PASCaTS Holds Global Webinar Series

The Pan-African Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (PASCaTS) and the African Cultural Institute have held their 12th webinar series.

The virtual gathering organized at the German Heart Centre/ Charite Berlin with IT support from Philipp Krueger was under the theme, “The Legacy of Covid-19 Pandemic: A Compass for Reshaping the Health System”

The webinar, co-chaired by Dr. Silvia Paula Lutucuta, Minister of Health, Angola, and Lord Paul Boateng, Former Cabinet Minister & Diplomat, London, UK, was to share experiences of health experts in fighting Covid-19 with the virtual audience.

The faculty for the panel discussion were Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Presidential Adviser on Health, Ghana, Dr. Aubyn Marath, President, CardioStart Int. Eugene, USA, Prof. Kamar Adeleke, CEO, TriState Healthcare, Ilishan, Ogun State, Nigeria, and Dr. Richard Friedland, CEO, Netcare Ltd., Johannesburg, South Africa.

The panelists shared with the global audience the state of the Coronavirus pandemic in Africa’s sub-regions.

The panelists agreed that the pandemic has clearly demonstrated that despite the great progress in healthcare and disease epidemiology, health systems in the high and middle income countries are some how weak.

They also noted that the existing infrastructure of health systems of the high and middle income countries have demonstrated their resilience and capabilities to be challenged to face health crisis such as Covid-19 pandemic.

“This potential has been demonstrated in many countries. While the more vulnerable health systems of the Low Income Countries (LICs) require initiatives to provide own basic needs and every internal and external support to improve their supply chain for better disease management, ” they said.

On the lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic, the panelists said early warning and alarm systems for epidemic diseases by the WHO are needed and mandatory for facilitating effective preparedness, response and recovery plans.

They also reiterated compliance to preventive measures to minimize resurgence of the virus and the need for developing Telehealth with the existing communication systems globally especially in the Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) has become evident.

“Telehealth has been a critical means for providing care during the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue to be a vital tool, even as in-person visits are accessible for some,” said Susan R. Bailey, MD, President of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Silvia Paula Lutucuta, Minister of Health, Angola also said the corona pandemic has incentivized global communities, governments and NGOs on how to reshape the health systems and political agenda to build healthcare technologies and create job opportunities to face future health crisis.

Prof. Dr. Charles Yankah , CEO, Global Heart Forum, and Program Director, Berlin-Africa webinar in a statement said the spread of the devastating Covid-19 to Africa brought many Africans in diaspora great concern about its anticipated impacts on the Continent’s weak health system hence the webinar series to share experiences.

“If you test, track, trace and do postmortem autopsies you know more about pandemic diseases, ” Prof. Charles Yankah said.

He added that the initiative has really grown as a pure outreach project in Africa and has become a Covid-19 Global Webinar which has given birth to Global Heart Care as a task force of Pan-African Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (PASCaTS) for operating its clinical programs in Africa following the webinar held on 3 July 2020 entitled “Disparities in cardiac surgery”.

He noted that a key aim is to initiate networking among cardiovascular physicians in Africa, in Diaspora and the international community of cardiovascular physicians interested in cardiovascular health care in Africa and thereby sharing a wealth of medical experience which has never been utilized to its potential.

He further added that subsequent webinars aim at creating more awareness of Covid-19 and its impact on cardiovascular healthcare and health economy in Africa.

“Covid -19 has been a wake up call to address health inequalities on the continent. Africa needs properly funded sustainable health care systems with a renewed focus on self reliance, health related manufacturing industries and strengthening preventive public health solutions. The leadership of Ghanaians in thought and practice on this issue will be key“ Lord Boateng said.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri