The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission and the European Union (EU), yesterday, donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for the protection of border personnel.
The PPE, including facemasks, thermometer guns, gloves and detergent worth £40,000 are part of a £200,000 COVID-19 support kit to five ECOWAS member states; Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Benin and Togo, to contain the pandemic at their entry points.
The joint assistance was under a £26 million project dubbed “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM West Africa), implemented by International Organisation for Migration and other partners.
Started in 2013, the project aims at maximising the development potential of free movement of persons and migration in the sub-region through the implementation of various ECOWAS protocols.
According to Pieter Van Gelder, Deputy Head of EU delegation to Ghana, the support was to complement measures already put in place by the various countries to manage the spread of the virus.
The PPE, he said, were to help reduce the risk of infection within the region, protect border officials and aid them to adhere to international health recommendations as well as ensure healthy and orderly movement.
According to him, it had become important for countries to be supported because the socio-economic meltdown the pandemic was grave and room must not be given for further spread or second wave.
The Commissioner of Free Movement of ECOWAS, Tei Konzi, reminded member states to adhere to all protocols agreed up onto control the spread of the virus as well as movement in the region.
He said a guideline had been developed to harmonise the free movement of trade with in the region, taking into consideration international standards of COVID-19 pandemic fight.
He commended West African countries for their efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, assuring that the Commission and its partners would continue to provide support in that regard.
For his part, Comptroller-General of Immigration, Kwame Asuah Takyi, described the PPE as one of the important gears in the work of immigration personnel currently because of the risk personnel at the borders faced.
With the country not out of the woods yet, he said, the items would contribute to the safety of personnel at the entry points, and the effective border management in this crucial time.
He thanked the donors and their partners for the cooperation over the years especially the FMM project which had helped the service to effectively execute its mandate of migration management.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR