Data management during COVID-19 outbreak response in Ghana: A reference laboratory perspective on key issues and measures

Evangeline Obodai, George B. Kyei, James Aboagye, Evelyn Y. Bonney, Ivy A. Asante, Joseph K.H. Bonney, Mildred Adusei-Poku, Helena Lamptey, Bright Adu, Ernest Kenu, Kwadwo A. Koram, William K. Ampofo, John K. Odoom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is an important subject for global health. Ghana experienced lowmoderate transmission of the disease when the first case was detected in March 12, 2020 until the middle of July when the number of cases begun to drop. By August 24, 2020, the country's total number of confirmed cases stood at 43,622, with 263 deaths. By the same time, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) of the University of Ghana, the primary testing centre for COVID-19, had tested 285,501 with 28,878 confirmed cases. Due to database gaps, there were initial challenges with timely reporting and feedback to stakeholders during the peak surveillance period. The gaps resulted from mismatches between samples and their accompanying case investigation forms, samples without case investigation forms and vice versa, huge data entry requirements, and delayed test results. However, a revamp in data management procedures, and systems helped to improve the turnaround time for reporting results to all interested parties and partners. Additionally, inconsistencies such as multiple entries and discrepant patient-sample information were resolved by introducing a barcoding electronic capture system. Here, we describe the main challenges with COVID-19 data management and analysis in the laboratory and recommend measures for improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-55
Number of pages5
JournalGhana Medical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Covid-19
  • Data management
  • Laboratory diagnosis
  • Pandemic
  • Surveillance


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