3 really great ways to reduce medication errors among discharged patients.

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A middle-aged man with Asthma and hypertension was experiencing breathlessness and was rushed to the Emergency department.

He was given oxygen and nebulization. Then after he became calm, he informed us that;  when he began to experience the asthmatic attack, he couldn’t identify his asthma medications from his anti-hypertensive drugs.  

Another female patient in her 50s was admitted at the ED with hypoglycemia.  She had both hypertension and diabetes but could not differentiate between her drugs. She complained that she didn’t know which of her medications was for the hypertension or the diabetes.

 

Why this is a Problem ?

1. There are several patients in Ghana who share the same plight as the two patients. Patients who suffer more than one chronic conditions like; Diabetes and hypertension,  chronic kidney disease and hypertension, HIV and tuberculosis, etc are given more medications. These medications perform different functions and treat both medical conditions separately. But most of our patients are ignorant of the various medications and what they do. Because of this, patients tend to have emergencies due to their inability to differentiate one drug from the other in terms of their conditions. 

Patients are therefore not able to control their medication intake when their levels are either high or low;  example is when a diabetic has low Random blood sugar (RBS)  level but takes her anti-be tic drugs anyway because she doesn’t know which of her medications is for diabetes.

2. More chronic disease patients experience a worsening of their conditions which results in an increase in hospital admissions,  early re-admissions, prolonged hospital stay and increased healthcare cost. All these factors affect the Sustainable  Development  Goals and prevents Ghana from achieving her goal.

What can be done? 

1. Colour coded medication dispenser: I believe as a country with a high illiteracy rate of 24% (CIA, world fact book), using colour coded medication dispensers to serve drugs in our pharmacies especially during discharge could really help control medication errors at home after patients are discharged.joshua-coleman-623117-unsplash.jpg

 

2. Colour coded plastic bags:Plastic-Bals.png

Photo credit: 3JS Brand

Even though the use of  plastic bags is not favourable to the environment, it’s use i’s not currently banned in Ghana. Most hospital pharmacies /dispensaries use plastic bags to package medications for patients.

With these colour coded bags , patients will be able to easily identify which drugs are for which particular condition. This can greatly reduce the rate at which medication errors occur at home.

3. Education, Education, Education! Our patients mostly walk out of our health facilities with just the dosage of their medications explained to them. If they are lucky* they are informed about when exactly to take their drugs whether before or after meals.

But much more needs to be done. Patients need to know and understand well the following;

a. The name of the drug

b. What it does and what condition it treats.

c. When to take the drug and why it should be taken at those times. This helps patients to appreciate more the need to adhere to the instructions if they know how important it is.

d. When to stop taking it. Example: A diabetic taking blood sugar control medications. The patient needs to understand that if the RBS is low, he/she needs not take the drugs.

e. Side effects of the drugs.

Lets help promote the health of Ghanaians and the world at large.

If you thing this post was helpful, please leave a comment, share with others to make impact and follow my blog for more quality  health education.

Thank you!

Have a great day. …

 

 

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15 Patient’s rights you never knew you had in Ghana.

 

 

The ignorance of most Ghanaian patients is something that lots of stakeholders benefit from with the exception of the patient who bears the disadvantage. From the government heads to the hospital heads, the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, medical laboratory scientists, and all other working professionals and auxiliaries in our health facilities across the nation. Because the patient doesn’t know their right, they are more often than not given any kind of care. But learning your right as a patient can not only arm you to demand the right care, but also put others on their toes to deliver the best care.

