Health News Fri, 17 Sep 2021

Public Health Emergency Operations Centre opened in Kumasi

As part of efforts to ensure prompt response to public health emergencies in the Ashanti Region, a Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) has been established at the Regional Health Directorate.

The Centre which has been equipped to collect real-time data to respond to health emergencies is a collaboration between the Government of Ghana, the United States Centre for Disease Control (USCDC) and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

It is expected to monitor global, continental, national and regional health situations and also serve as a public health surveillance centre to prevent outbreak of diseases in the Region.

A brief ceremony to open the centre on Thursday was attended by representatives of the US Embassy in Ghana, World Health Organisation (WHO), Ministry of Health (MoH), Ghana Health Service (GHS) and KOICA.

Ms. Stephanie S. Sullivan, the USA Ambassador to Ghana, said the Centre would play a critical role in coordinating and responding to the COVID-19 crisis and whatever public health threat that would emerge in the future.

She said the opening of the PHEOC in the Ashanti Region was the third to be established in Ghana after Tamale and Sekondi in the Northern and Western Regions respectively.

The Centres, she noted, would significantly increase regional capacities to track and respond to COVID-19 in Ghana and inevitable future public health threats that the world would face.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the need for a localised public health capacity.

Centres like these are essential for effective coordination of pandemic response strategies at all levels in the health system," she opined.

She said the pandemic had brought to fore the need for data-driven decisions to be able to send capacities and resources where and when needed, saying that the establishment of PHEOCs was one of key strategies for the global health security agenda.

The Ambassador gave the assurance that the USA would continue to stand with Ghana to fight COVID-19 pandemic by supporting the country with vaccines, oxygen equipment and long-term health infrastructure investments.

"We look forward to building decades of partnership with the government of Ghana to strengthen its health systems through the global health security agenda, the US President's Malaria Initiative and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief," she stated.

Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, said preventing the spread of diseases had become a global concern due to how the world had become interconnected.

He said the establishment of PHEOC was an important initiative that served as a central location for coordinating operational information and resources for strategic management of public health emergencies.

Ghana has established a National Public Health Emergency Operations Centre with support from its international partners but the full functionality of the national centre is hinged on the functionality and coordination of the Regional centres, he said.
Source: GNA