Health reporters tasked to help reduce disease burden

Accra, The media, especially health reporters, have been tasked to educate the public on preventive health issues as a critical step to reducing the disease burden of the country.

Dr Kweku Rockson, a Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, said the media were seen as important social institutions that determined how society perceived issues hence the need to avoid sensationalism and use their platforms to help change attitudes.

Dr Rockson was speaking at a training programme organised by the Ghana Health Service on; Health Reporting with special focus on Public Health Emergencies, to build the capacities of health reporters to enhance their work.

He said health reporting was technical and scientific and, as such, it was important that health reporters remained knowledgeable and professional to arouse public interest and understanding on health issues.

Dr Rockson urged the media to observe high ethical standards, human dignity and rights and abide by guidelines such as the National Media Policy, Broadcasting Standards and the Ghana Journalist Association’s Code of Ethics.

He said from a social science perspective, the media practitioners were expected to utilise social science methods to gather and disseminate scientific information in an intelligent and intelligible manner.

Dr Rockson said health reporters must ensure they provided accurate, reliable and factual information and avoid creating unnecessary fear and panic in emergency situations.

He said to come up with good reportage, health reporters must endeavour to liaise with the healthcare delivery systems, public health infrastructure, medical schools and research institutions to gather the relevant information to enrich their stories.

Ms Rebecca Akwonu, the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Health Service, said preventive health education helped to create awareness on fact- backed approaches to explain the need to assume certain attitudes, practices and cultures to prevent the outbreak of diseases including cholera, malaria and meningitis.

She said preventive health was much cheaper than the cost of treating illnesses, therefore, public campaigns must be sustained through constant media reportage and engagements with health professionals and policy makers.

Dr Dennis Laryea, a Public Health Specialist, said the media must help to educate the public on how to administer first aid during emergencies in order not to aggravate victim’s conditions.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana asked to develop Emergency Operating Plans

Accra,Ghana has been urged to take steps to ensure that its health facilities develop Emergency Operating Plans (EOPs), to help mitigate the impact of emergencies, especially Mass Casualty Incidents (MCIs).

Dr Roxanne Richter, a Fulbright-Fogarty (NIH) Postdoctoral global health fellow, who is currently undertaking research in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, said in light of how critical EOPs were to health institutions in MCIs, she was shocked’ that EOPs were a new concept in Ghana.

Speaking at a lecture and workshop on ‘Mass Casualty GIS Mapping and Moulage Simulation’ held at the United States Embassy in Accra, Dr Richter noted the absence of such plans indicated a failure to plan for emergency situations.

When you’re in the midst of a disaster or mass casualty or after you hit surge capacity; that is not the time to start making proactive planning efforts, it was before the incident that you should have planned, she stated.

EOPs are documents that list all resources in terms of equipment, staffing, capabilities and capacities of the health institution.

It also includes Memoranda of Understanding with other facilities for assistance during emergencies or MCIs.

Dr Richter said pre-planning helped to mitigate or decrease the impact of the disaster or mass casualty incident and surge capacity has on the facility and staff.

She stated that her team had to do a lot of teaching and explanations of the concept.

It was a very arduous teaching process to be given access to begin to work on these Emergency Operations Plans, she said.

As of the study, which involved eight hospitals in Kumasi, the team also conducted a moulage simulation to assess preparedness of health practitioners in emergencies, see how stakeholders could work together and to foster relationships between emergency nurses, physicians, national ambulance and other stakeholders toward giving patients the best service.

The exercise involved the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and KNUST Hospital.

The exercise was a high-fidelity simulation where patients demonstrates and physically look like the trauma they have, helping the practitioners to do a better job of managing and transporting the patients.

It also tests the healthcare system and forces them to find ways of working together during disasters, she stated, and commended KATH, where the simulation was held, for taking the lead in training their physicians and nurses to specialise in emergency care, but noted however that the hospital was poorly-resourced to handle MCIs.

Dr Richter said there was also very little emergency management training available in Ghana and urged universities and medical schools to improve on it.

Dr George Oduro, Head of Emergency Medicine at KATH, said the lack of a well-designed system of trauma acuity needed to be addressed, thus the establishment of a formal emergency medicine postgraduate training programme by the Hospital.

He said physicians and nurses would commit to advocating the filling of the gaps identified in the study, including the need for EOPs and trauma acuity assessments of hospitals.

Target groups for advocacy will include commercial drivers, law enforcement agencies, ambulance service and other stakeholders to educate them.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana asked to develop Emergency Operating Plans

Accra,Ghana has been urged to take steps to ensure that its health facilities develop Emergency Operating Plans (EOPs), to help mitigate the impact of emergencies, especially Mass Casualty Incidents (MCIs).

Dr Roxanne Richter, a Fulbright-Fogarty (NIH) Postdoctoral global health fellow, who is currently undertaking research in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, said in light of how critical EOPs were to health institutions in MCIs, she was shocked’ that EOPs were a new concept in Ghana.

Speaking at a lecture and workshop on ‘Mass Casualty GIS Mapping and Moulage Simulation’ held at the United States Embassy in Accra, Dr Richter noted the absence of such plans indicated a failure to plan for emergency situations.

