Diasporian News of Thursday, 21 June 2012

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GPSF Sponsors 10th African Healthcare Summit in Atlanta

Ghanaian Physicians and Surgeons Foundation of North America Sponsors 10th African Healthcare Summit in Atlanta

Ghanaian Physicians and other healthcare professionals met for the 10th annual meeting of the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation of North America (GPSF)at the Marriot Hotel, Buckhead, Atlanta in Georgia from April 20th -22nd, 2012. The two day meeting, including academic presentations by over 10 expert physicians, which was organized around the theme “Acute Medical Care in a Limited Resource Setting: Myths & Realities”. The academic program included papers and moderated sessions in Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology. The Plenary speaker and invited guest was Prof. Ofori –Adjei, Rector, Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons. The conference opened with welcome remarks by Dr. Moses Aboagye - Kumi, President of GPSF, a nephrologist in private practice in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The academic sessions began with the sessions on Psychiatry which included presentations by Dr. Thad Ulzen, Chair Department of Psychiatry, Dean, University of Alabama School of Medicine at Tuscaloosa, and Dr. Ebenezer Okyere, Lecturer University of Toronto and University of Ghana and School of Medical Sciences, University of Cape Coast. This was followed by a presentation on Emergency Medicine in Ghana by Dr. Nee-Kofi Mould-Milman, fellow in Emergency Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta.

Marjorie Ratel of the Korle – Bu Neurosciences Foundation and Dr. Paul King an Atlanta Neurosurgeon updated the members on progress of the project to add a neurosciences centre to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

Saturday’s full academic program began with Dr. Aboagye-Kumi’s formal welcome to all delegates and the introduction of Professor Ofori-Adjei’s plenary address. The day continued with papers on Safe Anesthesia and Surgery, presented by Dr. John B. Sampson of Johns Hopkins University, as well as Dr. Alexander Asamoah’s paper on Basic Metabolic Disorders in resource limited settings. A paper was presented by Dr. Charletta Ayers, Vice Chair of OB/GYN at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey on Obstetrics and Gynecology emergencies. Dr. Elijah Paintsil, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Yale University gave a presentation on faculty development for the University Of Development Studies School Of Medicine at Tamale.

Dr. James Aikins, Associate Professor at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, NJ and president –elect of the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation concluded the day with an open forum on the future direction of the foundation. This was followed by an open forum on the efforts of GPSF members to increase the help they provide to institutions in Ghana through educational program, peer training in advanced techniques to colleagues in Ghana and the desire to advocate for regulations in Ghana which will encourage more physicians in the diaspora to donate time and effort to work in Ghana on a regular basis to support the national effort to improve the standard of training and healthcare delivery in Ghana.

Ongoing barriers faced by existing programs to support healthcare in Ghana were also discussed. These include prohibitive fees for temporary registration charged to foreign based specialists who volunteer their services in Ghana at their own cost on a regular basis. The GPSF is planning to assist the Ghana Medical and Dental Council with credentialing of overseas physicians to streamline the process of temporary registration in Ghana.

GPSF is also planning to add to existing programs by members and is encouraging all physicians in the diaspora who have education and service programs to notify the organization to effect greater integration of services and to avoid duplication. The existing programs include the International Healthcare Volunteers (Dr. James Aikins), Foundation of Orthopedic and Complex Spine (Dr. Boachie-Adjei), EAUMF (Prof. Ulzen), African Partners Medical (Dr. Roberts) and Dr. Yeboah’s program Kybele, which is active in Sunyani in reducing maternal mortality in childbirth.

The event was capped by a fundraising dinner dance to raise funds for the various projects the organization is planning both in the US and in Ghana to support the mission of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra. The guest speaker for this event was Hon. Samia Nkrumah MP and chairperson CPP. Her address was read on her behalf by Dr. Leticia Otchere-Darko, Assistant Professor Anesthesiology, and University of Mississippi.

The GPSF was established to support the mission of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS) which was established by an Act of Parliament in 2002 to provide quality postgraduate training in Medicine in Ghana. It also serves as an advocacy group to educate the general public about numerous health care issues in Ghana and Africa. The foundation supports all non-profit health initiatives in Ghana by Ghanaian health professionals in North America.

Currently the College has local and external faculties in all specialties and there are over 300 residents at various stages of training in various specialties under the aegis of the GCPS.

A new executive board was elected and Dr. James Aikins, Associate Professor at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, NJ was elected president. Other officers are as follows President –elect Dr. Ralph Buckle, Dr. Nathaniel Lawson Vice –President, Dr. Leticia Otchere-Darko as secretary and Dr. Vibeke Dankwa was elected as treasurer.

Ex- officio board members entrusted with special projects were Dr. Alex – Twum Boafo (New York, NY), Dr. Moses Aboagye-Kumi (Fayetteville, NC), Prof. Ulzen (Alabama) Dr Ofori-Amanfo (Durham, NC) and Dr. Nii Tetteh (Boston).

A call was made to Ghanaian Physicians and health professionals overseas to join the foundation in helping support medical education and shape health policy in Ghana. Many members of the GPSF provide free teaching and clinical services on a regular basis in Ghana and many are involved in developing numerous health projects in the Ghana.

Source: Dr. James Aikins (President) & Dr. Leticia Otchere-Darko (Secretary) GPSF (NA).