Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) in Ashanti, Western and Northern Regions are set to receive a massive boost to strengthen them to effectively respond to public health emergencies.

The project dubbed, “Enhanced Strategies to Protect and Improve Health Security in Ghana (ESPIHS-GH) will among other things, build the capacities of the workforce in EOCs in beneficiary regions.

It also seeks to improve six thematic areas including; national laboratory systems, surveillance, workforce development, emergency management and response, international health regulations as well as service delivery.

This came to light at a meeting between the Technical Working Group and members of the Public Health Emergency Management Committee in Ashanti ahead of a site visit to assess the centre in Ashanti region and its readiness for emergencies and how best to improve the facility.

With funding from the United States Centre for Disease Control (US- CDC), the objective of the project is to improve public health capacity in addressing core global health security priorities.

Dr. Ernest Kanu of the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, who is leading the project said the outbreak of the Novel SARS-COV-02 exposed the gaps in health systems across the globe, which required investment in areas such as surveillance, laboratory, emergency operations and workforce.

He said field epidemiologists would support the regional public health management systems through mentorship under the project to make them vibrant and responsive to potential public health threats.

Procurement of basic equipment and supplies for the operationalization of the EOCs, he said, would be given priority, adding that, the project would also develop an EOC implementation guideline in line with national legislation.  

Epidemiologists would also be deployed to help with analysis and interpretation of surveillance data and augment epidemiology workforce capacity at the regional levels.“We want to make sure when the COVID data is collected, we can see and take decisions on it in real-time. Already the country is doing that but we want to make it better and stronger with the help of US-CDC”, he stated.

He praised the Ashanti Regional Health Directorate for the update provided on the regional EOC, saying that, the team was in the region to assess the centre and fill in the gaps that would be identified after the assessment.

Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang, the Regional Director of Health Services welcomed the initiative to strengthen the centre and pledged the cooperation of the directorate to improve public health emergencies in the region.

He said such partnership between the Ghana Health Service and its partners was critical in addressing the health needs of the people.

“We need to have real-time data to make informed decisions on some of the cases we are seeing and I think building the capacity of the staff in terms of surveillance, laboratory support and case management and risk communication is a step in the right direction”, he observed.