Land border officials receive major boost


As part of measures to ensure public health safety through the safeguarding of Ghana’s borders, the British High Commission in Accra has funded a £35,350 training workshop for land border officials to boost health emergency response.

The workshop was led by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM-Ghana) and targetted at strengthening the capacity of Ghana in responding to public health emergencies, such as Ebola and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workshop is expected to augment Ghana’s capacity and operational guidance along its land borders. The training workshop saw 32 border officers drawn from the western, north-western, eastern and north-eastern borders, comprising mainly port health officials and border officers from the Ghana Immigration Service and other agencies. Officials were trained to provide cascade-training to other colleagues on public health emergency response.

The Justice and Home Affairs Advisor of the British High Commission, Ms. Kim Bridger said: “Here in Ghana, the UK has repurposed 48 million cedis of UK Aid funding to support Ghana’s response to COVID-19. That support is wide-ranging, but includes funding of oxygen concentrators and drones to deliver C19 tests and life-saving medical equipment”. She added that, “The objective of this course is to help you promote a coordinated response to public health issues at the land borders.

“Our aim is to equip you with a clear understanding of standard operating procedures for how to screen for and refer suspected cases of coronavirus and other infectious diseases. This is essential to infection prevention and control, including your personal protection as officers on the front line.”

The Programme Manager for IOM-Ghana, Nnamdi Iwoura, stated that Points of Entry (PoEs) play an essential role by ensuring a coordinated national and global response to COVID 19 and other public health emergencies.

He said: “POEs form a part of the front-line efforts to ensure infection prevention and control (IPC), disease surveillance, cross-border coordination, and the protection of vulnerable persons in mobility. These training of trainers’ workshops address identified gaps by ensuring border officials have increased capacity and operational guidance to achieve a coordinated response to health emergencies at Ghana’s land borders.

“The workshops will create a core of national trainers on Public Health Emergency Response and IPC across the country.” On behalf of IOM Ghana, he thanked the UK government for funding the training workshop.

Speaking on behalf of the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Edith Penelope Arhin – Assistant Commissioner of Immigration in charge of the Kotoka International Airport said: “Indeed, this training programme could not have come at a better time than now to complement the efforts of government and the Service…I am very optimistic that the training will result in clear improvements in knowledge of participants and be applicable in an emergency setting, especially at entry points where the Port Health Authorities are not stationed. I am hopeful that one valuable lesson from this training programme will be for officers to facilitate the extension of knowledge gained on Infection Prevention and Control to other officers in your Commands.”

Representatives from the World Health Organisation and the Ghana Health Service gave solidarity messages at the opening ceremony, and outlined the positive impact that training will have on managing health issues at Ghana’s borders.

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