A very timely and critical initiative with the sole object to drive public awareness and massive education on Pre-Hospital Emergency Care has been launched along with a one-day workshop on Cardiovascular diseases in Kumasi, the Ashanti Region.
The idea of the project dubbed ‘The Basic Life Support’ was mooted by a Non-Profit Organization, Elijeko Foundation in collaboration with its long partner the National Ambulance Service (NAS) to encourage timely pre-hospital interventions for individuals who experience cardiac arrests.
The Elijeko Foundation, founded in 2016 by Mr. Andrews Nyantakyi, a U.S. Navy Veteran and his family, addresses the healthcare needs of people throughout Ghana by offering preventive health education, medical outreach and training programs.
Elijeko Foundation has served over 40,000 beneficiaries since its inception and continues to expand its programs to remote communities with no access to quality healthcare services.
The Founder of Elijeko Foundation, Mr. Andrews Kwabena Nyantakyi shockingly revealed at the event that cardiac arrest and heart attacks have claimed many lives.
He explained that “This is because of the lack of bystanders’ skills to provide timely life-saving resuscitation for victims.”
He also disclosed that according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) 17.9 people die each year from Cardiovascular Diseases worldwide, and Ghana recorded about 14,103 cardiac deaths in 2020.
“Elijeko Foundation also invited the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association GHAFTRAM and their members such that we can provide free cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) awareness and education to their members. We had a team of instructors that travelled to Ghana from the United States, and we arranged a training session for GHAFTRAM members.”
Some of the GHAFTRAM members who participated included Okogye Abibiduro Nana Kwadwo Obiri from Obiri Herbal Research Centre; Nana Kissi Opam I of Wofa Kissi Herbal Home, located at Kwahu Nkwatia, Hon. Yaa Boatemaa of Achia Herbal Mixture (Former Assembly Woman for the Aduaben Area), Nana Dr. Baffour Asare of Tosscama GN Mixture Sunyani and JK Takyi National Vice President Family Life Herbal Centre located in Konongo.
He also added that the purpose of the workshop was to provide the general public with adequate information on how to perform a proper intervention as a bystander for victims of heart attack and cardiac arrest.
“At Elijeko Foundation, we are a nonprofit provider of free preventative health education, health promotions, and community medical outreach across Ghana. We identified a gap in the health care approach in Ghana, that is, being unable to handle emergencies and preventable deaths, so we partnered with the National Ambulance Service (NAS) to begin 'The Basic Life Support Workshop.'"
"The Basic Life Support workshop uses our community-based outreach approach to provide preventive and pre-hospital emergency care education to the public. We hope to use this program to create a platform to promote direct community engagement and equip Ghanaians with the knowledge of what, when, and how to respond to emergencies.
"Our organization employs a community and evidence-based approach to health education by working with health care providers to create a platform that promotes dialogue into the need for preventive health education to eliminate common illnesses in Ghana,” Mr. Andrews Kwabena Nyantakyi further indicated.
Taking his turn to speak, Dr. Joseph Bonney, an Emergency Medicine Specialist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Kumasi, called for a law to be instituted in Ghana to enshrine that every public facility has a first aid box and Automated External Defibrillator (AED). He commended Elijeko Foundation and the National Ambulance Service for the initiative and called for workers in public facilities to be trained in Basic Life Support (BLS). He also called on the government to incorporate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Basic First Aid principles in the curriculum of basic schools in Ghana.
On his part, Dr. Foster Ansong, the Director of Operations of the National Ambulance Service appealed to the public to use Emergency Toll Free numbers for genuine emergencies. “There were over 20 million emergency prank calls recorded in 2020 and 2022, and these prank calls made it difficult for people with genuine emergencies to access emergency services thereby affecting service response time,” Dr. Ansong lamented.
The event gathered participants from diverse backgrounds, notably healthcare professionals, and students from Garden City University College. One of the participants, Dr. Ebenezer Amankwah, the Chief Executive Officer of Day-To-Day Eye Care Center acknowledged that the information that were shared during the workshop has improved the readiness of his staff to respond to any medical emergencies that may arise at his clinic.
Miss Celestina Kalor Abapiri, the In-Country Representative of the Elijeko Foundation thanked the participants for showing enthusiasm during the events and applauded the various partners that supported the launch of the workshop.
She said Elijeko Foundation and the National Ambulance Service are ready to provide this live-saving training and encouraged individuals or the public to invite them to their community events.
Ms. Abapiri pleaded with the public to volunteer to donate blood to support the work of the National Blood Bank.
On behalf of GHAFTRAM, Okogye Abibiduro Nana Kwadwo Obiri from Obiri Herbal Research Centre expressed satisfaction with the organization of the entire event which he described as very useful and eye-opener. “We are coming from herbal background and it is going to be very helpful. I must admit that this workshop has been very useful because we have learned a lot. We also thank Elijeko Foundation and the National Ambulance Service (NAS) for this opportunity and also encourage them to do more."