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Infection Prevention and Control
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In the first half of 2014, five countries in West Africa suffered from an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola virus disease. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director General declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in August of that year and urged countries to reinforce preparedness to be able to detect, investigate and manage possible Ebola cases. The epidemic underscored weakness in the region’s already fragile health systems and highlighted the necessity of effective prevention measures, response preparation and early action. Because of this experience, West African countries are now working to strengthen their health systems’ readiness for early detection, isolation, treatment and control of future epidemics.
Due to its geographic proximity to countries with outbreaks, Ghana is among the WHO’s 14 high-priority countries to improve preparedness measures. The Government of Ghana established measures to prevent the spread of the disease, including creating a National Technical Coordination Committee; developing a national preparedness/response plan; and accelerating implementation of initiatives aimed at strengthening the country’s capacity to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to Ebola and other infectious disease threats.
From November 2015 – December 2017, USAID provided funding to USAID Systems for Health and the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) to jointly support Ebola prevention work in Ghana, focusing on infection prevention and control (IPC). The two projects worked with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), through its Institutional Care Division (ICD), to launch initiatives to enhance and reinforce IPC practices throughout the country. The largest initiative was conducting whole-site IPC trainings in targeted regional and district health facilities in each of Ghana’s 10 regions with each project covering 5 regions.