Twenty Years of Cardiothoracic Progress in Ghanaby Frederick Sowah

Twenty Years of Cardiothoracic Progress in Ghana

by Frederick Sowah

Published on Tue, Aug 18 2009 by Frederick S.
Korle Bu Teaching hospital is Ghana’s main primary health care service provider. Founded in 1923, Korle Bu, then known as Gold Coast Hospital, has evolved into becoming a medical center where complicated medical procedures can be carried out. In November 2008 the first kidney transplant in Ghana was carried out at Korle Bu, and this breakthrough signified another important landmark in Korle Bu’s long history of medical service.

The National Cadiothoracic Center (NCTC) is, however, still Korle Bu’s most prominent department. From its humble beginnings in 1989 with just a small number of staff, the Center has burgeoned into a 130 personnel-staff, with six well-trained and highly skilled heart surgeons. The Center has built a solid reputation across the West African sub-region as a leader in complicated heart procedures, thus drawing several specialists to it on regular basis.

Earlier in August this year, NCTC celebrated its 20th anniversary. The founder and Director of the Center, Prof. K. Frimpong Boateng, has been the main power behind the Center’s operation for the past twenty years. One of the innovations that have been introduced at the Center under his stewardship is the Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) service, which allows surgeons to perform certain cardiothoracic procedures without cutting the chest open.

With an ever increasing number of Ghanaians, particularly children, suffering from many heart conditions, notably the “hole-in-heart” condition, it is a welcome relief that NCTC plans to establish a pediatric heart unit that will focus mainly on treating children with both congenital and acquired cardiovascular diseases. This proposed specialization would help reduce the burden that the main center shoulders on a day-to-day basis.  It will also help reduce the suffering of many Ghanaian children currently living with painful and life-threatening heart conditions.
 

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