The United Nations Development Programme and the Japanese government have handed over a reference lab to authorities of the Ghana Health Service at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
The reference lab is to support early detection and prevention of diseases including future epidemics and pandemics such as COVID-19.
The lab is one of four to be commissioned at Ghana’s points of entry to strengthen community health systems and continuity of essential services during and post pandemics.
Speaking at a ceremony to handover the facility to KIA authorities, the Ambassador of Japan to Ghana, Mochizuki Hisanobu indicated that the support to the project formed part of the Japanese government’s commitment towards achieving universal health coverage in Ghana.
“When Prime Minister Kishida paid a state visit to Ghana, he mentioned that he will continue to support efforts to combat infectious diseases and to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Therefore, what you have accomplished on the project is consistent with the government of Japan’s general goal of positioning Universal Health Coverage as a critical problem in strengthening human security in the health sector in Ghana”.
UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative in Ghana, Sukhrob Khoshmukhamedov, in his speech stressed the importance of countries’ preparation for health emergencies in the future, especially at the ports of entry with the experience gained from the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on economies across the globe.
“COVID-19 exposed and, in some instances, aggravated fundamental weaknesses in our architecture for pandemic preparedness especially at the points of entry. The pandemic was certainly a wake-up call and emphatically showed us the need to invest in key elements of pandemic preparedness and the high cost of not doing so.
“Delivering on the promise to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 will thus be impossible without commensurate investment in pandemic preparedness”.
The Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye speaking on behalf of the government, expressed gratitude to the government of Japan and the UNDP.
He is optimistic the reference labs would help better position the country to respond to any unforeseen pandemics.
As part of the project, UNDP in partnership with the Ghana Health Service and Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research strengthened the capacities of Port health staff from Aflao, Elubo, Paga, and KIA and constructed mobile laboratories in these same areas to better position them to combat any pandemic.
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