THE PATIENT’S RIGHTS

As a patient;

  1. You have a  right to quality basic health care regardless  of your geographical location ( it is your right, do not let anyone make you feel like they are doing you a favour).
  2. You are entitled to full information on your condition and its management and the possible risks involved except in emergency situations when you are unable to make a decision and the need for treatment is urgent. (As a patient, always ask questions. If the nurses and doctors are not telling you, you have the right to ask. So ask and be informed about your own health. Never leave the hospital not knowing what you are suffering from, what caused it, how to prevent and manage it).
  3. You have the right to know of alternative treatment(s) and other health care providers within the Service if these may contribute to improved outcomes.
  4. You have  the right to know the identity of all your caregivers and other persons who may handle you  including students, trainees and ancillary workers .
  5. You have the right to consent or decline to participate in a proposed research study involving you after a full explanation has been given. The patient may withdraw at any stage of the research project.
  6. If you decline to participate in or withdraw from a research project, you are still entitled to the most effective care available.
  7. As a patient you have the right to privacy during consultation, examination and treatment.
  8. In cases where it is necessary to use the patient or his/her case notes for teaching and conferences, the consent of the patient must be sought.
  9. You are entitled to confidentiality of information obtained about you and such information shall not be disclosed to a third-party without your consent or the person entitled to act on your behalf except where such information is required by law or is in the public interest.
  10. You are entitled to all relevant information regarding policies and regulation of the health facilities that you attended.
  11. Procedures for complaints, disputes and conflict resolution shall be explained to patients or their accredited representatives.
  12. Hospital charges, mode of payments and all forms of anticipated expenditure shall be explained to the patient prior to treatment.
  13. In case of any exemption facilities, they shall be made known to the patient.
  14. As a  patient you are entitled to personal safety and reasonable security of property within the confines of the Institution ( As a patient in a hospital, it is the duty of the hospital to protect you from any kind of harm. If the hospital fails to do so, you have the right to demand for it or in severe cases, take legal action against them).
  15.  You (patient) have the right to a second medical opinion if you so desire. (This means if you are not comfortable, convinced or satisfied with the care and options you are being given by a particular doctor or hospital, you can ask or choose to seek another opinion).

 

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Why Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Ghana; a look at the women

Cervical cancer is cancer that affects the cervix. The cervix is found at the opening of the uterus of the woman.

An image showing the cervix 

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Cancer is an abnormal growth of the cells in any part of the body. In this case, the abnormal growth of cells in the cervix is what is termed, cervical cancer.

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Cervical cancer affects only women because the cervix can only be found in the woman. But the virus that causes cervical cancer which is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can affect both men and women through sexual contact.

Being a woman automatically puts you at risk of cervical cancer. Even though you may never be affected.

But the moment you engage in sexual activity regardless of your age, you greatly increase your risk of cervical cancer especially if you do not use condoms for protection.

It is a known fact that women who use contraceptives (not condoms) are at a greater risk of getting cervical cancer. This is because, most women in Ghana use contraceptives for protection against pregnancy not infections. Due to thus reason, other contraceptives aside condoms are mostly patronized by the women.

Now the problem is, because the women are protected from pregnancy, they practice unprotected sex. Which exposes them to the virus (HPV) amongst other sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV.

According to the 2017 fact sheet (ICO/IARC Information Centre on HPV and Cancer), Hormonal contraceptives ( pills, injections, etc) use caused 22.9% of cervical cancer in Ghana. 

This does not mean that hormonal contraceptives are bad or that they cause cancer, but that they do not prevent infections and so if a woman is in a relationship which doesn’t promise monogamy, the practice of using condoms should be paramount to prevent the virus.

If you cannot abstain, then be faithful to one sexual partner. Always use a condom to protect yourself and your partner against STDS.

Condom is the only contraceptive that prevents infections !

The Ghanaian society is yet to empower women to be able to negotiate for their own protection during sex. In our community, the woman is powerless to defend herself and her health in relationships so if the man does not initiate condom use, the woman is unable to demand for it.

But the woman in our time must speak for herself. You need to demand for protection if it is not marriage. abstinence is still best.

And even in marriage if there is infidelity, you must protect yourself until both of you have undergone tests to show you are free from infections.

Don’t compromise on the quality of your health. Life is too short.

#Cervical cancer can be prevented.

 

 

Faithfulness is healthy; Cervical cancer Prevention by the man.

Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Ghana. It is also known as a sexually transmitted disease. This is because the virus that causes this type of cancer (Human Papillomavirus ) is transmitted through sexual contact. This virus can be found in all places in the body but when it gets to the cervix of the woman it leads to cervical cancer.

