IOM, Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Organization Strengthens Cross-border Coordination on Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Posted: 
08/11/17
Themes: 
Migration Health

Aflao – A cross-border meeting was organized this week (09/08) by IOM Ghana and the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Organization (ALCO) in Aflao on the Ghana-Togo border to strengthen cross-border communication and coordination between the two countries.

Improving the cross-border communication should help Ghana and Togo to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases and other potential public health issues.

The Ebola outbreak in the region had highlighted the weakness in disease surveillance and health security at points of entry and border communities across the region. To address such challenges, the two countries want to formalize the cross-border and regional public health information-sharing protocols. These protocols are put in place to enhance real time cross-border information sharing and coordinated response to public health issues.

The participants at this week’s meeting assessed the components of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System in both countries, as well as outlined Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) for cross-border communication and notification of epidemic–prone diseases.

Elliot Agbenorwu, the Municipal Chief Executive of the Ketu South Municipality, stressed the need for cross-border information-sharing “as key to the control and prevention of diseases between the two countries, particularly due to the fact that there are only imaginary borders. You have Togolese who live in Togo and attend school in Ghana and likewise Ghanaians; so it is vital that there is coordination amongst the agencies as we are one people with common problems.”

Dr. Viviane Akakpo, Representative of the Ministry of Health for Togo, noted that “the Ebola epidemic in West Africa taught us two important things. First, the spread of Ebola was fuelled among other things by the inability to control and screen population movements across borders and second, sick travellers should be swiftly identified and cared for with extra caution.”

This initiative was undertaken under IOM’s Global Health Security Project funded by the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The key priority of the project this year is to strengthen cross-border disease surveillance and coordination amongst neighbouring countries. As such, IOM is taking a multilateral and multi-sectoral approach to strengthen both global and local capacities in their ability to prevent, detect and respond to human and animal infectious disease threats.

For further information please contact Papa Kwaw Mensah at IOM Ghana, Tel: +233302742930, Email: pkmensah@iom.int

  • A group picture of frontline agencies from both Ghana and Togo  at the IOM/ALCO joint cross border on joint efforts in enhancing cross border surveillance and information sharing. Photo: David Pwayidi / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017