STU to collaborate with GHS to deal with infectious diseases

STU to collaborate with GHS to deal with infectious diseases

The Sunyani Technical University says it is ready and willing to collaborate with the Bono Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to research into infectious and communicable diseases and propound solutions to how the region and the nation as a whole could reduce the spread of such diseases to the barest minimum.

Addressing the 2020 Annual Performance Review Meeting of the Bono Regional Directorate of the GHS in Sunyani last Tuesday, Ing. Prof. Kwadwo Adinkrah-Appiah said as a research and academic institution, STU is in a better position to contribute toward effective management and control of infectious and communicable diseases such as COVID-19.

“We, as a research and an academic institution, are always ready to team up with you and avail our students and lecturers towards the conduct of research into infectious and communicable disease for the benefit of our people”, he stated.

The theme for the two-day programme, which was attended by members of the various district health directorates in the region, partners and stakeholders in the health sector, was “Reducing preventable and avoidable deaths in the midst of covid-19.”

Prof. Ing. Adinkrah-Appiah, who was the Guest Speaker at the event, noted that considering the rapid increase in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), as projected by the National Policy for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, pragmatic mechanisms must be put in place to effectively deal with the situation.

He said the vulnerabilities of the citizenry could further deteriorate in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, as most of the underlying medical conditions that put a person at increased risk for severe illness or death from the virus are predominantly caused by four NCDs in the country namely; cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.

Tackling Covid-19 head-on

On Covid-19, the STU Vice-Chancellor called for the effective management of “Infodemics”, which he explained as “the super‐abundance of information about a topic, of highly variable accuracy, often disseminated through social media, such that people struggle to know what advice to follow. Infodemics associated with epidemics or pandemics such as SARS, Ebola and COVID‐19 include rumours, stigmatization and conspiracy theories.”

He said a widely circulated myth that drinking highly concentrated alcohol could kill the coronavirus caused about 800 deaths, 5,876 hospitalizations and permanently blinded 60 people, mainly in Iran, who drank methanol.

“A team of social scientists, physicians and epidemiologists retrospectively searched mainstream and social media and health websites from 31 December 2019 until 5 April 2020 for infodemics related to COVID‐19. The researchers identified 2,311 reports of rumours, stigma and conspiracy theories from 87 countries.”

Regional Health Outlook

In a speech read on his behalf, the Bono Regional Director of Health, Dr. Kofi Amo-Kodieh, said the region recorded a significant improvement in doctor to population ratio and that of nurse to population.

“Doctor to Population Ratio improved significantly from 1:9, 816 in 2019 to 1:9131 in 2020 because 15 Doctors were added to the existing ones. Nurse to Population Ratio also improved significantly from 1:349 in 2019 to 1:246 in 2020 after 774 Nurses were added to the existing ones”, he explained.

He further said “Midwives to WIFA population ratio too improved extensively from 1:448 in 2019 to 1:329 in 2020 after 218 Midwives were posted to the region. At the same time, there was a reduction in OPD Per capita from 1.80 in 2019 to 1.60 in 2020.”

He however said even though the region received 774 various categories of nurses and 15 doctors, distribution of the new personnel remained a challenge saying, “staff continue to refuse postings to the so-called deprived areas to the extent that the two Sunyani Municipalities are overstaffed to the tune of 400 Nurses and districts such as Banda, Dormaa West, Jaman North/South and Tain have completed facilities with no nurses to man them.

“This inequality is compounded by the unavailability of accommodation at some of the so-called deprived areas. The region has only 49 Orderlies at post instead of 215 with 15 of them retiring in 2 years”, he added.

END

Office of Public Relations Unit
18th March, 2021