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Health News of Monday, 20 August 2018


Human networking key to improved healthcare – Deputy Ambassador to China

Ghana's Deputy Ambassador to the Republic of China, Dr Charles Dwamena, has lauded China’s Belt and Road initiative as an important intervention for achieving improved healthcare and hence worthy of emulation by other countries.

The Belt and Road Initiative or the Silk Road Economic is a development strategy proposed by the Chinese government which focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries.

The Chinese government says the initiative is "a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future".

The initiative was unveiled by Chinese President, Xi Jinping, in late 2013 and was thereafter promoted by Premier Li Keqiang during state visits to Asia and Europe.

Speaking at the 2018 Beijing International Telemedicine Summit on Saturday, August 18, 2018, Dr Dwamena noted that the “initiative is not just about politics and trade but essentially about everything including healthcare and thus presents a solid platform for high-level discussions aimed at improving healthcare in globally.”

Statistics from the Association of Medical Councils of Africa reveal Africa will require about 1.3 million health professionals by 2050.

According to Ghana’s Deputy Ambassador to China, one of the viable ways by which Africa can position itself bridge this potential gap in health professionals and to adequately meet its healthcare needs is through human networking.

“Human networking is an important social asset that cannot be lost on us in our quest to discover ways of improving healthcare in Africa.

'When properly explored, human networking can create avenues for the training of more healthcare professionals as well as continuously improving the skills of those already trained. In the case of Ghana, we have over 6000 students studying in China and of this number, more than 50% are in the healthcare disciplines,” said.

He said a conscious effort to establish systems and policies that will continuously keep these healthcare professionals in touch with their Chinese roots will go a long way in equipping them to deal with the healthcare challenges they may face.

“The story is not different in other African countries – in almost every key Medical University in China, you will meet students from Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, D.R.Congo, Egypt, etc almost every African country has China-trained healthcare professionals and the numbers of such professionals are growing year by year.

“We, therefore, must aim at bringing together all these professionals through human-networking and telemedicine so as to enhance their capacities for improved healthcare in their various countries. Video conferencing, continuous professional development seminars, telemedicine and indeed conferences like the Youth Round Table Dialogue and the International Telemedicine Summit are just but a few of the ways the OBOR secretariat can employ to enhance the capacities of the numerous China-trained African healthcare professionals with the eventual aim of improving healthcare in Africa,” he said.

He revealed that Ghana has started to actively link Chinese Medical institutions to their counterparts in Ghana.

“One of such projects is the establishment of a joint Sino-Ghana Vision Center in the northern part of the country – collaboration between the Wenzhou Medical University which is a leading institution in the field of Eyecare in China and the Tamale Teaching Hospital, an emerging Centre of Excellence in Eyecare in West Africa,” he observed.

This collaboration, according to Dr Dwamena, has been made possible because an alumnus of Wenzhou Medical University saw the need to leverage his human networking capital among the leadership of the two institutions to bring about improved health care for more than ten million people in the northern part of the country.

“Such is the power of human networking,” he stressed.