Friday, February 18, 2011

Ghost of a machine.

An editorial in The Ghanaian Chronicle caught my interest. Dr. Beeko, a local physician, discusses the balance between human expertise and medical technology. He makes a persuasive case for both, but his central points are:
  1. Technology can dramatically improve health care.
  2. Ghana has little medical equipment and should strive for more.
  3. The little they do have is falling apart and not maintained / repaired.
As anyone who has ever heard me talk on this subject is aware, I am a rabid proponent for human medical expertise over technology; and our organization operates under the philosophy that fancy equipment and drugs can never replace the expertise of a well-trained, knowledgeable physician / nurse. However, there is a basic level of equipment that must be met, especially in the surgical arena.

One of our group has just returned from a trip to West Africa, and I am currently preparing a post on his report. In it, he describes the appalling deterioration of the critical equipment in a large teaching hospital. We are concerned that this reflects the lack of understanding by the administration of the issues Dr. Beeko illuminates in his opinion piece.

Stay tuned.