Professor Mike Ocquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, has advised medical practitioners to live by the tenets of the Physician’s Oath, also called the ‘Hippocratic Oath,’ which enjoins them to be dedicated to the service of humanity.
Prof. Ocquaye gave the advice on Friday when he chaired the induction ceremony, organised by the Ghana Medical and Dental Council (MDC) for 180 newly qualified medical practitioners in Accra.
He warned the newly inducted practitioners to be conscious of their actions and inactions as they could lead to irreversible consequences on human life, and urged them to value the Oath to enable them to deliver to the satisfaction of society.
Prof. Ocquaye narrated the history of how medical education started in Ghana, applauding how the percentage of females had appreciated from just one percent to the nearly 40 per cent currently.
He, however said there was still more to be done to balance the ratio to bring their numbers at par with their male counterparts.
He said Ghana’s successes in training quality medical and dental practitioners and other health professionals had earned her great admiration and commendation at the Commonwealth level, and challenged the MDC to guard these achievements to maintain the set standards.
Prof. Ocquaye reminded the newly trained doctors on the need to be committed to their jobs and urged them to be responsible, diligent, and ensure team work in the face of limited resources.
“You must also respect the dignity of your patients and eschew any form of professional malpractices that could bring shame or bring the name of your profession into disrepute,” he said.
Dr Eli Kwasi Atikpui, the Registrar of the MDC, conducted the roll-call of the inductees who were from the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the University of Development Studies-Tamale, as well as other foreign trained doctors who sat and passed the Council’s exams.
He congratulated them for their hard work and successes as well as their parents, guardians and the various faculties for their sustained investments in them.
Dr Atikpui read the responsibilities of a doctor registered with the MDC, which included building trust with patients, making their care a priority and respecting their rights, and maintaining high levels of integrity.
He said each doctor would be accountable for his or her professional practice and must always be prepared to justify the decisions and actions taken.
Mr Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, the Deputy Minister of Health, in his keynote address, urged other young doctors yet to be inducted, not to see the ceremony as a mere ritual, but a time for sober reflection on the health sector and to find ways to address its numerous challenges.
He congratulated the professionals for the hard work and urged them to be guided by the principles of their noble profession as they contributed their quota to accelerate the development of the country.
Ghana’s health sector, he said, was currently plagued with several challenges ranging from limited logistics to scarce resource, rising burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases, road traffic crushes, as well as negative lifestyle practices weighing heavily on its professionals.
Mr Aboagye Gyedu said although government had invested much into addressing some of the challenges including the provision of improved accommodation for House Officers in the rural areas, there were still gaps.
He urged the doctors to look beyond their comfort zones to serve in rural communities where their services were most needed, to help address the bridge the rural urban gap.
He raised concerns about the brain drain of medical and other health professionals but indicated that there had been a slight reduction in the numbers since the inception of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and commended those efforts.
He said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo welcomed competency as a major hallmark for improved national development, and encouraged health care professionals to use dialogue rather than industrial actions to address their grievances.
Prof. Emmanuel Quaye Archampong, a Renowned Surgeon, later led the inductees to swear the ‘Hippocratic Oath’ and reminded them of its sacredness.