Free from running for office after winning his second term as President of Ghana in 2020, Nana Akufo Addo has turned his attention to the health needs of the country. After his announcement to build 111 health facilities in the country, the President has turned his attention to the reform of medical education in the country.
According to those close to the President, he will within the coming months, introduce a drastic reform in the health sector.
Like the Colleges of Education, all the Nursing training colleges would be affiliated to the current 5 medical schools in the country, nursing diplomas would be discontinued and those with Nursing Diplomas would be encouraged to upgrade to BSc in Nursing.
As part of the reforms, medical professionals such as nurses, midwives, community nurses, laboratory technicians, physician assistants, dental nurses etc would be able to sit an entrance examination to enter medical school.
Nana Akufo Addo, as part of his health reforms, stated that “medicine would become one of Ghana’s top academic disciplines”.
Thus, to ensure the nation’s 5 medical schools won’t be overwhelmed with the influx of the expected more students, 4 more medical schools would be established in the country. The notion behind training of more doctors is to reduce the ratio from 15,000 per population to 1 doctor to about 5,000 per population to 1 doctor as well as improve the condition of health delivery and service conditions for all medical professionals.
In 2016, when he was running for President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo promised the chiefs and people of the two Upper Regions of Ghana that he would ensure they get University and a first-class teaching hospital that befit the 2 regions and would elevate the status of Wa and Bolgatanga respectively.
In 2018, the President declared the campuses of the University of Development Studies in Wa and Navrongo as autonomous. The Navrongo campus of University of Development Studies was renamed University of Technology and Applied Science. Although the intention was for each of the 10 regions of Ghana at the time to have at least one public University and one Technical University, however the plans for the new University of Technology and Applied Science goes far beyond.
Just under a year after the establishment of the University for Technology and Applied Science in Navrongo, the government of Ghana secured a $20 million concessional funding from Saudi Arabia to expand Bolgatanga Regional Hospital with all the facilities of a Teaching Hospital.
On May 2, 2020, in an interviewed he granted to the media in Bolgatanga, the Vice Chancellor of the newly established University of Technology and Applied Science, Professor Albert Luguterah, with tacit approval from the President, Nana Akufo Addo, stated emphatically that the university would start training doctors, dentists and other health professionals and the elevation of Bolgatanga Regional Hospital into a Teaching Hospital, since all the facilities are already in place after the expansion and modernisation of the hospital.
On July 22, 2020, Nana Akufo Addo cut the sod for the commencement of construction of the new Eastern Regional Teaching Hospital in Koforidua, The Eastern Regional Capital, with secured funding of 70 million Euros from the Standard Chartered Bank, London, United Kingdom.
In an address at the sod cutting ceremony the President, Nana Akufo Addo said, “Once fully completed, Koforidua Hospital would be fitted with the requisite teaching and learning facilities”.
On April 23, 2021, Koforidua Technical University, one of the leading Technical Universities in the country announced that once the Eastern Regional Teaching Hospital in Koforidua is completed, in collaboration with their sister University in the region, the newly established University of Environment and Sustainable Development in Trom-Somanya, would start training doctors and other health professionals in the region.
The broad objectives of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development as follows:
To specialise in the conduct of research knowledge dissemination in the sciences, agro-business and the built environment.
Already Koforidua Technical University’s faculty of Health and Allied Sciences is one of the fastest growing faculties in the country. The Mandate of the Faculty is to provide quality training, research and services in health and related field in Ghana. The School of Medical Sciences would be a multi campus school (this would the first in the country) at both Koforidua Technical University and University of Environment and Sustainable Development, often referred to as the Eastern Regional University.
In addition to the 3 Universities, Nana Akufo Addo, the President of Ghana would give 37 Military Hospital and Police Hospital the requisites added facilities to train doctors and dentists. Already 37 Military Hospital is among the most significant teaching hospitals in the country sponsored by the military. However, the facility would be opened up to train civilian doctors.
Police Hospital would be elevated to a teaching hospital to train both civilian and security agencies doctors and other health professionals.
According to medical professionals that this writer spoke to in Koforidua and Bolgatanga, the establishment of the medical schools would instantaneously elevate the two cities profile and would bring in new investments.
The Universities are led by three of the most distinguished academics in the country.
Professor Albert Luguterah of the University of Technology and Applied Science, is a product of Achimota School, holds PhD from Navrongo campus of UDS, MSc in Statistics from the University of Cape Coast and BSc (Hons) from the University of Ghana.
Before he was appointed the Vice Chancellor of Koforidua Technical University, Professor David Kofi Essuman was the Dean of the School of Physical Sciences of the University of Cape Coast.
Prior to his appointment as Vice Chancellor of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, Professor Eric Nyarko was the Dean, Faculty of Educational Foundations, College of Education Studies, University of Cape Coast.
With all the reforms that his government, the NPP, has undertaken in the country, perhaps the reforms in the health sector would be Nana Akufo Addo’s lasting legacy. Already there is discussion among the New Patriotic Party members about where Nana Akufo Addo would build his Presidential Library. According to those close to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo Presidential Library would be built in the Eastern Region affiliated to the 2 universities in the region, University of Environment and Sustainable Development and Koforidua Technical University.