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WHO Polio Emergency Supply Hub Commissioned

The Institute has commissioned an emergency supply hub to store and expedite the timely distribution of supplies for polio-related work and research.

The ceremony, which took place on January 30, 2024 at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana, was for the WHO to officially hand over a storage hub, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to store reagents and supplies required to conduct research into polio, and make the supplies readily available to selected laboratories in the region. Thus, the hub would shorten the time it takes for the labs to get these supplies, particularly in an emergency, and avert a fatal consequence that might result from the delayed delivery of supplies for polio work and eradication.

The Director of the Institute, Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, expressed her delight that the hub had finally been completed and commissioned. She informed all that that the NMIMR, was the first institution in Africa to establish a polio laboratory, hence it is no surprise that we host one of the first two supply hubs established by the WHO.

Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Director, NMIMR

She recounted how the institute spearheaded the effort to eradicate polio and supported other national and global health initiatives. This, she said, makes the institute the appropriate place to host this hub, and assured the institute partners that management would efferently manage the storage facility.

In attendance was a representative of the WHO Country representative, Mr. Frank Lulu. In his brief remarks, he recalled the collaboration between the institute and the WHO that resulted in the establishment of the Polio lab and now a hub. In his address, which he read on behalf of the WHO Country Representative, Prof. Francia Kasolo, Mr. Lulu expressed his excitement that the hub had been completed, and commended the UNICEF, CDC, BMGF, GAVI and Rotary International for their support and cooperation.

Mr. Frank Lulu, WHO representative, Ghana Office

He explained the objectives of the hub to include:

  • Ensure the efficient response to potential polio outbreak by expediting supplies
  • Enhance capacity building of laboratory staff and research scientists
  • Promote collaboration by serving as a central resource hub to encourage information sharing to fight challenges from Polio

Prof. John Kofi Odoom, Head of the Virology department and the Polio Hub was grateful or the support from the BMGF and the WHO to get the hub completed. He also mentioned that the WHO had chosen to set up a network of labs to diagnose every case to determine whether the polio virus was present or not and this was in the rights stem to reduce the spread of the disease and eradicate it.

Prof. John Kofi Odoom, Head, Department of Virology

The WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) has therefore established two hubs, one in Ghana at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, and the other in South Africa, where they will store polio items to distribute to designated labs during emergencies.

The ceremony, was also attended by Mr. Ben Igbinosa, Director, Finance and Administration at eHealth Africa; the Contractor of the project, and his staff; the NMIMNR Administrator, Mr. Theodore Ahuno, and staff of the Virology department and the Institute.

Group photograph at the commissioning

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