Accra, May 23, GNA- Dr Kwaku Aning, the Board Chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), has called for the effective positioning of healthcare providers to appreciate the value of research on the quality of care delivery and impact on the life of patients.
Dr Aning who was speaking at a symposium on radiation medicine research, organised by the Commission in Accra on Tuesday, said clinical research, had over the years proven to be very important in an effort to improve healthcare delivery; and findings from such studies, had been a fundamental role of healthcare professionals.
He indicated that the evaluation of current clinical practice and the adoption of best scientific evidence, has even translated into evidence-based practice.
However, one of the greatest challenges had been educating, and building the capacities of health care providers to be able to evaluate and appraise the impact of the findings of clinical research, and also to understand and differentiate the statistical and clinical significances, he said.
Dr Aning said the symposium on the topic « Facilitating Clinical Research: putting Theory into Practice », was therefore intended to create a platform for discussion among scientists and researchers, on the components of facilitating a good clinical research.
Participants were mainly scientists, researchers and radiation experts from GAEC, as well as students from the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS).
Ms Natalija Frank, the Executive Manager for Clinical Research and Coordinating Manager for Patient and Care Affairs at the Comprehensive Cancer Care in Vienna, was the main resource person for the programme.
She shared her knowledge and experience on the current rising global trend of non-communicable diseases including cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, which were becoming increasingly difficult to treat, hence the need for expanded clinical research to improve healthcare delivery.
She explained that said treatment of these diseases were also becoming very expensive and therefore the need for health professionals to lead in vigorous advocacy and education on preventive rather than curative healthcare.
Ms Frank said currently, 9.1 per cent of the global burden of disease could be prevented by improving water, sanitation and hygiene, however in the race to find ways to feed and supply clean water and sanitation to the rapidly growing population, Climate Change would present a major challenge.
Giving a global overview of the current disease burden, she said cardiovascular diseases was the world’s number one cause of death, with about eighty per cent of all deaths now occurring in low-income and middle-income countries.
The trend in heart diseases in developed and developing countries, she said, had been noted to be moving in opposite directions, attributing this to the fact that in the developed countries, aggressive public health measures and medical intervention had cut cardiovascular mortality dramatically.
Again research had shown that death rate for heart diseases for instance, have also fallen by as much as 70 per cent in Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States during the last 30 years, she said.
The obstacles to chronic disease control, however would be the growth in the burden of cancer and other chronic disease which would be an increasingly challenge for countries irrespective of resource levels.
She said the economic costs would also increase enormously as would the need for healthcare and Public Health professionals, and in all these the poorest countries would be the hardest hit, as many currently lacked the resources to cope with the current situation.
Ms Frank stressed that improving health and Public Health Systems worldwide was a priority, saying « there is an urgent need to establish an international Policy for dealing with the evolving situation and it is essential to ensure that Health is not an issue for competition: rather collaboration is vital ».
She however stated that resources necessary to make progress were too great for any one area of society to bear and suggested that the principal necessity was to recognise the essential importance of building a global consortium involving Public and Private bodies, Governmental Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations, Pharmaceutical Industry and Philanthropy among other partners, to tackle the growing global problem of chronic disease.
She further suggested an urgent need to change the mindset of the population to deal with prevention, urging Governments to take the lead and « set Prevention actions as a top priority », saying « there are areas where legislation can be successful ».
The symposium would also discuss topics such as the worth of research in the health system, creating Patient-Friendly study protocols, and addressing the issues of logistics in clinical research.