Ghana has only 15 neurosurgeons catering for over 25 million Ghanaians, Dr Kafui Tamakloe, a Neurosurgeon at the Cocoa Clinic in Accra has said.
Speaking at a health talk organised by the Editors Forum Ghana (EFG) to commemorate their 10th anniversary in Accra on Wednesday, Dr Tamekloe said the few neurosurgical institutions in the country were also poorly equipped to provide the needed health services being demanded.
He said it was important for Ghanaians to adopt good posture, dieting and exercise to prevent spinal problems.
“More than 80 percent of health problems treated in the neurosurgical units are spine cases or the degenerative disc disease. Wear and tear of the spine affects the discs, bones, joints and ligaments of the spine.
“The surgery to treat the spine problem is extremely expensive although it does not reverse the damages that have been done so the public must be aware of the preventive measures and follow them.” he explained.
Dr Tamakloe said the degenerative condition of the spine is slow growing, accumulates over time, and activity dependent however it is not age specific so a young person can suffer the condition whereas an older person would not.
“Lack of vitamins in the body; wrong posture in sitting, walking, standing and lying down; and the body mechanism can cause spinal problems.
He said: “the wearing of high heels makes a woman look good however women must be aware of its implications as it alters the spines natural alignment”
Dr Tamakloe addressing the issue of the inadequate number of health practitioners particularly neurosurgeons said after medical school it takes five extra years to study neurosurgery in Ghana and seven in the United States and this could be a reason why there are very few studying neurosurgery.
“Considering the difficulty in studying neurosurgery, the duration of studies, and cost of becoming a neurosurgeon, a lot of work needs to be done to motivate the youth to study neurosurgery.”
Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, the EFG Chairperson said the problem of inadequate doctors to offer health services is a national problem.
“Spinal problems are increasing in the country, and the fact that there are only 15 neurosurgeons in the country is alarming. The general public must be made aware of the situation.”
She called on the authorities involved to work towards creating massive awareness and making the health profession attractive to the youth.
Ms Yeboah-Afari acknowledged the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Accra Brewery, the Skuup, and the EFG members for their support.