Ghana

WHO Partners with Vodafone, Ghana Health Services to launch Health Worker to Health Worker Advice on Ebola

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Vodafone health partnerships results in the launch of new health worker-to-health worker call service on Ebola

Accra, Ghana: 22 April 2015: Keeping vigilant against Ebola, Ghana Health Services (GHS), Vodafone Ghana Foundation and Vantage Medical Solutions (VMS) with support from World Health Organization (WHO) officially launched the first ‘health worker-to-health worker’ call service on Ebola in Ghana and Africa. This new service was commemorated yesterday, with 63 health worker call centre operators awarded certificates following the successful completion of an intensive training on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Infection Prevention and Control measures delivered by GHS and WHO.

In order to strengthen the country’s ability to respond to a potential Ebola outbreak, Vodafone Ghana Foundation, VMS, GHS and WHO entered into a partnership to train 63 health worker call operators at the Healthline 255 Call Centre, Ghana’s first medical call centre. These operators were trained in three rounds over the period March to April 2015 on all aspects of EVD. The course included modules on Infection Prevention and Control measures, psychosocial support, EVD surveillance, contact tracing and EVD clinical management in order to give clinical advice to health workers in the field.

Whilst the Ebola outbreak is receding we have not reached zero cases and we need to remain vigilant,’’ says Ghana Health Service, Director General, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira. “This is a proactive measure to keep Ghana’s health workforce - our first line of responders safe and healthy. Through this training health workers can readily access information, technical advice, guidance and support from a trained health worker call centre operator in familiar terminology when needed,” added Dr Denkyira.

WHO Country Representative to Ghana, Dr Madga Robalo underscored the importance of this training saying, ”Since the Ebola outbreak, as many as 864 health workers were infected with Ebola in the West African affected countries of which 503 health workers died. It is crucial that we provide constant support and training to keep our health workers safe as our first line of defence.”

Commenting on this unique service, Vodafone Ghana CEO, Mr Haris Broumidis says, “Vodafone is passionate about health and is proud to avail its mobile technology for this pioneering health initiative. Healthline 255 is the first medical call centre in Ghana and in Africa to offer a health worker-to-health worker (HW-to-HW) advise. We believe that communications technologies can be used to address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges; and we will continue to champion initiatives and build partnerships that improve the lives of people within our communities.”

Whilst the number of Ebola cases maybe tapering in West Africa, new cases continue to be reported. As at 15 April, the outbreak, which has persisted for more than a year, has infected 25,826 people and resulted in 10,704 deaths, according to WHO. “This initiative is a multi-sectoral partnership, deeply cognisant that pandemics. such as Ebola have no boundaries. Ultimately, health is a ‘shared responsibility’ and this partnership illustrates the need to work together using our comparative strengths and resources to fight this pandemic,” added Dr Robalo. This is a multi-sectoral public-private partnership - bringing together government, WHO and the telecommunications sector.

For more information contact: WHO Ghana: Michelle Thulkanam – E: thulkanamm@gmail.com - Mob: +233-(0)50-565-7754

Ghana Health Services: Dr Samuel Kaba E: samuelkaba@hotmail.com - Mob: +233-(0)27-663-4699 Vodafone: Mr Daniel Asiedu – E: Daniel.Asiedu2@vodafone.com – Mob: +233-(0)20-200-5045