"Allied Health Personnel have impacted meaningfully to healthcare delivery system" - Prof. Bello
Professor at the Department of Physiotherapy, School
of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Professor Ajediran Idowu Bello has commended Allied Health Personnel in Ghana for performing creditably well, and impacting meaningfully to the healthcare delivery system in Ghana.
According to him, the track records of allied health disciplines as regards health promotion, diagnosis, evaluation, rehabilitation, remediation, and therapy services remain noticeable.
Soeaking at a Maiden Round Table Conference of the Allied Health Sector held in Accra, he said "Allied health professionals are found in public and private health sectors providing essential health services within the limits of their available resources.
The Maiden Round Table Conference of the Allied Health Sector in Ghana, organized by the Ministry of
Health in collaboration with Ghana Federation of Allied Health Professions (GFAHP) and Key Stakeholders, at the Ministry of Health conference room on Room, FifthFloor of the Ministry New Building, Accra, on
September 29, 2023.
He added that Allied health professions are a conglomeration of various groups of professions which forms a sub-group of healthcare workforce, thus placing huge expectations at their
doorsteps to catch up with the global healthcare advancements.
"Since the culture of healthcare is NOT stagnant, transformed models are needed to match the changing landscape of the emerging diseases"
He stressed scores of allied health personnel are also joining military and paramilitary medical corps.
"Our personnel have made significant contributions in sports, special care homes, diagnostic centers, and
industries in Ghana. Even though there are more to be done, the practicing and training standards have been found to meet the basic benchmarks set by various global professional bodies"
"By my own candid assessment, our score card can be rated as ‘fair to good’! Thenotable achievements thus far includes establishment of allied health task force (which metamorphosed into Allied Health Professions Council-Ghana, by the Act of parliament 857, in 2013), establishment of Allied Health Directorate, expansion of training in our higher institutions to the graduate level, collaboration with fellow
African professional bodies, intra-professional eagerness to improve practice, improved performance by individuals on the global stage and better professional identity.
"These are all positive transformations within our professional cycle. Despite these seemingly lofty achievements however, do we say that the promised land has been reached? The answer is no! Every ground-breaking event in history came as a
result of breaking new grounds. We should be fully aware that still waters have their lurking dangers"
"There are avalanche of prevailing affronts bedeviling our practice which are both intrinsic and extrinsic in nature. These include shortage of manpower, unfavourable practice environments, lack of clinical practice guidelines, inadequate
ethical competence, shortage of requisite practice equipment, low local research outputs, declining morale among professionals (apathy), silent inter-profession tussles,
quackery, and professional encroachment due to lack of identity"
He noted that given the identified challenges, transformed models areneeded to match the changing health care landscape in.
"Change is necessitated to minimize wastage in healthcare delivery. It is already known that our healthcare system is under serious pressure occasioned by new wave of health challenges among the teeming population, which deserves new dimensions to the healthcare structure and strategies"
"The ravaging effects of COVID-19 pandemic is still fresh in our memories during which the out-patients services provided by many allied health professions were relegated to the background, describing them as secondary, thereby leaving our patients in a state of bewilderment"
Moreover, the Ghana recent assessment report on ageing and health by the World Health organization indicates that, majority of older people now die of noncommunicable diseases such as heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes rather than from infectious and parasitic diseases, and those who are living are suffering from appalling physical dysfunctions, higher levels of anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life.
"At the same time, young adults between ages of 30 and 40 years who are the hope of the nation are suffering from cardiovascular problems and other non-communicable
diseases with total estimated mortality rate of 42%. That is not to talk of the incessant outbreak of preventable diseases that deserve rigorous preventive actions in the form of health education"
"As a matter of fact, the major causes of death in Ghana have shifted from predominantly communicable diseases to a combination of communicable and chronic non-communicable diseases over the last few decades. It is glaring that the Allied health professionals need to look inward toward a renewed
model in combating the emerging challenges"
"Hitherto, preventive healthcare has been dominated by the medical practitioners, nurses, and public health personnel. Allied health professionals are still struggling in this arena
which underscore the above ‘shifts’ with the view to stem the tides of the diseases of lifestyles. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"
Conceptual framework for better practice and delivery
Honorable Deputy Minister and distinguished Stakeholders, having assessed our present situations and presented our score card, I would like to embark on some meaningful tips and policy proposals that will bring about transformative changes
needed to make allied health practice top-notch in Ghana. As healthcare professionals, we should always remember that the healthcare system is our laboratory and platform to test our ideas and refine our clinical skills"
Highlighting on measures for innovative practice, Prof. Bello hinted that given the presented shortage of manpower in Ghana, Government needs to explore aggressive cost control measures.
He revealed that the World Health Organization in 2010 advocated the exploration of e-Health and Mobile Health Clinic as strategies of choice to make healthcare accessible to every member of the communities.
"Tele-health technology which entails the delivery of healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications"
Taking his turn, Deputy Minister of Health, Mahama Asei-Seini said "At the peak of the covid-19 pandemic, allied health professionals played crucial roles by providing timely diagnostic services, clinical care and support services, mental health and rehabilitation of covid-19 survivors"
"The commitment of allied health professionals has been instrumental in improving the quality of care, enhancing patient outcomes and contributing significantly the overall health and well-being of our citizens"
"Our theme for today's conference 'Assessing the Allied Health Landscape in Ghana, Envisioning the future is both timely and apt. It underscores our commitment to continuous improvement, innovation and pursuit of excellence in allied health practice"
"Today, we have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions, share insights and chart a course for a brighter future in the allied health sector"
He was confident that the perspectives shared will ignite a spark of inspiration and innovation that will propel the sector to new heights.
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith