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02.04.2007 General News

Doctors urged to stay at home

By myjoyonline

The Minister of Defence, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, has charged medical practitioners who intend leaving the country to seek greener pastures to reflect on whether they have been a good investment to the Ghanaian taxpayer.

The newly qualified doctor should ask himself or herself whether the country's lowly paid workers, farmers, fisher folks and their families from whose taxes he has been able to acquire quality training as a doctor, will get value for his or her investment. If the answer is no then the Ghanaian taxpayer is getting a raw deal, Dr Addo-Kufuor stressed.

Speaking at a ceremony to induct newly qualified medical and dental practitioners and also to give award to 17 distinguished medical practitioners in Accra, he said an estimated $80,000 was needed to train a doctor from Primary school to the university. He therefore asked the beneficiaries to appreciate it.

Dr Addo-Kufuor, who is a medical practitioner himself observed that there was no way Ghana, a developing country could compete with countries in North America, Europe or the Middle East in terms of remuneration and therefore called on health practitioners to have compassion on their own their own people and remain in the country to work.

The Minister said 2,800 doctors left Ghana between 1969 and 2006 and 11,000 nurses had also left since 1996, in addition to a large number of pharmacists, laboratory technicians and other health professionals.

On industrial actions, the Minister advised that it should be the last resort to seeking redress for problems, and that when it became necessary for such an action to be taken, there should be some skeleton medical staff to man the emergency facilities at the hospitals and also care for seriously ill persons.

Dr Addo-Kufuor said that the government was aware of the challenges facing the Health sector and was therefore making efforts to confront them, but said in spite of those efforts, the sector still faced many difficulties.

He took the opportunity to commend the West Africa Postgraduate College and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons for their roles in the retention of health professionals in the country.

Dr Addo-Kufuor said because of the well-structured programmes of those colleges, about 789 doctors had, as of now, been attracted to stay in Ghana, because there were facilities for them to undertake their specialisation.

The Minister of Health, Courage Quashigah (Rtd), urged the newly registered doctors to learn from the sacrifices their seniors made to serve and do well to continue.

Major Quashigah said it was significant that the two ceremonies were jointly organised so that the young could appreciate how important it was for one to serve his nation diligently.

He reminded the young doctors of how challenging contemporary medical practice had become, especially at a time when patients could question instructions of health workers.

He acknowledged the fact that the health sector had problems, but added that the government had a vision to transform the sector into one which was capable of fulfilling its mandate.

He said it was sometimes disturbing when one considered the position some of the health personnel took when it came to issues with allowances, adding that it was better to dialogue than issue threats or embark on industrial actions which they often resorted to.

The Chairman of the Medical and Dental Council (MDC), Dr K O. Adadey advised the new doctors to avoid dishonesty, pride, lack of passion, lust for money, disregard for the poor among other attitudes, since they constituted a greater percentage of the complaints the Council received about health professionals.

Culled from the Daily Graphic