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Ghana Post Digital Address: GA-018-1233

Pain; the bane of mankind

Speaker – Professor Gladys Amponsah, FGA


Prof Gladys Amponsah, FGA attended Aburi Girls’ Secondary School in the Eastern Region and pursued a course in medicine graduating in June 1972 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) degree. After 1 year internship, she spent another year as a medical officer in the Department of Anaesthesia, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. She received a British Council scholarship to do a postgraduate course in anaesthesia at the University of Liverpool in August 1974. Prof. Amponsah obtained the Fellowship of the Faculty of Anaesthesia, Royal College of Surgeons, (FFARCS) in July 1977.

She joined the newly established University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences (UCCSMS) in November 2009 and became the Vice Dean and Acting Dean of the school before returning to Accra in November 2015 after the graduation of the first three batches of medical students.

Prof Gladys Amponsah, FGA is a Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, (England), Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons, and a Foundation Fellow of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is also a member of professional associations such as the Ghana Anaesthetists Society.

Synopsis of Lecture

Every human being will experience pain of one kind or the other during their life time. Some may experience pain on the day of birth and some on the day of death. Hence the title of the lecture Pain the bane of mankind. Pain brings patients to health facilities.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defined pain in 1979, which has since been modified. Pain pathway from the periphery to the brain which results in the pain perception is traced. Pain perception is highly subjective and is modified by factors such as age, sex, previous experience and cultural factors. Even though pain is what the individual says he/she has, objective methods for pain assessment even in neonates have been developed for clinical practice.

Pain classification based on the following is described:  origin of the pain, duration of the pain and nature / description of the pain. The management of pain is discussed using the acronym WHO: why, how and outcome of management of pain. The management of acute and chronic pain is discussed. The various drugs, opioids, non-opioids, local anaesthetics agents; various methods or routes of administration of the drugs such as parenteral, oral, rectal and intrathecal routes are discussed.

Pain medication cannot be discussed without mentioning the epidemic of opioid addiction, which has claimed more lives than perhaps the current COVID-19 pandemic.    

The multidisciplinary approach for the management of chronic pain is discussed under another acronym BOSORIT. The role of pain clinic is discussed. The pain clinic in Walton Centre, Liverpool is singled out for mention because of its pioneering role in pain management and also its impact on the author.

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