Northern Region gets public health emergency operations centre

Tamale, Aug. 26, GNA – The United States Government, through the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has injected resources into the establishment, and expansion of two health facilities in the Northern Region to respond to public health alerts and emergencies.

The facilities are; the Northern Region Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), and the expansion of the Tamale Public Health Laboratory to 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, which comprises of networked computers to receive information on disease incidents from especially communities in the region, would 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.

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, which will create additional space for a molecular laboratory, is expected to improve on the time taken to conduct tests on disease samples as well as to enable the facility to run a 24-hour molecular testing including testing of COVID-19 samples.

Madam Stephanie Sullivan, United States Ambassador to Ghana, who spoke during the inauguration of the two facilities in Tamale on Thursday, said the provision of the facilities, “Are examples of how the United States Embassy through the CDC supports critical health infrastructure and provides other technical assistance.”

Madam Sullivan said; “Together, these facilities serve to strengthen Ghana’s resilience and response to COVID-19 and other emerging public health threats.”

She said, “The US Government through CDC is pleased to partner with the government of Ghana to strengthen and expand laboratory and diagnostic ability to cover all priority diseases and to make molecular testing easily accessible.”

Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye, Director General of Ghana Health Service called on the Managements of the two facilities to continue to build their capacity to effectively man the facilities for the intended purpose.

Dr John Eleeza, Northern Regional Director of Health, 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.”

Dr Eleeza said, “To ensure that we churn out excellent results from the EOC, the region will continue to collaborate with the Enhanced Strategy to protect and improve Health Security in Ghana project to roll out capacity enhancement programmes to equip the staff with the needed capability to perform the tasks required in the EOC.”

He spoke about the strategic location of the region with regard to health care provision saying, “It is significant to point out that considering the crucial role the Northern Region plays in the management of outbreaks in the northern sector of the country, the establishment of this state-of-the-art EOC would greatly enhance the capacity of the RHD and position the Public Health Unit to respond to public health alerts and other related issues in a speedy manner while providing real-time data and feedback to relevant stakeholders for decision-making.”

He added that, “This will further augment the incident management system at the regional level through a collaborative approach in the framework of the international health regulations.”

Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister 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.