Docs advocate body to manage disaster services

 Dr. Kweku Agyeman Mensah —  Health MinisterThe  Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS) has issued a communiqué, calling for the institution of a central mechanism to co-ordinate all the emergency and disaster services with seamless linkages and common access to information.

It said this central mechanism should be adequately resourced with human resources and finances for the effective and efficient handling of victims requiring emergency care and appropriate data for audit and research.

The communiqué, jointly signed by Professor David Ofori-Adjei, Rector of the College, and Professor A.T Lassey, acting Chairman of the GCPS Council, was compiled at the end of the 11th Annual General and Scientific Meeting of the College in 2014.   It had the theme, “Improving emergency care in Ghana.”

The Fellows and Members of the college, seeking for an improvement in the quality of healthcare and specialist training in Ghana, called for the designing and institutionalisation of a national effort, to build capacities in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Advanced Trauma Life Support.

It said the GCPS and its Faculty of Emergency Medicine, should be resourced to co-ordinate the training effort in collaboration with the other emergency services.

The meeting called for a co-ordinated national effort to prioritise the training and certification of more emergency care physicians, nurses and related paramedical cadres to enhance the professional handling of people requiring emergency attention in pre-hospital, hospital and post-emergency care and rehabilitation.

It also urged the government to review upwards the retiring age of specialists in public services, and meet with the Ministry of Health (MOH), to urgently arrive at a consensus and give a policy direction on the funding, and other issues related to the training of specialist doctors in Ghana.

It said the MOH should spearhead the establishment of a special Emergency Fund to cover healthcare costs of accidents and emergencies within the National Health Insurance Scheme and make adequate provision for maintenance and renewal of emergency services equipment and vehicles.

The Communiqué requested for the MOH to undertake a comprehensive review and subsequent upgrade of emergency service facilities in all district hospitals, and adopt a national protocol towards an effective referral system for the care of patients and victims requiring emergency care.

The meeting urged the Medical and Dental Council and authorities of medical schools as well as related tertiary institutions, to include an emergency care module in their curricula for training health professionals.

The meeting, however, observed that in Ghana, road-traffic accidents was the leading cause of accident-related fatalities, with 80 per cent fatalities occurring outside the hospital, however, most the cases were often managed by non-trained individuals, and transportation to hospitals was usually not by ambulances.

The situation, coupled with inefficient referral systems among emergency service institutions, inadequate personnel and the lack of central government support for re-stocking of consumables, replacement of vehicles and other logistics or emergency services among other things, leave victims very vulnerable to poor emergency care.

It affirmed the GCPS’s commitment to its mandate of training specialists in medicine, surgery and related disciplines.—GNA

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