Equipment worth about 100,000 euros were donated to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture by the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) on Tuesday to support the COVID-19 fight in the northern sector of Ghana.

This donation was done by GAEC on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as part of efforts to reduce the spread of the disease from animals to humans.

Chief Director for Ministry of Food and Agriculture  Mr. Patrick Robert Ankobea

Receiving the items on behalf of the Minister, the Chief Director of the Ministry.  Mr. Patrick Robert Ankobea was thankful to GAEC and the IAEA for this immense support to Ghana to help fight the disease and to reduce animal to human transmission.

He was also particularly grateful to GAEC for the immense technological support to the Ministry, throughout their years of collaboration helping them deliver on their mandate.

Mr. Ankobea said that most people are not aware of the major support the Veterinary Services Directorate has played in the management of COVID-19 in Ghana. “Our role has been to assist in the testing of samples taken from humans to check the infection or otherwise of the population and we have been doing so with the Noguchi Memorial Institute” he revealed.

He added that an ultramodern facility donated by the Canadian government has been in use in the testing of suspected COVID-19 cases and this equipment from GAEC is going to help boost their capacity.

“We all know that the COVID-19 has created a lot of anxiety and Ghana is fortunate and adjudged one of the countries to have managed it very well. It is because of gestures like these from you that it has been possible, and we are happy that the equipment is going all the way to Pong Tamale in the Northern part of the country, having already catered for the southern side”, he stated.

Director General of GAEC, Prof. B.J.B Nyarko

The Director General of GAEC, Prof. BJB Nyarko, in a short statement indicated that as part of the IAEA’s quest to contain the pandemic, the agency has assisted hundreds of laboratories around the globe with this nuclear driven testing technique called Real Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RTPCR). “The method is currently the fastest and most accurate for the detection of the SARS COVID 2 virus which is causing COVID 19”, he revealed.

Prof. Nyarko indicated that the equipment is capable of analyzing over 4,600 samples in a day. “This is the second time IAEA is donating this set of RTPCR COVID 19 testing equipment, accessories, quantities of consumables and other molecular biology reagents to the Ghana government and the people of Ghana” he added.

He further indicated that the first equipment was donated to the Ministry of Health and was taken to the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho.

“It is of interest to note that the donated equipment by the IAEA through the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission is worth over 100000.00 Euros. The other one to the Ministry of Health was about 98,000.00 Euros, so the two equipment is about 200,00.00 Euros” he said.

In his closing remarks, Prof Nyarko indicated that this donation by the IAEA is part of a project known as the Zoonotic Diseases Integrated Action (ZODIAC) initiative, launched in June, 2020. He opined that the main objective of the ZODIAC project is to support IAEA member states to prevent future pandemics resulting from the spill-over of pathogens from animals to human populations. “The ZODIAC initiative will help member states to rapidly detect and respond to outbreak of such diseases”, he revealed.

By Corporate Affairs, GAEC

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