Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Nurses Group within the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwife Association have said they are overwhelmed with increasing cases among the population due to lack of adequate professionals to help treat rising cases.

According to the association, instead of 300 ENT surgeons and 2,000 ENT nurses needed nationwide, Ghana can only boost of less than 50 surgeons and a little over 400 ENT nurses to deal with the situation.

President of the group, Bismark Asare, lamented the predicament last Friday during the association’s 7th annual conference and scientific section held in Sunyani in Bono Region.

Mr. Asare said they were using the conference to deliberate on issues that affect their welfare and health delivery in the country and strategise towards the post COVID- 19 era.

“COVID-19 has come to stay and it is essential we strategise to live with it. This is the reason we chose the theme, ‘ENT Nurses, A Voice To Lead In The Vision For A Transformed Healthcare Amidst COVID-19 And Beyond’,” he stated.

According to him, studies have shown that ENT diseases are serious public health problems with universal distribution affecting all age groups.

“It is known that ENT problems are the most common reasons for visits to health facilities in both rural and urban communities forming between 10 to 20 per cent of OPD cases. Fifty per cent of these groups are children,” he said.

He said there is also a rise in ENT cases as a result of head and neck emergencies due to increase in road accidents and industrial disasters.

According to him, early diagnoses and management could help reduce the menace, but ENT nurses are understaffed, under resourced, and use outdated audiology and speech therapy to help in early diagnoses and management of the problems.

As a result, patients continue to die from simple ENT infections and curable cancers because there is no access to basic tests or hearing rehabilitation.

The association called on the Ministry of Health to award scholarships and sponsor ENT nurses who will undertake training in the area to increase the numbers to save the situation.

Special guest speaker for the occasion, Dr. Cardinal Newton, who doubles as the Medical Director of Bono Regional Hospital, urged ENT nurses to be innovative and take good care of themselves in their line of duties in the post-COVID-19 era since they are the first professionals to be exposed to COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

He said that ENT nurses needed to be empowered to offer best specialty care.

According to him, because the entry sites of acute respiratory virus into the human body are the ears, nose, mouth, and the eyes or otherwise the face, ENT nurses in other jurisdictions were quickly placed at the frontline for COVID-19 symptoms detection.

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