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Government should prioritize child health – Specialist

Dr. John Adabie Appiah, Critical Care Specialist at the Pediatric Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the nation’s second largest referral facility, has called for the government to prioritize child health.

He said it needed to put more resources into that to substantially bring down child deaths from preventable and curable diseases. He was speaking at a three-day pediatric workshop organized by the Child Health Directorate of the hospital in Kumasi under the theme “Pediatric respiratory diseases: primary care in-hospital approach”.

In attendance were doctors, medical assistants and nurses from across the country.

The goal was to help upgrade their skills in the management of respiratory diseases among children. They were taught neonatal resuscitation, diagnosis and management of acute and chronic asthma, bronchiolitis, bronchopneumonia, the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and pediatric advanced life support (PALS).

Dr. Appiah said children were the future of any society and that was why their growth and development should be of utmost importance to everybody. He asked that policy makers worked closely with doctors, who were on the ground, to identify specific child health needs and tackled them. He complained about the situation where many hospitals lacked life support and respiratory devices and said this needed to radically change.

The facilities should be provided with “nebulizers, oxygen medicine and nasal prongs” to save lives. He added that funds should be made available to them to acquire CPAP devices, which he described as “inexpensive and life-saving”. He pointed out that doing this was the way forward to efficiently deal with respiratory cases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) puts pneumonia as the number one cause of death among children under five years, with malaria gradually fading away. Dr. Appiah said this should make all to sit up – put in place the necessary infrastructure and logistics to fight it. He used the occasion to counsel parents to vaccinate their children against killer diseases and to ensure that they had good nutrition.

They should also take them to the hospital, when they showed signs of sickness.

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