There are only 15 resident neurosurgeons; medical specialists who treat diseases and conditions affecting the nervous system and brain, in the country.

Dr Kafui Tamakloe, a medical specialist in the treatment of conditions affecting the brain, the spine and spinal cord, and the peripheral nerves, at the Cocoa Clinic in Accra, said the number of neurosurgeons is inadequate to meet the increasing need of the specialty.

He disclosed this at a health talk on the theme: ‘What You Need To Know About Spinal Problems’ organised by the Editors’ Forum Ghana (EFG) to commemorate their 10th anniversary.

Dr Tamakloe, explaining the issue of the inadequate number of health practitioners particularly neurosurgeons, stated that the long training period could be a reason why there are very few studying neurosurgery.

He indicated that in his case after medical school, he spent five extra years to study neurosurgery in Ghana and seven in the United States.

“Considering the difficulty in studying neurosurgery, the duration of studies, and cost of becoming a neurosurgeon, a lot of work needs to be done to motivate the youth to study neurosurgery,” he said.

Taking participants through his presentation on spinal problems, Dr Tamakloe said it was important for Ghanaians to adopt good posture, dieting and exercise to prevent spinal problems.

“More than 80 percent of health problems treated in the neurosurgical units are spine cases or degenerative disease,” he said.

Dr Tamakloe mentioned that the lack of vitamins in the body, wrong posture in sitting, walking, standing and lying down and the body mechanism can cause spinal problems.

He also mentioned that the wearing of high heels makes a woman look good, however, women must be aware of its implications, as it alters the spines natural alignment

Dr Tamakloe said the degenerative condition of the spine is slow growing, accumulates over time, and activity dependent, however, “it is not age specific so a young person can suffer the condition whereas an older person would not.”

“The surgery to treat the spine problem is extremely expensive although it does not reverse the damages that have been done so the public must be aware of the preventive measures and follow them,” he explained.

Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, chairperson of the EFG, giving the opening remarks, stated that organising such events was common to the group.

“Looking at the current media scene, it is only the Editors’ Forum that organises such talks to educate the media and the public,” she said.

She observed that over the years, the forum which provides the platform for peer review as well as sharing best practice had held many talks on topical issues of national concern.

Commenting on the topic for the day, Ms Yeboah-Afari said, “Spinal problems are increasing in the country, and the fact that there are only 15 neurosurgeons in the country is alarming. The general public must be made aware of the situation.”

She also acknowledged the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Skuup, the Accra Brewery and the EFG members for their support throughout the years.