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Japanese emergency medical system expert advises Ghana on disasters

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Japan has learnt from the recent natural disaster that hit it and has committed to a more stringent approach to medical management for disasters, a senior Japanese official has said.

Professor Yasuhiro Yamamoto, adviser to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and Ambassador for the African continent said at a lecture in Accra that this included Command and Coordination, Safety, Communication, Assessment, Triage, Treatment and Transportation.

A statement from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Accra on Tuesday said he was delivering a public lecture at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital.

Prof. Yamamoto, who is also an Ambassador for emergency medicine for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented two papers under the theme: “Present Situation and Future of Emergency Medical System and Disaster Medical Care – The Japanese Example.”

Prof. Yamamoto said: “We are implementing plans to combat or minimize the impact of disasters by strengthening, resourcing and populating the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), build a multi-purpose hospital ship for disaster relief, construct a rescue train and a jumbo jet aircraft for emergency service.”

He spoke about the state of the Japanese emergency medical system during the recent natural disaster and highlighted the plan to combat future earthquakes and natural disasters.

“When natural disasters occur too frequently, they cause monumental damages and often lead to environmental change, outbreak of chronic diseases, pollution and toxication.

“Japan has a state-of-the-art National Medical Control Council which regulates the medical control system for pre-hospital care, emergency medicine and paramedics. But, due to the fact that ambulance service is free, there is high demand for it, even when there are no major disasters,” Prof. Yamamoto said.

He said Japan was regarded as the number one country against natural disasters, so it had the Disaster Medical Assistance Team, a trained medical team which had mobility to act in the acute stage of disasters.

DMAT, he said, consisted of about 703 teams and 4,300 paramedics. At any disaster site, children, women, physically challenged people and foreigners were rescued first.

Prof. Yamamoto said Ghana was in the “silent phase” of the disaster cycle and therefore advised government to plan, train and prepare against any natural disaster.

Prof. Kwadwo Koram, a Deputy Director of the NMIMR, and Prof. Nii Otu Nartey, Chief Executive of Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, thanked Prof. Yamamoto for the insightful lecture and wished Japan well on its recovery plans and activities.

Source: GNA

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