A five-week training on infectious diseases management was on Monday opened in Accra to improve the competencies of biomedical staff and facilitate orientation into new and emerging laboratory technology in West Africa.
The training is being organized by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for healthcare professionals from nine selected West African countries.
The countries are Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo.
The training, which is expected to end in February this year, is to promote networking on advanced laboratory management, among participating countries while enhancing laboratory skills and research to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent other emerging diseases in the future.
Speaking at the opening of the training programme, Professor Abraham Kwabena Anang, Director of the NMIMR, said there was an urgent need to strengthen the West African sub-region preparedness towards the fight against emerging and re-emerging diseases.
“Following the emergence of Ebola in West Africa and the recent global update of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is causing major loss of life and socioeconomic disruption, it is important to develop the abilities of healthcare workers to manage life-threatening infections,” Prof Anang stated.
Prof Anang thanked JICA for the role it had played to build capacities and improve healthcare systems in Africa.
Participants will be taught best laboratory practices, latest innovations and technologies in Virology, Bacteriology and Parasitology, as well as biosafety, biosecurity, Quality Management Systems (QMS), advanced diagnostics, genomics and surveillance and monitoring of infectious diseases.
Mr Araki Yasumichi, Chief Representative of JICA- Ghana, said the training, which is the third, with the first and second organized in 2019 and 2020, would help the health system to be more responsive.
“Past participants from the training course in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been able to conduct a risk and needs assessment in their various countries to improve processes and workflow by ensuring adequate knowledge transfer,” he said.
Mr Yasumichi said based on the positive lessons and rich experiences from participating countries, JICA has extended support for the training programme from 2021 to 2024.
He said the Japanese Government would continue to support Ghana’s efforts at actualizing quality and accessible Universal Healthcare.