Aflao Border Officials Worried Over New Security Arrangement

Port health officers at the Aflao border in the Volta Region have expressed worry over new security arrangements at Ghana’s Eastern border. They say the current arrangement which allows the Ghana Immigration Service to be the first to attend to travelers entering and moving out of the country does not conform to the international health regulation. The International Health Regulations (2005) as adopted by the World Health Assembly to which Ghana is a member state regulates the international spread of communicable diseases. The guideline is intended to manage and prevent sick patients or passengers with a (suspected) communicable disease entering the country. Based on the requirements of the International Health Regulations, Port Health Officers are to be the first to attend to travelers moving in and out of the country. This is to prevent transmission of the diseases to contacts and outbreaks, which could affect many people and have an economic implication on the country’s health services. In the wake of increasing influx of travelers during this yuletide, Port Health Officers at the Aflao Border lamented over challenges being encountered restricting some travelers suspected of communicable diseases from entering the country. According to them, travelers who are usually granted permit from the Ghana Immigration Service before undergoing the health screening with their unit resist deportations even on the grounds of public health. The current arrangement according to the Acting Port Health Officer, Mr William Korletey does not only affect their operations as Port Health Unit, but also exposes the Ghana immigration service officers to the dangers of such communicable diseases. The border is the major transit point to Ghana’s eastern neighbours of Togo, Benin and Nigeria. In their last visit to access the preparedness of the eastern frontier to prevent the deadly Ebola from entering the country, the parliamentary select committee on defence and interior’s attention was drawn to the anomalies at the border. The Chairman of the Committee, Fritz Baffour who described the arrangement as inappropriate, ordered for its rectification. Three months after the directives, Mr William Korletey told Citi News things have not changed. His worry however is that the arrangement does not aid them in going about their responsibilities effectively. He is therefore calling for the implementation of the International Health Regulations at all ports in the country.