PARAMEDICAL SCIENCES AND SERVICES: THE NEED TO DEVELOP EFFECTIVE SYSTEMS IN AFRICA
Owolabi Joshua O.* and Tijani Ahmad A.
A paramedic is basically described as a health professional who provides rapid response, emergency medical assessment, treatment and care in the out-of-hospital environment. Typically, this individual works with the medical professional to provide pre-hospital services, supportive hospital services and post-hospital management and supportive care services. The need for paramedical services need not be debated again on the African continent. It is part of the biggest challenges of the health systems of many African countries. The fact that there is no system that takes care of health services prior the hospital services - aside from the traditional public health system - is a bane of development not only to the health care industry but the nations generally. Interestingly, definitions for paramedical sciences and services in many quarters are absurdly relative, with many seeing paramedical services as merely other health care services other than the one provided by the doctor or medic. This erroneous, yet, popular impression might have affected the making, interpretation and implementation of policies. This article is a concise review of the Nigeria scenarios as a representation of the African experience to a large extent, objective comparison of these scenarios to the rest of the world and a strategic proposition of the systemic structure to ensure a more dynamic and effective health care system as a whole. A strong informed case is being made for Nigeria and Africa to establish a functional and ideal paramedical system. African Nations and health systems can leverage on the abundant availability of medical scientists in fields such as Anatomy and Physiology to provide services upon successful paramedical training and certifications.[Full Text Article]