President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has advised newly qualified doctors to accept postings to all parts of the country to help deliver quality health care to the people, especially, those in rural communities.
He said by doing that, they would be emulating the examples of some illustrious Ghanaian doctors such as Dr Emmanuel Evans-Anfom, who the President said accepted postings to any part of the country without protestations.
He said the centenarian considered every part of the country as not too deprived or too far and worked in almost all the regions in Ghana where his services were most needed, even at a time the country was not as developed as today.
President Akufo-Addo gave the advice during the induction of 378 medical doctors and dentists in Accra yesterday. The ceremony, which was organised by the Medical and Dental Council, was also used to honour Dr Evans-Anfom, who qualified as a medical doctor in 1947 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, and came back to Ghana to serve in various capacities.
The President acknowledged the challenges in working in rural communities where there are no adequate facilities and infrastructure, but said the government was determined to address the situation to make it comfortable for qualified professionals, including doctors, to operate in those communities for accelerated development.
He also noted that even though medical schools in the country had good reputations and were producing worthy doctors and dentists, the doctor and dentist population ratio in Ghana remained unsatisfactory after 62 years.
Currently, 52 per cent of doctors in the country are based in the Greater Accra Region, while 18 per cent are stationed in the Ashanti Region.
President Akufo-Addo further observed that expertise in the various regions and districts were lacking, especially, in the newly created regions and districts, and therefore, urged the new doctors to follow the exemplary life of Dr Evans-Anfom and serve in those areas.
He gave an assurance that the government would continue to improve access to quality health services in the country through the provision of infrastructure, equipment and logistics, including the deployment of appropriate technology to attain a universal health coverage.
President Akufo-Addo also announced that the first batch of 48 ambulances out of 300 procured by the government under a One Constituency, One Ambulance policy, for distribution to all 275 constituencies in the country, had arrived.
The President said increasing reported cases by the media of negligence, poor treatment of patients, health insurance fraud, indiscipline, improper conduct and unethical behaviour by some doctors, dentists, physician assistants, nurses and pharmacists were unacceptable.
He said as professionals who had committed themselves to serve the people in their most vulnerable moments, they were expected to abide by their code of ethics that enjoined them to uphold high professional standards in their duties.
Reminiscing his days in the medical school, Dr Evans-Anfom said upon completion of their training in the UK in 1947, they were in a hurry to come back to Ghana to serve their country and help provide quality health care to the people.
He, however, observed that medical doctors of today were rather in a hurry to run out of Ghana after they had been trained with the taxpayers’ money, saying very few of the newly trained doctors would be patriotic enough to stay in Ghana after 10 years.
Dr Evans-Anfom also advised the doctors to readily accept posting to rural areas where they would appreciate the difficult task ahead of them, adding “when you come to work with the aim of making money, money will run away from you but if you do well, money will chase you.”