Research reveals Patients in emergency situations have high alcohol levels

It was established that about 44 per cent of the patients had alcohol levels way above the healthy and legal limit of 0.08.

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A study conducted at the Emergency Department of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH)- Ghana’s second largest referral facility, showed unacceptably high level of alcohol abuse among patients rushed there for treatment.

Dr. Paa Kobina Forson, an Emergency Physician at the Department, said it was established that about 44 per cent of the patients had alcohol levels way above the healthy and legal limit of 0.08.

 Additionally, 53 per cent of patients in emergency situation, who died were alcohol positive with 27 per cent of all injured and traumatized sampled, exhibiting harmful alcohol use.

Equally disturbing was the findings that one out of three drivers, whose vehicles were involved in road crashes, had exceeded the permissible alcohol requirement in their blood.

The study was carried between November 2014 and May 2015with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a United States (US)-based Medical Research Agency, to identify alcohol use among patients admitted at the facility.

Dr. Forson said a total of 2,488 patients were sampled and out of this figure 1, 085 tested positive for alcohol.

He said given its harmful effects it was appropriate for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to mount serious public education campaign to create the needed awareness and bring attitudinal change among the people

He made this known at a seminar organized under the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Emergency Medicine project, to share knowledge, present research findings and outputs so far recorded under the project which was ending this year.

The goal of the five-year collaborative project by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), KATH, Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, University of Michigan, US, and the Ministry of Health is to increase Ghana’s capacity to provide emergency medical care.

The role of research in academic medicine, alcohol and HIV research, injury and trauma research and trial on acute management of seizures took the centre stage at the seminar. 

Dr. Alexis Nang-beifubah, the Ashanti Regional Health Director, said they would not relent in efforts at helping the people to lead healthy lifestyles.

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