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13.05.2005 Health

GMA holds symposium for health professionals

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Accra, May 13, GNA - The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on Friday held a symposium for its members on the approaches to pain management to enable them handle such cases professionally.

Professor George Ankra-Badu of the Department of Haematology, University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS), said since pain was experienced by all ages, including the foetus, it was important that health care providers at all levels became familiar with its management.

The symposium, under the theme, "Management of Pain," was part of a continuing professional development programme of the GMA for its members.

Health professionals from the Central, Eastern, Western, Greater Accra and the Volta Regions attended the programme, which equipped and provided them with modern knowledge of handling pain in various categories of persons.

Prof. Ankra-Badu said it was important for physicians to realise that pain was subjective and the response to pain among patients varied. Care must therefore be taken in its management. He explained that pain was an important sense in that it informed the brain of tissue damage and enabled the person to take steps to prevent further damage.

He further stated that any stimulus that was intense enough to cause tissue damage could cause pain and stimulate specific pain receptors that were scattered in tissues.

Prof. Ankra-Badu entreated health professionals to be careful when prescribing drugs, some of which could be addictive, causing patients to grow immune to such drugs.

Dr Lorna Awo Renner, Lecturer, Department of Child Health, UGMS, said it was important for health workers involved in caring for children to be able to anticipate, recognise, assess and manage pain appropriately in children of all ages.

She refuted claims that children did not feel pain as adults did, saying, "Neuro-anatomic and behavioural studies have proven that even pre-term babies had demonstrated painful stress responses to invasive medical procedures when assessed, using physiologic and behavioural measurements.

She said when children were exposed to pain early in their developmental stages, it adversely affected their future response to pain and this could be either negative or positive. Dr Renner attributed some of the reasons for sub-optimal management of pain in children to the inability of health workers to properly assess pain, lack of knowledge of appropriate pain treatment and fear of adverse effect of analgesics.

She said pain management involved an inter-disciplinary, therapeutic approach, combining pharmacologic, cognitive, behavioural and physical modalities of treatment. Dr Renner urged health workers to treat complains of pain by children with urgency to prevent further complications.

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