Both men and women may carry this virus and by engaging in unprotected sex with a partner who is infected with the virus, you can get infected too.

Every sexually active woman stands a risk of getting cervical cancer because of this virus.

More women use contraceptives to prevent getting pregnant but not as a protection from sexually transmitted infections. ” with the exception of condomsContraceptives only prevent pregnancy and not infections

Condoms use is something that is still not practiced in many sexual relationships. This is a dangerous practice especially in unmarried relationships that monogamy is not assured.

The man has the ability to protect his woman  (wife, girlfriend, fiancée) from cervical cancer by staying true to her. By maintaining a monogamous sexual relationship, the man reduces greatly  the woman’s risk of cervical cancer. This is because the risk of infecting each other with the virus decreases if it’s just you two. Faithfulness is healthy.

What the man can do to prevent Cervical cancer in his partner. 

1. Try faithfulness to her. No sexual gallivanting.

2. Encourage her to undergo cervical screening.

3. Help her to stay healthy physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Let’s keep our women alive and well.

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Dear Ghana, we can fight rabies. It is possible : (Findings from the Healthy Pets Healthy Humans Campaign).

In 2015 I witnessed a series of rabies cases in the Emergency department which all ended in the death of the victims.

What all victims had in common were that;

1. They had all experience dog bites.

2. They were all ignorant of first aid after a dog bite.

These patients died basically due to ignorance.

The Healthy pets, Healthy humans campaign was birth after a patient who had sought medical care after the dog bite was given tetanus injection and asked to go home, only to acquire rabies later.

I realized then the problem of ignorance was not just with the people but the health care givers as well. 

The campaign was started in December 2015. This was what we did…

1. We created audio CDs on Rabies education and prevention in the local Twi dialect. The audio included how rabies was transmitted, animals that can transmit rabies, what to do after a bite, signs and symptoms of rabies, etc.

2. We partnered with  some  Assembly men in the Kumasi metropolis who in turn led us to the various information centers. After speaking with them, they played the audio CDs for a week to sensitize the people.

3. After playing the CDs, we organized mass anti-rabies vaccination for those communities.

4. In all three communities were visited for vaccination but the audio was played in five communities. 50 dogs were vaccinated against rabies.

These were our findings after interactions with the people:

1. The people were eager to vaccinate their dogs after they heard the education via the information centres.

2. Secondly, the people were willing to pay to vaccinate their animals contrary to popular belief that Ghanaians wanted free vaccination and there were no funds for that.

3. Most dog owners were discouraged from sending their dogs to the veterinary due to;

a. Long distance from their homes to the roadside.

b. Transportation cost from taking a taxi with the dog to and from the veterinary hospital.

4. Others also did not know the severity of rabies so they never thought it wise to send their dogs.

Thsee are  my recommendations:

1. I believe the education on Rabies should be made paramount to the understanding of the average Ghanaian. Innovative strategies like ours need to be employed to deliver the message to the people.

2. Our health care workers need to be abreast with the management of Rabies and other conditions that frequently present at their facilities. Tetanus as the only treatment after a dog bite has to stop! People are dying when they shouldn’t.

3. Well functioning animal laws need to be put in place and monitored to control and reduce the reckless ownership of animals and stray dogs in our societies.

4. Ministry of health and the Government at large need to start giving attention to quality health education and preventive health as a whole to better improve the health and choices of Ghanaians.

NB: Healthy pets Healthy humans is a campaign that needs to supported adopted by the Government and other stakeholders to be done on regional and national levels to help combat the incidence of Rabies in our dear country Ghana. 

This approach can very well be adopted by other African countries.

It is Possible!

Help me spread the word.

 

5 risks associated with Stress and 5 ways to de-stress.

