Ghana signs agreement with WHO to train epidemiologists

WHOThe World Health Organisation (WHO) and the School of Public Health, University of Ghana have signed an agreement to support the training of front line health workers in the field of epidemiology.

Laboratory personnel would also be trained to address public health needs.

The agreement to train 175 students from five selected regions would go through a three- week classroom work, three months field work in analysis of routine surveillance data, surveillance system evaluation and outbreak investigation as well as mapping out epidemic prone diseases by place and time in their various catchment areas.

Professor Richard Ahunu, Dean of the School of Public Health, who signed on behalf of the School, said there has been persistence need for well trained epidemiologists to support public health surveillance, outbreak investigation and response system.

He explained that Ghana has been hit by series of epidemics especially, cholera hence the need to strengthen the health worker competence to deal with the frequently occurring outbreaks.

The Dean noted that Ghana lacks the capacity to manage the occurrence of major communicable diseases and the emerging incidence of non-communicable illnesses.

“The Ebola Virus Disease scare in Ghana recently exposed the lack of capacity of the health sector at levels, which serve as the first point of call for most health threat. Though there is some competent field and trained professionals who can effectively manage public health emergencies at the national levels and this is not the case at the lower levels,” he said.

He commended WHO and the other partners who make funds and technical support available to support Ghana to achieve the vision.

Mr Kaoru Yoshimura, Japanese Ambassador, expressed the delight in supporting financially to the training programme and said he is hopeful the course would help the trainees in the early detection and response to prevent any future potential to Ghana.

He explained that their financial support formed part of Japan’s contribution to strengthen Ghana’s preparedness to fight Ebola, adding, “It is our hope that the training course will help strengthen public health and national surveillance systems to manage health emergencies”.

Dr Magda Robalo, WHO Country Representative, who signed on behalf of the donors, commended Ghana for the efforts put in to strengthen the country’s health system.

Source: GNA

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