September 27, 2011
Professor Yasuhiro Yamamoto, a medical doctor, advisor to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and Ambassador for African continent and emergency medicine for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has delivered a public lecture at the conference hall of the University of Ghana's Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital on 13th and 14th September respectively. He thanked Ghana for volunteering humanitarian support to Japan when the disaster occurred.
Prof. Yamamoto presented two papers under the theme; ‘Present situation and future of emergency medical system and disaster medical care- the Japanese example.' One hundred and forty (140) participants attended the lecture at the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, whilst one hundred and twenty (120) participants at NMIMR.
In his expository delivery, Prof. Yamamoto revealed the state of the Japanese emergency medical system during the recent natural disaster and highlighted the plan to combat future earthquakes and natural disasters. ‘When natural disasters occur too frequently, they cause monumental damages and often lead to environmental change, outbreak of chronic diseases, pollution and toxication. Japan has a state-of-the-art National Medical Control Council which regulates the medical control system for pre-hospital care, emergency medicine and paramedics. But, due to the fact that ambulance service is free, there is high demand for it, even when there are no major disasters.' Prof. explained.
He continued; ‘Japan is regarded as the number one country against natural disasters, so it has the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), a trained medical team which has mobility to act in the acute stage of disasters. DMAT consists of about 703 teams and 4,300 paramedics. At any disaster site, children, women, physically challenged people and foreigners are rescued first.'
He added that Japan has learnt from the recent disaster and has committed to a more stringent approach to medical management for disasters which include Command and coordination, Safety, Communication, Assessment, Triage, Treatment and Transportation (CSCATTT).
Prof. Yamamoto, who is also on several international boards such as World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine and the International Society for Burn Injuries, said; ‘We are implementing plans to combat or minimize the impact of disasters by strengthening, resourcing and populating DMAT, build a multi-purpose hospital ship for disaster relief, construct a rescue train and a jumbo jet aircraft for emergency service.'
He mentioned that Ghana is in the ‘Silent Phase' of the Disaster Cycle and therefore advised government to plan, train and prepare against any natural disaster.
Both Deputy Director of NMIMR, Prof. Kwadwo Koram and Chief Executive of Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, Prof. Nii Out Nartey thanked him for the insightful lecture and wished Japan well on its recovery plans and activities.