By Cletus D. Kuunifaa
Politics requires energy and time and so is research work. I am not comparing the two, but rather pointing out two essential ingredients for successful research work. Much as politics and research are somewhat mutually in exclusive’ in the instance that results of campaign polls energize the campaign team on the trail to recalibrate and focus on areas where polls are relatively weak, the quintessential power of research informs policy formulation.
As a matter of fact, in the medical field, medical research has changed the face of modern medicine. It is useful to consider in detail the scope of changes in medical approaches to some common treatment that have occurred in the past few decades as a consequence of medical research. Findings in medical research has saved millions of patients, whose lives otherwise would have been short-lived. And research continues to be the main stay of the medical field for the pursuit of solutions and or cures to some of the deadliest ailments and diseases confronting us today.
This baits the reason why, I am so happy and proud to report the ground breaking research in the medical field by a Ghanaian medical expert in the person of Dr. Methodius G. Tuuli.
His ground breaking research findings could not have come at a more opportune time than now given that the Ghana Government is calling for effective structures to be put in place to enhance research on the continent, calling for more investment in that regard.
Dr. Methodius G. Tuuli reported in his groundbreaking research that a chlorhexidine/alcohol skin antiseptic cut cesarean section surgical site infections by half, compared with a solution of iodine and alcohol (2016 Feb 4. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1511048).
He assessed that the chlorhexidine solution significantly reduced the risk of both superficial and deep incisional infections at the annual Pregnancy Meeting sponsored by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. His study was simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2016 Feb 4. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1511048.)
For the records, Dr. Tuuli of the Washington University, St Louis, noted that the randomized trial is the first to examine the two antiseptics in obstetric surgery. According to the medical expert, the results echo those repeatedly found in the general surgical literature, and, he said, clearly show that chlorhexidine-based skin prep is more effective than the more often–employed iodine-based prep.
Listen to Dr. Tuuli discuss the results: “We become comfortable doing the things we have always done, because that’s the way we were taught, and we see no reason to change,” he said in an interview. “I think now is the time to make a change for our patients.” http://www.obgynnews.com/specialty-focus/obstetrics/single-article-page/chlorhexidine-beats-iodine-for-preventing-c-section-wound-infections/752eeeb0752719dc57f7d74081b5ce1f.html
Dr. Tuuli’s study comprised 1,147 patients who delivered via cesarean section from 2011-2015. They were randomized to either a chlorhexidine/alcohol antiseptic (2% chlorhexidine gluconate with 70% isopropyl alcohol) or the iodine/alcohol combination (8.3% povidone-iodine with 72.5% isopropyl alcohol).
Both groups received standard-of-care systemic antibiotic prophylaxis. They were followed daily until discharge from the hospital, and then with a telephone call 30 days after delivery to assess whether a surgical site infection had occurred, as well as any visits to a physician’s office or emergency department that were related to a wound complication.
In an interview, Dr. Tuuli said that chlorhexidine has several properties that make it more effective than iodine. It is effective against both gram-negative and gram-positive organisms, including MRSA, and is not inactivated by organic matter. Although chlorhexidine is more likely than iodine to provoke an allergic reaction, none were observed in this study (2016 Feb 4. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1511048.)
There is such a great feeling about research findings. Unless, you are an author, you would probably not understand this pleasant feeling that I am talking about. It takes to present a research finding to a large audience at a conference to understand the feeling of humility and self-reassuring, a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment and a feeling of love to share your findings so that people will get to know. That’s how researchers add to knowledge.
But, above all, there is a feeling of pride which is considered mutual. Mutual at various levels; As Ghanaians, we are definitely proud of this accomplishment.
Dr. Tuuli’s alma mater, the University of Ghana will be excited to share in this feeling of unparalleled accomplishment and pride.
As for St. Francis Xavier Junior Seminary located in Wa, in the Upper West region of Ghana, where his academic trajectory was very positively recorded, it’s a fulfilment of the proverb that a thousand-mile journey always begins with a step - It all started in Xavier.
And of course, our Nandom, where we hail from. We, from Nandom are basking already in the pride of our own. Do folks still remember that famous WHAT DO YOU KNOW question from the legendary quiz master, Dan Afari-Yeboah, when he asked contestants, “In which town do we have the most medical doctors in Ghana?
Different wrong answers were given and the quiz master had to save the situation by giving the right answer - Nandom - to the surprise of all. That is the community we belong to and that’s how proud we are about your research findings, brother Method!
By Cletus D Kuunifaa
Can be contacted at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @ckuunifaa