It’s STRESS AWARENESS MONTH!
We all go through some kind of stress in life. From a job interview to a financial  debt, a sick child to a troubled relationship, even planning a wedding to writing an exam.  These stressors can negatively affect your health if not dealt with properly.
When stress is allowed to take control, it prevents you from living your normal life and can lead to
1. anxiety disorders
2. High blood pressure
3. Increase your risk of obesity
4. Increase risk of diabetes
5. Depression, etc.

But stress can be controlled by;
1. Learning to laugh it off!  Not every situation needs a serious approach. You have to laugh at some things just to keep your sanity. Plus laughter definitely looks better on you than moodiness.

2. Sharing with someone; Yeah I know ….by now you’re probably saying Priscilla you don’t know what people can do with your stuff. But I do. I know it can be difficult to trust sometimes but you need to let your guard down sometimes to share with someone just to lighten your load.

3. Let it go! It is enough, you have held on to this thing for too long and the stress of it is killing you. Learn to let somethings go. Not everything and everyone has to get an apartment in your head. Some people just have to spend a day, an hour or even some minutes in your mind and then puff!  they’re gone. Don’t stress yourself with temporary things.

4. Find your happy place. Is  it movies, music, prayer, the word of God, or reading stories. Go there. Be happy.

5. Tell yourself this too shall pass. This is actually one of my favourites in times of stress. I say to myself, this too shall pass. Because it is true. Nothing remains the same. If it will pass then there is no need killing yourself over it.

In this month of April, learn to de- stress and stay healthy.

#Raisinghealthwithpriscillao
#Stressawarenessmonth
#EducationInspiresChange

Is your love compatible? : Know your Genotype before “I do” .

As the most common genetic disorder in Ghana and the world at large, Sickle cell plays a major role in the heath, economy,  and overall life many people and not just persons living with Sickle cell.

Knowing your sickle cell status and that of your partner’s  before the big question and saying “I do” will not only prevent a lot of heart ache buy also protect your future children from the possibility of being affected with sickle cell.

In this season of love, make the choice of including sickle cell in your conversations.

  • Talk about it with your partner/beloved/finance.
  • Go and screen together to know your genotype if you haven’t already.
  • Seek for clarification from a health professional if you do not understand your results.
  • Ask for the Hb Electrophoresis. This test will show you exactly what type you are. Example AA, AS, SC, SS, etc.

Knowing your genotype before marriage or child birth is one of the most responsible decisions you can make as a parent.

Let’s be responsible

The KSS Project

K- know it  early , S – share it early,  S- Stop it early

#sicklecellisreal ,  #sicklecellis100percentpreventable

Avoid these mistakes during valentine’s day: Let’s make it a healthy Valentine.

It’s the Love Season. People are giving love and others receiving love. There are a lot more people who will be feeling like they are not a part of the season. But  that can’t be true if you are alive. You can also show someone love.

In the spirit of celebrating love, there are some actions that bring unhealthy and undesirable consequences that may last through a lifetime. It’s a day of love, let’s live it avoiding these mistakes.

1. Having unprotected sex : Most dates will end up in sexual activities at the end of today. If he or she is not your husband or wife, I would advice you abstain. But if you will engage in it, then better be safe than sorry. Protect yourself, protect your partner.  Use a condom.

2. Hooking up with your Ex : I know valentine’s day can be an emotional time for people especially if you’re single. But making a rush decision to hook up with your Ex can be tricky. Old flames need little to spark up again. Engaging in sex with your Ex might seem familiar to you but remember he/she might not be in the same state of health as when you dated. He/she may have had a couple of relationships. Having sex with this person can lead to getting infected with  HIV or other Sexually transmitted infections. Do not take it for granted just because the two of you used to date. HIV is real, protect yourself.

3. Too much Alcohol intake: The healthy amount of alcohol intake is one bottle for women and at most two for men in a day if you want to drink. Don’t turn this day into a drunken night. There are so many Alcohol related injuries  (road traffic accidents, bar brawls, etc) , rape, diseases etc. Watch what you’re drinking and how much.

