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Innovation, technology key to containing COVID-19 — Dr Nsiah-Asare

BY: Doreen Andoh

The Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, has said the adoption of innovation and technology in the health sector has enabled the country to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

He said prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, the sector was already leveraging digital technology to complement, optimise and accelerate healthcare service in the country.

“It is important to note that the paradigm shift towards innovation and technology prior to the outbreak of the pandemic provided the foundation that has enabled the health system to stand firm and prevail in these difficult times.

“The government, through the Ministry of Health, has taken strategic steps to deploy the use of various innovations and technology as vehicles to increase access to healthcare delivery, improve evidence-based clinical decision-making, data governance for reporting and monitoring and cost efficiency to ultimately drive the process towards achieving universal health coverage,” Dr Nsiah-Asare said.

He mentioned logistics management information systems (LMIS), a technological system built to enhance the procurement and supply of medical items, the emergency medical drone programme and a human resource information system as some of the systems that had been adopted to facilitate effective healthcare delivery.

Event

Dr Nsiah-Asare was speaking on the theme: “Improving access to healthcare systems in the new normal: Embracing technology”, at the opening of the 17th annual general and scientific meeting (AGSM) of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra last Wednesday.

The three-day meeting is being attended by fellows and members of the council, as well as sister establishments.

A minute’s silence was observed in honour of its former Rector, Prof. Jacob Plange-Rhule, who is said to have died of COVID-19 on April 10, 2020.

Nine new members and 21 fellows who have specialised in various disciplines in Medicine and Dentistry were inducted into the college.

Report

Presenting an overview of the college’s operations, its acting Rector, Dr Henry Lawson, said it had introduced a new modular diploma programme in Anaesthesia for medical officers to help train more anaesthetists of higher grade.

He said the college also graduated its first fellows in Gynaecological Oncology from the Faculty of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

He mentioned the lack of funding for residency training as one of the challenges the college was facing.

“In line with the terms of condition of service signed between the Ghana Medical Association for doctors and dentists and the government, the latter agreed to fund the training of resident doctors directly, starting from the 2018/2019 academic year,” he said.

Challenge

A Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe-Boye, challenged fellows and members of the college to embark on extensive research on the COVID-19 pandemic to help find local remedies to the virus.

He said it would be beneficial to the people if members were able to generate local solutions for the disease for accelerated development.

He commended the management and staff of the college for their continuous training of doctors, which he said was needed to produce the human resource to address Ghana’s health challenges.

“Since its inception, the college has produced over 2,000 specialists, eligible doctors and about 200 consultants and eligible senior specialists,” he said.

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