The United States of America (USA), through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has helped set up the Northern Region Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and expansed the Tamale Public Health Laboratory.
The expansion of the health laboratory is to help create additional space for a molecular laboratory with separate compartments for sample reception, extraction, clean and dirty areas, as well as a room for amplification.
The EOC on the other hand will serve as a coordination unit of real time information and resources for the early detection of disease outbreaks and other public health events and to effectively respond to them.
The emergency centre comprises of networked computers to receive information on disease incidents from, especially communities in the region. It is also meant to be a source of event specific data, which can be analysed for evidence-based decision-making.
On the other hand, the expansion of the Tamale Public Health Laboratory is expected to improve on the time taken to conduct tests on disease samples as well as to enable the facility to run 24-hour molecular testing, including testing of COVID-19 samples.
Strengthening Ghana’s resilience
At the inauguration of the facilities in Tamale last Thursday, the USA Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Stephanie S. Sullivan, said the US Government through the CDC was pleased to partner the government of Ghana to strengthen and expand laboratory and diagnostic ability to cover all priority diseases and to make molecular testing easily accessible.
She said the facilities would also help strengthen Ghana’s response to the outbreak of diseases and infections as well as emerging public health threats.
“Together, these facilities serve to strengthen Ghana’s resilience and response to COVID-19 and other emerging public health threats,” she added.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye, called on the management of the two facilities to continue to build their capacity to effectively man the facilities for the intended purpose.
The Northern Regional Director of Health, Dr John Eleeza, whose speech was read on his behalf, said: “In terms of operational arrangements, a team of eight staff drawn predominantly from the Disease Control and Surveillance Unit of the Regional Health Directorate (RHD) will operate the EOC.”
He further said the facilities were critical and it being sited in the Northern Region further emphasised the crucial role the region played in the management of outbreaks in the northern sector of the country,
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, expressed gratitude to the United States Government for the support to ensure that the facilities continued to better serve the people of the region and beyond.