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Adopt palliative care - Professor Gyakobo to health workers

BY: Shirley Asiedu-Addo & Deborah Oluwamuyiwa
Professor Mawuli Kotope Gyakobo
Professor Mawuli Kotope Gyakobo

A Visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Professor Mawuli Kotope Gyakobo has underscored the need for the health sector to adopt palliative care model as a means to address the problem of people resorting to spiritualist for cure.

He said the goal of the palliative care model was to help people with terminal and serious illness feel better through treating emotional, social, practical, and spiritual problems that illnesses could bring up.

In addition, he explained, when a patient felt better in these areas, they had an improved quality of life and therefore would not fall prey to fake spiritualist and end up dying in prayer camps.

Prof Gyakobo who was speaking at a Public Lecture in Cape Coast on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, said health practitioners must be educated on ways to help improve the life of their patients through addressing their every need, especially their psychological need rather than the everyday doctor patient relationship.

“There is the need for the health sector to shift from the everyday biomedical care to a holistic care that would cater for every aspect of the patients need from both psychological to spiritual,” he said.

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The lecture which was organised by the Department of Internal Medicine of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) was on the theme: “Medicine in the 21st Century: Shifting the paradigm from the biomedical to the holistic – Lessons from the Palliative Care Model.”

Some participants at the lecture 

Structure

Prof Gyakobo said for the goal of the palliative model to be met, hospitals must be structured in a way that it would meet the health needs of every patient.

He said hospital facility itself should be equipped with the right furniture that would provide comfort to patients adding that health workers must also relate well with patients.

“If patients with arthritis are made to sleep and sit on metal beds and chairs on the hospital , knowing well that it would affect them more, how do you expect them to feel better when they leave the hospital”, he quizzed.

He said emergency response teams personnel should also be trained to meet every need of a patient and not just the physical need.

Academia

Commenting on the role of academia, Prof Gyakobo said university’s that run health courses should be encouraged to start new academic programmes in Pain and Palliative Care to enable practitioners gain the necessary knowledge.

He said teachers with knowledge in palliative care should also educate their students so as to enable new health practitioners implement it in health service delivery.

“Life expectancy is increasing and we are also expecting an increase in the growth of non communicable diseases such as cancer, therefore there is the need to train health workers to meet the needs of these patients so they do not result to suicide”, he said.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Prof Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, said the university would work to train students to address the all round needs of their patients.

He urged medical practitioners to be more tolerant with their patients and allow them to say their problems rather than imposing things on them without their input.