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General News Fri, 25 Feb 2000

Ghana faces acute manpower shortage in pathology

Accra, Feb. 25, GNA - One of the specialised areas in medicine which is currently facing acute manpower shortage in Ghna is pathology.

Professor Agyeman Badu Akorsa, Chief Pathologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, said currently there are only eight pathologists practising in the whole country.

"It is unfortunate that only eight of us have passed out of the medical school since 1969, and this is some 30 years ago." In an interview with the GNA in Accra Prof. Akorsa said the Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals should have at least 12 and eight pathologists respectively.

"Ideally, there should be at least one or two pathologists in each regional hospital and one in each district hospital." Prof. Akorsa, who is also the National President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), said presently, the association and the Pathology Department, routinely organise autopsy courses for doctors in the districts and regions so that they can, at least, undertake post-mortems to find out the causes of death.

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"This is to ensure there would be adequate data on causes of deaths to boost service delivery." Prof. Akorsa said the work of a pathologist, though very important in health care delivery, is not glamorous and can be likened to that of filmmaking where the producer is not seen or known but the actresses and actors are seen.

He said currently eight people are studying pathology which he described "a miracle." "In the past, many medical people did not opt for that area because for years everything at the Korle-Bu mortuary was wrong. The place was lousy and filthy and this did not attract those in medicine to pathology.

Prof. Akorsa, who called for more investment in running the department, said the mortuary is an integral part of health care delivery. "At the moment, the whole department, including the mortuary, is being refurbished to make it more attractive.

"The pathologist is the doctor's doctor because he does the diagnosis and post-mortem and knows the causes of deaths in the country and this is crucial to making the right recommendation for effective treatments."

Source: GNA
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