A newly constructed isolation health facility and an adjunct Water, Sanitation and Hygiene [WASH] block have been handed over to the Port Health Authorities of the Ghana Health Service at the Paga Border in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region. Both facilities were funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA], through the instrumentality of the International Organization for Migration [IOM].

The isolation facility is a prefabricated structure furnished with modern health equipment including blood pressure monitors, non-contact thermometre guns, a defibrillator, sample-taking apparatus, tablets and laptops as well as a dedicated standby ambulance. The WASH facility however, is a block building fitted with a mechanized tri-tank water supply system, modern water closets and hand wash points as well as a janitor’s changing room. It is refreshing to note that, both structures are disability-friendly and are also solar-powered implying, they will always have 24-hour power supply to work with. 

District Chief Executive [DCE] for the Kassena-Nankana West District Hon. Gerard Ataogye, in his remarks at a brief handing over ceremony this Friday morning at the Border, commended JICA and the IOM for the provision of the facilities noting that health authorities can from now, effectively contain and manage infectious diseases and other unfamiliar outbreaks in the well-secured facility unlike the COVID-19 outbreak era when they had to cope with anything available. He noted that as a border district, it was proper to be proactive with the prevention aspect of disease management and hoped the facility will tremendously assist in screening travelers entering from Burkina Faso or exiting the country through Paga.

According to the DCE, “any emergency in the border area can now be responded to appropriately whilst the immediate community in the vicinity can also rely on both facilities during their time of need”. He pledged that the Assembly will not slide back in doing what is required of it to keep the facilities in good shape so as to derive maximum benefits from the gesture by JICA and the IOM.

Immigration and Border Management Officer with the IOM, Mr. Kojo Wilmot who conducted the DCE, Representatives from the Upper East Regional Health Directorate and some border officials through the facilities disclosed that, the isolation facility is all-in-one structure as anyone under containment has access to a shower and a kitchenette throughout the period. The staff manning the facility equally have at their disposal, adequate facility gear to keep them off contamination, with separate doors for entry and disinfection before exit.

Mr. Wilmot observed that COVID-19 with all its setbacks and far-reaching consequences, his orgainsation guided by its human rights principles, has worked to facilitate “orderly, safe and regular migration in line with the International Health Regulations – IHR [2005]”. He said the IOM’s approach is based on a Health, Border and Mobility Management [HBMM] framework which aims to enhance the prevention, detection, and response to communicable diseases and other health threats at all stages of migration.

He further stated that beyond the COVID-19 crisis, the IOM has committed itself to supporting States and Governments to reinforce and strengthen their public health capacities to counter the risks of health and epidemic threats. He added that, the Organisation with funding from JICA is implementing a regional project to strengthen overall border management capacities for better preparation and response to current and future potential health crises at six key-points of entry lying between Burkina Faso, Bennin, Cote d’Voire, Ghana and Togo.

A Chief Nursing and Midewifery Officer at the Regional Health Directorate, Mr. Anankor Bernard who earlier spoke on behalf of the Regional Director, said the Directorate was happy that all the compliments as far as health care is concerned are being put in place with the coming on stream of this facility and thanked partners like the IOM and JICA for coming in with such timely support. He said disease prevention cuts across borders and thus with the isolation facility on hand now, it gives some comfort and assurance to both health authorities and the citizens alike.

Mr. Anankor charged management and staff of the Port Health Authorities to institute and keep up a regular and good maintenance culture in order to prolong the life span of the facilities.

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