In the middle of March, retired surgeon Martyn Webster paid a visit to Ghana, to teach trainee reconstructive plastic surgeons and to visit the facilities available.
There has been concern about the high mortality associated with Burn injuries in Ghana (and in all of West Africa!)
The introduction of Oil and Gas into the community has been responsible for an alarming increase in burns with an unacceptable mortality. Better facilities are required and Ghana is setting about providing these and also ensuring that Surgeons, nurses and therapist are trained to familiarize themselves with up to date techniques.
A visit to the offices of the National Petroleum Authority in Accra, showed that they are concerned about the situation and want to help to improve it. A very helpful visit was made to the Deputy Minister for Health, Dr Victor Asare Bampoe, Dr Sylvester Anemana, the Director of Health Services and Dr Gilbert Buckle, The Chief Executive of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital all of whom were enthusiastically supportive of a programme to improve the service . Hopefully this will happen!
An interim improvement has been promoted by using a vacant building next to the Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and burns Centre, although that building is inherently unsuitable and another purpose built unit will be required to make full use of the techniques required. Land has been secured for this purpose.
Two trainee Reconstructive surgeon will be sitting their final exams for the West African College in April. Dr Pa Hoyt – Williams from Kumasi and Dr Priscilla Biney are good candidates and are expected to pass this exam with flying colours. They took part in tutorials arranged by Martyn which also included other trainees.
A quick visit to Kumasi where the new Accident and Emergency Department at the Komfe Anoyke Teaching Hospital was admired. Plans to build a self contained Reconstructive Plastic surgery unit there are also under consideration.
A successful visit, with the impression that everything is being pursued with great enthusiasm!