Ghana - A landmark health screening project will close today (30/5) in Western Ghana. IOM’s TB REACH project, implemented by the Ghana Health Service and the IOM Migration Health Unit, was launched a year ago to intensify tuberculosis (TB) detection among refugees and host communities, miners and mining communities, border communities and urban vulnerable communities.
The project had four main activities: enhanced coordination and monitoring among stakeholders; community mobilization and cough screening; mobile TB screening utilizing a GeneXpert machine; and capacity building of a selected TB diagnostic and/or treatment centre.
Over the past year, the project reached 347,263 individuals in five locations in Western Region. They included Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan (172,443), Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal (68,429), Prestea-Huni Valley Municipal (55,537), Ellembelle District (38,004) and Jomoro District (12,850).
A custom-made mobile diagnostic van carrying two four-module GeneXpert MTB/RIF machines was used during outreach efforts and provided same day screening/results for tested individuals.
Every day 174 trained community health volunteers worked in pairs, talking to people about their health, TB, how it is spread, the new screening process and the availability of free treatment.
As of 16 May 2014, the mobile medical team had registered 4,327 people and tested 3,888 for TB. Of the total tested, 230 (5.9 per cent) were diagnosed with TB and referred to the nearest national TB treatment centre.
IOM has been active in Ghana since 1987 and has contributed to the efforts of the Government of Ghana to manage migration effectively through a wide variety of projects and programmes.
IOM Accra started its programmes by supporting the institutional capacity-building needs within the country through Phase Two of the Return of Qualified African Nationals (RQAN II) programme (1988-92). This programme facilitated the return of highly qualified African nationals including Ghanaians residing in the diaspora to contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana by returning home to take up key positions in priority sectors including health, education, economics, finance, public service, and political administration.
Since then, the office has grown to address a variety of migration management needs. During the past 10 years, IOM Accra has been involved in refugee resettlement and the movement of various migrants for family reunification and other opportunities to various countries throughout the world. Other IOM Accra activities include migration policy development, labour migration, migration and development, combating human-trafficking, assisted voluntary returns, border management, information campaigns on the risks and realities of migration, and humanitarian and emergency response.