Accra, Ghana – On 30 September 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and key migration stakeholders from the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Ministry of the Interior, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) kicked off a regional project ‘Enhancing Border Management Capacity for Responding to Public Health Crisis Including COVID-19’. Funded by JICA, the project intends to strengthen overall border management capacities in five West African countries – Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso.
The project will ensure more effective preparedness and response to potential public health crises at selected points of entry (PoEs). The project will also conduct a comprehensive survey to evaluate the present situation regarding border management, trade facilitation and COVID-19 response measures at selected PoEs. Based on the findings, public health equipment and infrastructure needed to ensure more effective preparedness and response to potential public health crises will be procured and provided to States.
“These interventions have been a top priority for JICA in the wake of the pandemic,” said Maki Ozawa, Senior Representative of JICA. She added that “this project is right in time and will sustain economic activities while protecting lives.”
To counter the spread of COVID-19, several land borders across Africa were closed in 2020. These border closures and associated restrictions have disrupted regular trade exchanges and impacted migration flows, as well as exposed border management agencies and cross-border communities to higher risks of infection. The five project countries were vulnerable to the unpredictable impacts of the pandemic due to structural and health emergency deficiencies at the land borders.
“The current pandemic makes this project very timely. The holistic approach to focus on coordination with all the Border Management Agencies and on sustainability of interventions will strengthen our border security and our International Health Regulation capacities at the borders to respond to COVID-19 and potential biological threats,” said Dr Lawrence Lartey, Head of Port Health at the Ghana Health Service.
During the meeting at the IOM office, stakeholders discussed the implementation plan and the role of the respective stakeholders to achieve the results and positively impact the cross-border communities.
“The project interventions will support countries to respond to future disease outbreaks and health threats, like the current COVID-19 pandemic. This approach is anchored in IOM’s Health, Border and Mobility Management (HBMM) framework and IOM’s Strategic Response and Recovery Plan COVID-19 2021. What’s more, this project will contribute to the achievement of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which recognizes migration as a key development aspect,” said Abibatou Wane-Fall, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.
For more information, please contact Nnamdi Iwuora, Programme Manager, Immigration and Border Management (IBM), IOM Ghana, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +233 30 274 2930