West African nations establish regional center for disease control
Health authorities in West Africa have set up a regional Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Abuja, Nigeria to deal with pandemics such as Ebola, a senior official of Ghana said on Wednesday.
The establishment of the CDC is to ensure that "we are more prepared, in terms of early detection, epidemic surveillance, training of our staff and upgrading their capacity and research, so we can combat diseases of the nature of Ebola," Dr. Xavier Crespin, Director-General of the West Africa Health Organization told President Akufo-Addo during a meeting at the Flagstaff House in Accra.
He said Ghana is serving as the platform for training of staff as the University of Ghana has been chosen for its Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP).
The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) is also training most of the Center's medical staff who are part of the regional intervention team.
"This means we can mobilize quickly in sending out well-trained personnel in the event of an epidemic outbreak," he said.
The largest and most complex Ebola outbreak claimed the lives of more than 11,300 people and infected over 28,500, according to the World Health Organization.
Dr Crespin appealed for President Akufo-Addo's support in the local production of pharmaceuticals in the sub-region, explaining that the help of Ghana in reinforcing local capacity to produce its own medicine is of the utmost importance.
"From our assessment, we produce only 25 percent of the medicines we need in our region, which is very weak. Our objective is to increase it to 50 percent," he said, urging the president to take the lead advocacy in this area.
President Akufo-Addo told the delegation that one of the priority industrial projects to be undertaken by his government would be the local production of pharmaceutical products.