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The West African Division of the International Academy of Pathology (WADIAP) on Monday began its seventh annual scientific conference in Cape Coast with a call on its members to upgrade their skills to meet the demands of the global world.

Professor Adekunle  Adesina, Director, Sector of Neuropathology and Molecular Neuropathology Laboratory at the Texas Children?s Hospital, expressed regret that many African countries lacked the requisite infrastructure like laboratories as well as pathologist technicians to effectively do proper diagnosis of diseases.

The five- day conference being organised by WADIAP in collaboration with the Friends of Africa- United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) has about 120 pathologists from 15 Sub- Saharan African countries attending.

It is under the theme ?Pathology Laboratory Quality Management in West Africa? aimed among others at creating awareness about the duties of the pathologists.

It is also to encourage student doctors to specialise in pathology and to come out with pragmatic strategies to help address some of the challenges of pathologists in the 21st century.

He expressed regret about the situation where the sub-Saharan Region still has to grapple with out-dated and obsolete equipment and machines as well as one man show situations in their pathology departments.

Prof. Adesina  also of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas who spoke on ?the challenges of pathologists in sub-Saharan Africa in the 21st century? said most pathologists are unable to meet the demands of their clients due  to inadequate staff and equipment .

Prof. Adesina said times had changed with the introduction of modern and scientific equipment for the proper diagnosis of diseases and blamed the situation on both governments and pathologists.

He stressed the need for African hospitals to be well resourced, whilst pathologists embarked on advocacy to create awareness about their situation.

Prof. Adesina appealed to more student doctors to specialise in pathology to fill the huge deficit of qualified personnel in that area to help meet the demands of the sub-region and cautioned the participants not to make the conference one of the numerous talk-shows but should ensure that whatever comes out of it is implemented.

Dr Clement Abu Okolo, Secretary General of WADIAP, said it was the first time the conference was being held outside Nigeria since its formation in that country, adding that, the decision is to move out to create awareness about the  group and embark on membership drive.

Nigeria has the largest membership with about 200 followed by Ghana, 20 with some countries in the sub-Saharan Africa including Liberia and Benin without any pathologists whiles Burkina-Faso and Mali have two each and one each for Togo and Niger.

He called on the public to disabuse their minds that the only duty of the pathologist is to perform autopsy but that autopsy is the least among the duties of a pathologist

Pathologist, he said, diagnose diseases and are at the forefront of research into all aspects of diseases which had resulted in the numerous medical technological and therapeutic break?through.

Dr Okolo  said Pathology is  the most difficult aspect  in the study  of  medical sciences and as a result very few people venture into it, but noted that  pathologists  do most of the work behind the scenes, whiles  the doctors in the consulting rooms get the credit.

?The pathologist is the advisor or consultant to other doctors involved in direct patient care,?  he said.

Dr  Yawale IIiyasu, President of WADIAP, commended USCAP for its continuous support for the activities of WADIAP over the past eight years.

Dr IIiyasu said WADIAP would  be discussing the issue of quality management and how it could be strengthened towards accreditation of pathology laboratories in sub-Saharan Africa.

Professor Gladys Amponsah, Vice Dean of the University Of Cape Coast School Of Medical Sciences (UCCSMS), thanked the organizers for selecting the school for the conference.

She called on them not to be complacent with their work but should endeavour to bring their expertise to bear to help improve upon the practice of pathology in the sub-region.

Source: GNA

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