Ghana | IOM Partners with WHO to Support Government in infection prevention and control
Ho and Sunyani, Ghana - The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ghana Health Service (GHS), organized two workshops in August 2021 to support efforts of the Government of Ghana in harmonising the response to public health emergencies such as COVID-19 across its border posts.
The capacity building workshops helped to reinforce the capacities of Port Health, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) - Customs Division officials on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) at land Points of Entry (PoEs).
A Training-of-Trainers (ToT) workshop in Ho, Volta Region (3-5 August 2021) strengthened the IPC knowledge and skills of 14 officials from GIS and Port Health from seven ground PoEs. The session also built their capacities as trainers to further educate their colleagues across the country. A cascade training targeting the Western ground PoEs took place subsequently in Sunyani (26-27 August 2021). Two officials from GIS and Port Health trained in the earlier ToT joined as facilitators to deliver the training for 15 officials from GIS, Port Health and the GRA Customs Division from seven ground PoEs.
“Border security should involve preventing all existing dangers which might come through external borders into a nation. COVID-19 now poses a public health threat not only to Ghana but the whole world. It is of the highest priority to have well-informed staff at border crossing points to support efforts aimed at addressing this public health threat, and a training-of-trainers is an effective way to multiply knowledge,” said Dirk Kattlun, Federal Police Liaison Officer in Ghana, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ghana:
The workshops covered IPC techniques, general knowledge in IPC and COVID-19, self-protection measures, disease surveillance, risk communication and community engagement, risk assessment and management at PoEs, and environmental health/waste management, among others. Participating border and health officials also received operational guidance on how to effectively communicate health and safety measures to travellers and how to conduct screening and referral of suspected ill travellers.
“There is a need to ensure that Points of Entry do not become a hub for complications of infections. This training will equip all participants to strengthen the public health emergency capacities at Points of Entry which will translate into better capacities for the International Health Regulations,” said Patrick Avevor, Technical Officer, Public Health Security at the World Health Organization in Ghana.
The workshops responded to needs identified in a rapid assessment of the operational status of 48 PoEs across the country published by IOM in 2020. The assessment had found that, at the time, 90% of officials at land borders had not received specific training on COVID-19, and that 70% of PoEs did not have standard operating procedures (SOPs) on public health emergency response (PHER) in place.
“The trainings help address identified IPC gaps and support the drafting of referral pathways for ill travellers to improve identification, isolation and transportation. In the West African region, a free movement zone, ground PoEs in particular, remain essential in ensuring a coordinated national and global response to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies. PoEs form an integral part of the frontline efforts to ensure cross-border coordination and the protection of mobile vulnerable populations as well as facilitating the movement of people and goods,” said Nnamdi Iwuora, Project Manager at IOM Ghana.
The workshops were organised under the project “Strengthening Border Security and Border Community Resilience in the Gulf of Guinea” with funding from the German Federal Foreign Office. The project aims to contribute to the improvement of regional stability by strengthening border management capacities at select border posts in northern border regions of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo.
As the United Nations’ migration agency, IOM continues to be committed to support the Government of Ghana and countries in West Africa to address the national and regional challenges to immigration and border management and to build local, national, and regional capacity to manage migration effectively and humanely.
For more information, contact Nnamdi Iwuora, Project Manager at IOM Ghana, at firstname.lastname@example.org, +233 30 274 2930.