The Ghana Health Service (GHS) and its partners have ended a two-day stakeholder meeting organised by in collaboration with the Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (US,CDC) on strengthening Ghana’s health security to effectively respond to emerging diseases.
The meeting was in furtherance of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) signed by member countries in 2014 to achieve a world safe and secured from global health threats posed by infectious diseases.
It had in attendance the Director Global Health Security Programme of US CDC,Dr Danielle Barradas, Senior Deputy Country Director of KOICA Ghana,MrSeungmin Oh, DrSally-Ann Oheneof the World Health Organisation,Director Policy, Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation (PPME) of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Emmanuel Odame and Director of Public Health of the GHS, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting, highlighted issues of duplication of technical activities and deliverables under each sector and the need to align future plans to strengthening collaboration to realise health security in Ghana.
“Other critical areas that were identified included support logistics and infrastructure for Point of Entry, expansion of Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS), continuation of training of field epidemiologist through Intermediate- and Frontline- FETP intervention, the need for establishment of Regional emergency operation centres (EOCs) and strengthening specimen referral transport system,” it said.
Director of PPME at the Ministry of Health, Dr Emmanuel Odame, noted that health security was critical to attaining Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Ghana by 2030.
He defined Ghana’s UHC as; all people living in Ghana having timely access to high-quality health services irrespective of ability to pay at the point of use.
DrOdame said increased support to promote health security amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was crucial and appealed for stakeholders support to achieve set target indicators.
MrSeungmin Oh, the Deputy KOICA Country Director, said the meeting was important to take stock on progress of the implementation of the GHSA, in Ghana.
He said, since the GHSA was launched, the Government of the Republic of Korea had committed 100 million USD to support implementation in the country from 2016 to 2020.
“In 2018, the US CDC and KOICA Ghana Office signed an MOU to support the “Phase I GHSA Project” from 2018 to 2022 to contribute to Ghana’s attainment of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).
In May 2021, the Government of Korea renewed its commitment again with USD 200 million to the GHSA for the next 5 years,” he said.
Mr. Oh, mentioned four main areas where the project tackled namely; laboratory strengthening, real-time surveillance and reporting, workforce development and emergency preparedness and response adding that it resulted in achievements including an ISO15189 accreditation for National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL), linkage of laboratory and surveillance data systems andtraining of field epidemiologist through the “Intermediate Field Epidemiology Training Programme (FETP).
“It has also supported the Tamale Infectious Disease Treatment Center and trained some staff from the national and regional Emergency Operation Center (EOC) and we hope that moving forward we will strengthen this collaboration,” he stated.
Dr Franklin AsieduBekoe, the Director of Public Health at the GHS, emphasised the importance of partnership which has led to tremendous progress in the area of laboratory and workforce development from the time the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) package was carried out in 2017.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH
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