Laboratory technicians from 9 African countries undergo training
Fifteen laboratory technicians from nine West African countries have undergone skills training that is aimed at equipping them with knowledge of how to handle infectious diseases.
Drawing on lessons from the Ebola outbreak, the training was aimed at equipping the participants to be able to curtail and handle any future outbreaks and pandemics in their respective countries.
Dubbed, Third Country Training, and organised by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), it was the fifth training in the series that started in 2019.
The participating countries were Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea, Benin and Sierra Leone.
Africa vulnerable to infectious diseases
The Infectious Hazard Management Officer at the World Health Organisation (WHO), Patrick Avevor, said the training was important because the African region continued to be vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks compared to other parts of the world.
“About 85 per cent of all Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreaks since its discovery in 1976 happened in Africa.
Some of the guests and trainees at the training
Similarly, Africa is also disproportionately affected by marburg virus disease with more than three quarters of all outbreaks reported in Africa” he said.
The Head of the Department of Immunology of NMIMR, Professor Michael Fokuo Ofori, said though the training began as a response to the Ebola outbreak, the world had experienced other deadly outbreaks such as COVID-19 and emerging viral diseases such as Marburg, Lassa Fever and Monkeypox hence the training had been revised taking those developments into account to ensure that health workers were given the proper training to enable them to react to those threats.
Speaking on behalf of the participating countries, the Charge d’Affaires of the Liberian Embassy in Ghana, Phillip Garjah Innis, said giving the unique development challenges in the West Africa sub-region, courses like that not only play an important role in early disease detection, treatment and prevention but more importantly, they serve as a basis for the public health sector to take appropriate local measure to tackle the challenges.
The Counsellor and Deputy Head of Missions at the Japanese Embassy in Ghana, Naoki Mitori, said they were proud that the NMIMR, named after a Japanese doctor, was playing a leading role in medical research in Ghana and the West Africa sub region.