The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Thursday began a series of training to build the capacity of border officials to conduct Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) related screening and infection control procedures at borders.
In all, 800 border officials from the Port Health Unit of Ghana Health Service, Ghana Immigration Service, and the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority based at Tema and Takoradi Ports, Kotoka International Airport as well as Elubo, Aflao, Paga, Hamile and Sampa borders would benefit from the three-month programme.
Speaking at a two-day workshop in Tema, Papa Kwaw Mensah, IOM Programme Manager, said over 30 officers from the Tema area are being trained as part of the grand national programme.
“The newly trained officials will now cascade the training they will receive to their peers in an effort to better prepare these frontline officers to include Ebola surveillance in their daily work.
“The training will also cover other communicable diseases, promote basic hygiene and sanitation and roll out new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for strengthened border heath surveillance in Ghana”, he stated.
Another key component of IOM’s intervention will be community mobilization activities aiming at empowering community leaders to raise awareness and increase their communities’ knowledge on the causes, symptoms and modes of prevention of EVD in order to positively influence their communities and promote behaviour change.
“Awareness campaigns including the distribution of information material, comic strips, radio messages and the organization of community meetings are also planned. Over $160,000 will be spent on Community mobilization by the end of December 2015”.
He lauded donor partners such as the Government of Japan, and also expressed gratitude for the strong collaboration IOM had with the Ghana Health Service, Ghana Immigration Service, and Ghana Revenue Authority.
“IOM also enjoys a strong partnership with the UN in Ghana, particularly the WHO and the UN EVD Joint Programme.”
Assorted equipment and computers valued at $90,000 were donated to various institutions including the Ebola Centre at the Tema General Hospital.
They included over 100 full PPE suits; 54 non-contract infra-red thermometers; 56,000 pairs of disposable hand gloves; 35,900 face masks; 185 disposable aprons; 14 knapsack sprayers; 26 Veronica bucket systems; 8 computers and printers; and quantities of bleach, alcohol disinfectant, hand sanitizers, and washing soap.