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06.09.2004 Regional News

Establish Comprehensive Emergency Units throughout Ghana

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Kumasi, Sept 06, GNA - Prof Paul Nyame, the Rector of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS), on Monday suggested the establishment of emergency units throughout the country to respond to the high rate of road traffic accidents and any national disaster.

He said given the constraints facing the economy and guided by geography and demography, it could start with Accra, Kumasi and Tamale.

Prof Nyame said this at the opening of a two-week course on basic principles of operative surgery and trauma management in Kumasi.

Attended by 18 medical practitioners drawn from some health facilities in the country, it is being jointly organised by the Department of Surgery, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology-School of Medical Science (KNUST-SMS) and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).

The Rector said the College was preparing a curriculum for residency training for specialists in accident and emergency medicine. This, he said, was being done in collaboration with the newly launched Ambulance Service of the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Prof Nyame spoke of the need for greater co-operation among health training institutions, the MOH and the medical schools.

"We are a small nation with pathetically limited resources that cannot sustain schisms, divisionism and isolationism."

He said for this reason, the College would ensure optimal use of human and resources available to Ghana and in the Diaspora for its training programmes.

"We seek co-operation with all partners who understand our philosophy for development in the context of our peculiar circumstances."

Prof Nyame drew attention to the unfair distribution of doctors in the country, saying more than half of the medical practitioners in Ghana work in Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching hospitals.

He said while Korle-Bu has over 400 doctors and KATH more that 280, the whole of the Upper West region has 14. ''This is a travesty the medical profession should correct.''

The Reactor also touched on the brain drain affecting the healthy profession and said "we should now seriously be looking at steps including using legal means to keep our trained manpower."

Prof Nyame said there should be no apology in supporting the view that there should be selective bonding for certain professions.

"After all some professions and institutions are vital for national security and survival."

Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Chief Executive of KATH, said the management of the hospital was keen to ensure that health professionals acquire skills.

Prof Peter Donkor, Head of Department of Surgery, KNUST-SMS/KATH, said the course aims at increasing the awareness of doctors working in remote areas, with limited facilities, about the role they could play in minimising the morbidity and mortality associated with injury.

Additionally, participants would be taught skills in advance trauma life support and early life-saving surgical procedures. Prof Donkor said aware of the serious shortage of skilled surgeons in rural areas, they were desirous of "teaching surgery in small doses" to those who are often called upon to perform emergency surgical procedures in remote parts of the country.

He said through this travellers would get better surgical attention should he need arise