Strengthening Health Security and Preparedness in Ghana
Five fellows from the University of Ghana were hosted for at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to strengthen partnerships and support health security capacity building and workforce strengthening in Ghana, as part of the Building Stronger Public Health Institutions and System programme.
This news article is older than 30 days and the information may be outdatedGo to the home page
Transfer of knowledge, mutual learning, and international networking
Throughout 2022, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has worked together with University of Ghana School of Public Health to develop, host, and deliver a four-week in-house training course for five fellows enrolled in the Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training (GFELT) programme. The training course sought to equip the visiting fellows with applicable skills, a thorough understanding of NIPH’s roles and functions within health security and promote professional networks and collaboration. The fellows, coming from Ghana, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, DR Congo, and Zambia, partook in NIPH’s regular activities and received technical lectures and workshops by NIPH staff into topics like wastewater surveillance, infectious disease modelling and outbreak coordination. Fellows from the European Centre of Disease and Control’s EIPET-EUHEM Fellowship Programme, a two-year training programme for European public health epidemiologist and microbiologists, also attended the training course.
“Through the skills obtained from NIPH/TEDOER-SAA training course, I am equipped to handle outbreaks effectively, understanding the role of laboratory in disease intelligence, able to undertake my thesis work efficiently, and take advantage of increased interpersonal collaborations with colleagues from other European countries” – Survey feedback
Building on previous collaboration and efforts
NIPH has for several years collaborated with partners from the University of Ghana, Ghana Health Service (GHS), and the Ghanian Ministry of Health within the field of health security and preparedness. This training course build on those partnership under the Building Stronger Public Health Institutions and System (BIS) partnership programme funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The delivery of the course was made possible by the BIS program and the “Training of Epidemiologists in Disease Outbreaks and Epidemic Response in sub-Saharan Africa” (TEDOER /SSA), managed by the GFELT program at the University of Ghana.
The GFELT programme serves as a cornerstone in the training of future public health professionals and leaders in Ghana, which offers advanced, intermediate, and frontline field epidemiology training to public health professionals. As well as strengthening Ghana’s public health workforce, as the programme provides Ghana Health Service, who is the governmental agency responsible for outbreak management and surveillance, with direct technical and operational support. As a regional training hub, the programme also provides training to fellows from the wider sub-Saharan African region. By collaborating with the University of Ghana in providing current and future workforce with further training in disease surveillance and outbreak response, NIPH contributes to the strengthening of health security and preparedness in Ghana and the neighbouring region.
Next steps: Strengthening the use genomic data in disease surveillance and management
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of integrating genomic data into infectious disease surveillance systems and outbreak response. Genomic data can make it possible to better detect emerging disease threats, monitor endemic diseases, identify outbreaks, and increase the probability of finding their sources. Ghana’s Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), which is part of the Africa CDC’s cross-continent laboratory network, is a specialized and regional reference laboratory providing COVID-19 sequencing, data analysis, and technical support services nationally and regionally. Building on lessons from the pandemic, NIPH and University of Ghana will over the next two years collaborate with the GHS and NMIMR to develop and deliver a short course in applied molecular epidemiology. The short course seeks to contribute to the uptake of genomic data into disease surveillance, management, and decision-making at government level.
Finally, the aim is that the course will be integrated into the GFELT-programme and delivered by GHS, NMIMR and University of Ghana staff. The target audiences are enrolled fellows, alumni, and public health professionals working in Ghana Health Service or other relevant government bodies in Ghana or neighbouring countries.