IOM trains Ghana Immigration Service and Port Health officials in infection prevention and control

Published Date: 
Mon, 04/12/2021 - 17:15
Country: 
Ghana

Accra, Ghana - The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), organized a workshop to strengthen the capacities of GIS and Port Health officials in infection prevention and control (IPC). This was to support the Government of Ghana efforts at providing a coordinated response to public health emergencies such as COVID-19.

Two Training of Trainers (ToT) workshops were held in Accra (17-19 March 2021 and 22-24 March 2021) thanks to funding from the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). They helped to reinforce the capacities of 33 officers from 16 Points of Entry (PoEs) from selected land borders of Ghana.

“Officers at points of entry play a critical role in the regional and global efforts of preventing the international spread of diseases, including COVID-19. WHO and IOM work in close partnership to enhance the implementation of international health regulations and strengthen global health security,” said Patrick Avevor, Technical Officer, Public Health Security at the World Health Organization in Ghana.

Areas covered during the workshops included self-protection measures, disease surveillance, risk communication and community engagement, among others. Participating border and health officials also received operational guidance to effectively screen and refer suspected cases.

“The aim is to equip officers with a clear understanding of standard operating procedures for how to screen and refer suspected cases of coronavirus and other infectious diseases. This is essential to infection prevention and control, including the personal protection of officers on the frontline,” said Kim Bridger, Justice and Home Affairs Advisor at the British High Commission in Ghana.

The workshops were carried out in response to a rapid assessment of the operational status of 48 PoEs across the country published in June 2020 by IOM. 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 workshops help address identified gaps. The essential role of PoEs in ensuring a coordinated national and global response to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies cannot be over emphasised. PoEs form an integral part of the frontline efforts to ensure cross-border coordination and the protection of vulnerable persons in mobility,” said Nnamdi Iwuora, Project Manager at IOM Ghana.

The knowledge acquired in sessions on teaching skills will help the officials to further train their staff and colleagues at their respective PoEs. They are now part of a core group of national trainers on public health emergency response (PHER) and IPC across the country.

“This training could not have come at a better time to complement the efforts of the Government of Ghana and the GIS. One valuable outcome from this training will be that officers can share the knowledge gained with other officers,” said Edith Penelope Arhin, Assistant Commissioner of Immigration in charge of Kotoka international Airport, on behalf of the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Kwame Asuah Takyi.

The workshops were organised as part of the project “Reinforcing Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) capacities along Ghana’s borders for a coordinated response to public health emergencies”.

For more information, contact Nnamdi Iwuora, Project Manager at IOM Ghana, at [email protected], +233 30 274 2930.