When you’re in the midst of a disaster or mass casualty or after you hit surge capacity; that is not the time to start making proactive planning efforts, it was before the incident that you should have planned, she stated.

EOPs are documents that list all resources in terms of equipment, staffing, capabilities and capacities of the health institution.

It also includes Memoranda of Understanding with other facilities for assistance during emergencies or MCIs.

Dr Richter said pre-planning helped to mitigate or decrease the impact of the disaster or mass casualty incident and surge capacity has on the facility and staff.

She stated that her team had to do a lot of teaching and explanations of the concept.

It was a very arduous teaching process to be given access to begin to work on these Emergency Operations Plans, she said.

As of the study, which involved eight hospitals in Kumasi, the team also conducted a moulage simulation to assess preparedness of health practitioners in emergencies, see how stakeholders could work together and to foster relationships between emergency nurses, physicians, national ambulance and other stakeholders toward giving patients the best service.

The exercise involved the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and KNUST Hospital.

The exercise was a high-fidelity simulation where patients demonstrates and physically look like the trauma they have, helping the practitioners to do a better job of managing and transporting the patients.

It also tests the healthcare system and forces them to find ways of working together during disasters, she stated, and commended KATH, where the simulation was held, for taking the lead in training their physicians and nurses to specialise in emergency care, but noted however that the hospital was poorly-resourced to handle MCIs.

Dr Richter said there was also very little emergency management training available in Ghana and urged universities and medical schools to improve on it.

Dr George Oduro, Head of Emergency Medicine at KATH, said the lack of a well-designed system of trauma acuity needed to be addressed, thus the establishment of a formal emergency medicine postgraduate training programme by the Hospital.

He said physicians and nurses would commit to advocating the filling of the gaps identified in the study, including the need for EOPs and trauma acuity assessments of hospitals.

Target groups for advocacy will include commercial drivers, law enforcement agencies, ambulance service and other stakeholders to educate them.

Source: Ghana News Agency

ACCRA COMMISSIONS AFRICA’S FIRST WASTE TRASNFER STATION

ACCRA, The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has commissioned its Zoompak Achimota Waste Transfer Station to assist in the transfer of the about 3,000 tonnes of waste generated daily in the capital from collection points to their final deposit sites.

The 7.5 million US dollar project, a private sector initiative between Zoomlion Company Limited, the leading Chinese manufacturer of construction machinery and sanitation equipment, and the Compak Group, is the first of its kind in Africa.

Dr Joseph Siaw Agyapong, the President of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) of Ghana, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Zoomlion Ghana, stated that with the facility, the Greater Accra Region now had the full complement of waste management infrastructure to manage waste effectively.

At present, the capital city had about 50 contractors and 800 informal waste contractors, who struggled with transporting waste to the various landfill and treatment sites and he was optimistic that the Waste Transfer Station would ease the associated difficulties of waste transport.

He urged the government to ensure compliance with sanitation regulations to make the effort to rid Accra of filth a concerted one.

Accra Mayor Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah said the commissioning of the facility was timely as the metropolitan assembly, in tune with the President’s vision, was surging with plans to make the capital the cleanest in Africa.

He said the AMA had developed a number of headline actions to be embarked on to set the stage for the effective pursuit of the Clean Accra agenda, at the top of which was aggressive waste prevention or reduction.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

GHANA TO PURSUE POLICY OF AGGRESSIVE OIL EXPLORATION

ACCRA, The Ghanaian government will pursue a policy of more aggressive oil exploration to beef up Ghana’s production capacity for the nation’s socio-economic development, says Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko.

Oil plays a key role in Ghana’s development, as “apart from the revenue, we depend on oil for our power generation, there must be a situation where we find both enough oil and gas to make us self-sufficient”, Agyarko said during the induction of members of the Board of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) hereThursday.

The seven-member Board is chaired by Freddie Blay. Other members are Kofi Kodua Sarpong, the Chief Executive Officer of the GNPC, Professor John S. Nabila, former President of the National House of Chiefs, Nana Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, the President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Yaw Kyei, Nana Adjoa Hackman and Kwabena Kwakye.

Agyarko described the current situation in the oil and gas industry as one in which “Yes, we’ve become an oil-producing nation but we cannot sit wallow in the pleasures of what we have found because what we’ve found is credible but given another 10 to 20 years, without any further find our fortunes will begin to decline. We must therefore, adopt a posture of aggressive exploration to add to our oil reserves,” he added.

He said that apart from the discovery of the offshore Jubilee oilfield, Ghana still had Central Basin, Eastern Basin and Voltarian Basin which, if properly explored, could add significantly to the national reserves.

“The fact that we are now an oil producing nation imposes an onerous responsibility on us as a nation and more particularly on GNPC to husband this non-renewable natural resource, maximise its use for the transformation of our nation,” he said.

The nation’s oil must be used in such a way that when it runs out, posterity will feel that it has being used wisely for their benefit, he added. “We cannot therefore, afford to go down the slippery slopes as other nations, for whom the blessings of oil has become a curse.”

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK