The Ghana Health Service (GHS) yesterday took delivery of three fully furnished modern ambulances, 12 laptops, tablets, blood pressure monitors and other medical accessories from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The gesture, funded by the government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is expected to strengthen border management capacities to better prepare for and respond to current and future potential health crisis at the Paga, Elubo an Aflao borders.
It also formed part of IOM-implemented project dubbed “Improving border management capacity for responding to public health crisis including infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Handing over the items to the Director General of the GHS, the Ambassador of Japan to Ghana, Hisanobu Mochizuki said the COVID-19 pandemic had posed direct threat to people’s lives and the economy due to the fact that border restrictions during the pandemic affected not only the movement of people but also that of goods, disrupting supply chains all over the world, especially in Africa.
The experience, he said revealed how public health emergencies were closely tied with economic crisis, highlighting the importance to enhance border capacity in terms of both health and trade.
He hoped that the project, which has been implemented in five African countries, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana, would contribute greatly to preparing them for future crisis and beyond.
He was of the conviction that the donated equipment would help save lives of individuals crossing the borders including people living in the border region, businessmen and drivers who carry goods.
Ambassador Mochizuki commended the IOM, the GHS and JICA for their collaboration on the project, adding that “partnership and cooperation was necessary when managing crisis at all times, especially when working on border issues which essentially involves many stakeholders.
Chief Representative, JICA Ghana, in his remarks underscored the need for the development of capacity to respond to infectious diseases in the context of border management.
“As much as open borders are important for economy it is also critical for a country to secure and safeguard herself from risks of spread of diseases involved in the movement of goods and people,” he stressed.
Director General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye thanked IOM and JICA for the gesture saying it would go a long way to improve safety at the borders as Ghana had become a major transit point for the entire West Africa.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU AND CHARITY ASUKA