An Echocardiography training centre for the health professionals in cardiovascular medicine, science, technology and practice has been inaugurated at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH).

The Centre, the first of its kind in the country is designed to improve screening of newborn babies, children and adults with congenital heart diseases with the aim of bringing under-served communities to a stage of early diagnosis and proper treatment of heart diseases.

The Echocardiography Centre would also develop and intensify a network for mutual exchange of knowledge and cooperation between the medical industries and health professionals.

It formed part of a partnership programme between the German Heart Institute, Berlin Germany, the CCTH and other hospitals within Africa.

The partnership is to establish a centre for skills training of physicians and IT Officers in tale-cardiology and tele-education to promote South-South development cooperation.

Professor Charles Yankah, a Ghanaian Surgeon at the German Health Institute and Director of the Centre explained that the huge number of neonatal deaths recorded due to Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) necessitated the establishment of the centre.

He mentioned that 48.1 percent of neonatal deaths and 76 percent of deaths of adults below 18 years were due to CHD and stressed the need for a national heart screening exercise for early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

As part of the partnership, he said cardiology clinics would be organised to screen the public and patients with heart disease to create awareness for early diagnosis and proper treatment.

Prof Yankah called on the CCTH to create, upgrade and develop intensive care units adding that the training alone was not enough for the treatment of patients with heart diseases.

Dr. Eric Kofi Ngedu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CCTH mentioned that a total of thirteen health professionals have been trained in Echocardiography through the partnership between December last year and May this year.

Within the same period, he said 12,273 school children were sensitised with more than 5,000 of them being screened of which one person was supported to undergo heart surgery.

Currently, he said CCTH began screening all newborns for early detection of CHD following the donation of a portable echo equipment by the German team led by Prof Yankah.

Dr Ngedu assured that the hospital would continue to pursue a number of partnership programmes in clinical and medical missions with the aim of strengthening and improving the quality of health care delivery in its catchment Areas and the nation at large.

Dr Dirk English, Regional Medical Officer for Indesk Africa, German Embassy said it was important to secure proper instruments for diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart diseases.

He implored on the CCTH to put in place mechanisms for the maintenance and long term sustainability of the project.

Mr Kwamena Duncan, Central Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf commended the Board for showing leadership and commitment in improving health-care services to the people of the region.

He pledged the support of the Regional Coordinating Council and the Government to expand infrastructure in order for the hospital to efficiently play its role as the only tertiary facility serving the region and beyond.

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