4. Indulging in Aphrodisiacs : There is a pool of alcoholic drinks in the market in Ghana. Almost every drink is a sex enhancing bitters. Because of nature of the day, most men will be tempted to drink these beverages to “enhance their potency ” sexually on order to crown their day. But beware of these drinks. Most of these bitters are causing harm to kidneys, the liver, prostate and even impotence. You don’t need them. If you feel there is something wrong, go and get checked at the hospital.

5. Having high expectations : It is always better to expect little and be surprised with much than the other way round. Feelings of disappointment can lead to feelings of depression. Depression can cripple you emotionally, physically, mentally  and even spiritually. Allow yourself room for adjustable expectations. You will be saving your health a great deal.

Enjoy your day thinking about your health.

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It’s Urgent! Sexual health education in our schools now!

Before 2017 ended, December saw two gang rapes that became public knowledge throughout the country. One in Ashanti Region (Bantama-Kumasi) and the other in the Central Region. Both of these unfortunate incidents were by teenage boys in high school both junior and senior high schools.

Aside the high level moral corruption displayed by these boys, and the emotional and physical trauma their act inflicted on their victims (the girls involved), they also showed  clear ignorance on their part with regards to the high exposure to sexually transmitted infections like HIV when they took turns to forcefully have sex with the girl.

1. All the boys involved  did not protect themselves from possible STI that may be from either of them or the victim. Instead they all without wearing Condoms inserted their penises into the victim’s vagina. This act can be the breeding ground for STI transmission among young folks because of the sexually active nature of these boys.

2. The victim did not try to negotiate with them to at least wear  a condom to protect herself from any possible STI. Negotiations in sex is a skill that is taught in sexual health education to enable these young girls to protect themselves. But she clearly lacked the knowledge and skill which endangers her with regards to STI.

3. Teenage pregnancy could become a resultant effect from these acts. Something the boys evidently did not think about hence their neglect of condom use.

The lack Sexual health education in our schools has become a health hazard for the youth and the nation at large. With the increasing numbers of adolescents engaging in early initiation into sex, the unavailability of Sexual health education is not only a great disservice to the young people but the nation at large.

Sexual health education among adolescents should be taken seriously in Ghana to help nurture a  well-informed and well guarded population for a healthy future.

#Sexual health education in our schools now!

Spread the word. Let’s protect our future generation. Let’s protect our future.

Have healthy breasts with these tips.

One of the most visible parts of a woman’s body is her breasts. Not only are the breasts visible, but they provide a sense of womanhood,  enhances her beauty, they serve as a source of pleasure during sexual intimacy and my personal favourite which is that the woman’s breast provides the most healthy form of nutrition for her baby. For these reasons, it is very important for us to take very good care of our breasts.

Ways to Keep your breast healthy! 

  1. Be breast aware:  You need to know your own breasts. Being breast aware means you know everything about your breasts. How it feels, how it looks, the size of both breasts and how it looks. This can only be done if you periodically check and examine your breasts. Breast awareness is very necessary to keeping your breast healthy since you are able to identify early any changes that may occur.  Also being breast awareness means you know about breast cancer and what to look out for with regards to the signs and symptoms.
  2. You need to maintain a healthy weight : Studies have shown that being overweight during adulthood especially after menopause  increases a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. Therefore it is healthier to keep a normal weight as you grow older to reduce your chances of breast cancer.
  3. Exercise! Hit the road with some brisk walking, or skip a rope every now and then. You can also join a gym or try some yoga at home. All these can serve as good exercise that can keep your breast healthy.
  4. No / Less Alcohol intake : Too much Alcohol use can also increase your risk of breast cancer. It us advisable to reduce alcohol use more importantly after menopause.
  5. Know your Family health history: Some cancers have genetic predisposition. Breast cancer is one of such. Which means if a biological family member (eg. Mother, sister, aunt, etc.) has experienced breast cancer, there is an increased risk for you. By knowing this about your family’s medical history you can properly take care of yourself by adopting a healthier lifestyle to prevent it.
  6. Taking oral contraceptives: Some oral contraceptives can increase your risk of acquiring breast cancer.  If you intend to use any, make sure to read about it or ask questions when next you’re at the family planning office.