In an interview with Dr. Ernest Yorke, the Chairman of the Greater Accra Division of the GMA said: “We learned with sadness the passing of Dr. Richard Kisser on Thursday, July 2, 2020 at the UGMC. He was a proud member of the Greater Accra Division and contributed his part to the activities of the GMA.
“He will be remembered as a fine doctor by his patients and also for training many doctors and specialists.
“Our hearts are with the wife, children and the family for their untimely loss. The Greater Accra GMA has, indeed, lost a valued member. May his soul rest in perfect peace”.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Office of the Trust Hospital, where Dr Kisser was a consultant surgeon, announced his demise on Friday in a bulletin on Friday.
“May his soul rest in peace, the Hospital prayed, while expressing regret at his passing”.
Dr. Kisser’s death brings to three the number of doctors who have passed from complications of COVID-19.
Dr. Harry Owusu Boateng, the Medical Superintendant of the Kwadaso Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Kumasi, died in June; while Dr Jacob-Plange-Rhule, the Rector of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons passed in April.
More than 100 doctors in Ghana, the GMA said, have tested positive for the virus.
Though it is uncertain whether they got infected in the line of duty or not, the World Health Organisation says health workers are at the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak response and are, therefore, exposed to hazards that put them at risk of infection.
The hazards include pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigma, and physical and psychological violence.
The major occupational risks for COVID19 infection among health workers, it says, include the late recognition or suspicion of COVID-19 in patients, long exposure in areas in healthcare facilities where large numbers of COVID-19 patients are being cared for, sub-optimal adherence to infection prevention and control measures, such as hand hygiene practices, and lack of or improper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The WHO, in April, put the number of infected health workers globally at 10 percent, while in May, the Geneva-based International Council on Nursing put the figure at more than 90,000 based on the data it gathered from 30 countries.
To appreciate the services of health workers, the Government of Ghana in April announced that front-line workers would receive a bonus of 50 percent on their basic salaries. The incentive is for six months.
All health workers are also to enjoy a tax holiday from April to June.
Ghana’s confirmed COVID-19 cases are 18,134, with 13,550 recovered cases. With 117 deaths, the active cases are 4,467.