The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) is organising a training course to enhance the laboratory skills of healthcare professionals for infectious disease control for West African countries.
The eight-week course, being organised in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), had participants from Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
The participants would be taken through an intensive training in modern laboratory technology to improve disease surveillance and prevention to upgrade their skills.
Professor Abraham K. Anang, the Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, who chaired the opening ceremony in Accra on Wednesday, said the training had become necessary for countries in the West African Sub-region after the Ebola outbreak.
He recounted the massive sufferings encountered by some African counties, including Liberia and Sierra Leone, as a result of the Ebola Viral Disease, saying the world is currently facing an era of emerging and re-emergence of diseases, which had signs and symptoms that were difficult to differentiate from one another.
Prof. Anang said for the Continent to make sustainable headway it was important to ensure accurate diagnoses so as to ensure early detection of such diseases to curb their spread, while strengthening the emergency preparedness of health systems in countries for effective containment of any form of epidemic.
He said one of the most important priorities of international cooperation based on human security was, therefore, the improvement of the healthcare systems to ensure prevention and management of various life-threatening infections.
This, he said, called for the need for functional medical teams comprising physicians and lab technicians among other health professionals for the operation of the efficient and effective healthcare systems envisioned.
Hence the urgent need for the development of specialists in Biomedical Laboratory Technology due to the critical role they played in the diagnosis and treatment of infections, he said.
Prof. Anang noted that securing sufficient healthcare workers and developing their abilities was an important element that would ensure an efficient system.
He commended the Japanese Government for the sustained support and collaboration through JICA over the years to strengthen Ghana’s healthcare system.
He said as part of the training participants would learn best laboratory practices and latest innovations from technologists in the Bacteriology, Parasitology and Virology Department of the NMIMR, share their knowledge and experiences and create networks that would go beyond Africa.
Prof. Patrick Ayeh-Kumi, the Provost of the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, who represented the Vice Chancellor, said the University was very proud of the numerous achievements of NMIMR, which has earned the Institute a global recognition.
He, however, said the Institution could not have achieved its mandate and the numerous successes without the support and collaboration of stakeholders, and thanked JICA for its assistance over the years.
He called for all hands on deck to strengthen the capacities of the requisite personnel for quality diagnostics on infectious diseases, which was an integral part of healthcare delivery.
Ms Ozawa Maki, a Senior Representative at JICA, pledged her Organisation’s sustained commitment to supporting the NMIMR in its quest to provide world-class Biomedical Health services and training in Ghana and beyond.
He said this would complement the efforts of the Government in improving access to quality care and ensure Universal Health Coverage.