Professor (Mrs.) Esi Awuah, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), has raised concern about the lack of coordination among the agencies involved in disaster management in the country.
She indicated that despite Ghana having a disaster plan, fatalities and destruction of property through flood and fire outbreaks, remained unacceptably high because of the poor coordination.
Prof Awuah was addressing the 16th annual public lecture by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) held in Abesim, near Sunyani.
It was under the theme “Medical preparedness for national emergencies” and brought together more than 210 doctors, representatives of government agencies, institutions and organizations.
She mentioned rapid modernization and unstable city development, over-reliance on government for solving every problem, absence of proper maps and labels of roads, were also factors inhibiting swift emergency response.
She added that it was important to stop seeing the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) as more of a relief agency.
Prof Awuah underlined the need to regularly review the nation’s emergency preparedness to reflect current threats and suggested the setting up of a special unit in the districts to coordinate all the activities during emergency situations to provide rapid response.
She said it was also vital for medical practitioners to initiate appropriate measures to prevent disease spread and must be prepared physically and spiritually to manage emergencies.
They should be ready at any point in time to address national disasters and said this must be approached “from two angles – pre-emergency/disaster preparedness and post-emergency/disaster activities”.
Prof Awuah suggested to thee GMA to monitor and evaluate the preparedness of its members before and after any disaster, and said that would help it to determine what skills or training they would need to promote best practices.
Mr. Justice Samuel Adjei, the Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, commended the medical professionals for the job they were doing to save lives and asked that they continued to show empathy for the sick.