President John Agyekum Kufuor has urged the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) to be guided by the Hippocratic Oath sworn by it members and provide medical care to the people in a humane manner.
"It is the unalloyed commitment to this noble oath that will enable doctors to maintain the special place of honour that they enjoy in society," he said, when he addressed the 50th annual general conference of the Association in Accra on Wednesday.
"[email protected], Ghana's Health" is the theme of the conference, which climaxed activities lined up to celebrate the half-a-century of its formation.
President Kufuor reminded them that even as they showed faith and commitment to respecting negotiated settlements on salaries and allowances, they should never allow suspicion to get the better of the humanitarian considerations for the society, generally.
On its part, the Government would ensure continued good faith and support at all times.
He therefore encouraged the medical personnel to look forward as the country's first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah envisaged, "to a future devoid of chronic industrial tension".
The president acknowledged that judged by conditions of service prevailing in some endowed economies Ghana's doctors might find their earnings inadequate.
President Kufuor said they should, however, appreciate the Government's efforts at improving their situation within the constraints of the national economy and bear with it.
He spoke of the heavy investments being made to raise the quality of infrastructure and resources for health care delivery and pointed to "human resource shortages that continue to plague the health sector", as a major constraint.
President Kufuor noted the acute disparity in doctor-patient ratio and said this was being further compounded by the refusal of many of the qualified personnel to accept to be posted to some areas.
"Obviously, appealing to the conscience of most of our medical professionals to accept postings to rural areas is not working."
Strategies the Government was trying to launch to address this included differentiated salaries and allowances for doctors and other health professionals to attract them to those deprived parts of the country.
President Kufuor called on doctors, as "opinion leaders with moral authority", to add their voices to calls for good conduct by all stakeholders, before, during and after the December 7 elections, to guarantee credible and acceptable elections across board.
Ghana, he said, was on the threshold of a new era of transformation and accelerated development and therefore nothing should be allowed to compromise the bright future that was beckoning.
Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, asked the doctors to continue to support the justice system by answering promptly to court summons to avail them of expert opinion in the determination of certain cases.
She said they understood their unhappiness with the court system especially, when cases kept being adjourned and said this was being addressed.
Major Courage Quashigah (retired), the Health Minister, said it was time the GMA shifted into gear to ensure a healthy population that would contribute to national development.
He suggested to them to come out with small pamphlets on vital organs of the body in simple language and what could be done to prevent diseases.
Dr Adom Winful, President of the GMA, noted that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) had expanded access to health care by Ghanaians and asked that all implementation problems should be addressed to sustain the scheme.