The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) has called on the government to establish a public health emergency preparedness fund.
The President of GAMLS, Dr. Abu Abudu-Rahamani believes the fund will be crucial in combating future pandemics.
“I call on the government as a matter of urgency to establish a fund for public health emergency preparedness. The current COVID-19 Trust Fund that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic should be the basis of this fund. We don’t want a situation where another pandemic will come and we will be running helter-skelter looking for funds.
“Conscious funding is now more important to materials, human resources, and infrastructural capacity building,” he said.
Dr. Abudu-Rahamani was speaking at their annual national congress in Kumasi.
He bemoaned the lack of infrastructural edifice, lack of working space, and inadequacy of capacity-building avenues for workers in the diagnostic healthcare sector.
He, therefore, called on the government to provide better working conditions and facilitate regular capacity building for personnel.
“Our district laboratories have no microbiological testing capacities due to a lack of infrastructure. Many of these laboratories fall short of radiant energy rendering them incapable of delivering quality and high-standard laboratory services to Ghanaians.
“The government should support a minimum of five medical laboratory professionals from each of the countryside to ensure that they can enroll in college and be able to attain the specialist grade.
“We would be particularly happy to have a space for medical laboratory services. It is our plea that our Chief Officers and the Officers are well-supported to deliver,” he said.
The 4-day Congress is themed: “Capacity enhancement of medical laboratory practice in Ghana: the cornerstone of future pandemic response”.
The conference aims to ponder on a new pandemic preparedness plan using the COVID-19 outbreak plan as a blueprint.
The conference also seeks to enhance and capacitate medical laboratory practice in Ghana.
The conference would network and partner with stakeholders to address various issues confronting medical laboratory practice.
The Country Director for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, Dr. Tony Ao highlighted the Center’s commitment to addressing outbreaks and pandemics.
He believes countries are not immune to foreign outbreaks, hence attention should be given to the global health security agenda.
“World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that monkeypox is a public health emergency which is of international concern and again, Ghana is at the forefront of the outbreak and we are working hard to contain it.
“Disease can be transported and travel to isolated villages and major cities in less than 26 hours. We saw that with COVID. Countries must be able to detect, assess, report, and respond to any public health issue in their population. We will get help from the International community but the country has to take the lead in that,” he said.
Dr. Abu Abudu-Rahamani disclosed that the training of Laboratory scientists has taken a new trend through the harmonization of the curriculum by the West African Health Organisation (WAHO).
“The training by this curriculum is to produce a doctor of medical laboratory science degree and a professional diploma in medical laboratory science. The Allied Health Professions Council must work to ensure the final implementation of the curriculum in the country.
“Training of medical laboratory specialists will soon commence in Ghana as the West African Post-Graduate College of Medical Laboratory Science has signed an MOU with the Development Studies.
This will afford the College dual certification with either Master’s or a Doctorate degree,” he said.
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