IOM Ghana’s Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) programme is helping Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to develop a Public Health Emergency Contingency Plan (PHECP) tailored for the operations and capacity of the airport.
The formulation of the plan follows the Ebola epidemic that affected several West African countries two years ago. The airport already has emergency preparedness plans for emergencies such as natural disasters, fires, hijackings and bomb scares.
The PHECP will be a detailed, KIA-specific document that aligns with and integrates already existing national and KIA response plans. It will provide guidance on public health emergency preparedness and response procedures at the airport.
Its implementation not only will improve KIA’s compliance with the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR), but it will also enable authorities to appropriately manage any real or potential threat of a Public Health Emergency.
IOM supported the development of the PHECP document by organizing a week-long GHSA workshop which brought together high ranking officials from the Ghana Airport Company Limited, Ghana Health Service, International Health Regulation’s National Focal Point, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Airport Clinic, Air Traffic Control, Aviation Security, Ghana Immigration Service, the GHS Port Health Unit, as well as the Plant Quarantine Department and Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
National IHR focal point Michael Adjabeng welcomed the initiative, which will fill a gap in the airport’s IHR core capacities. “If there is no blue print, it is a recipe for chaos in the event of an emergency. But when there are blueprints, they provide structures to which to respond,” he noted.
Eventually, the PHECP will be tailored and extended to other selected Points of Entry in the country where the GHSA program is being implemented. These include the Aflao and Akanu borders (with Togo), and the Paga border (with Burkina Faso).
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded IOM GHSA is a sub-regional programme that aims to help build countries’ capacity to create a world safe from infectious disease threats and elevate global health security as a national and global priority. The programme is currently being implemented in six countries: Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.