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02.02.2010 Health

Check reckless use of the title, 'Dr'

By Daily Graphic
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The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has expressed concern over the reckless use of the title "Dr" by some individuals who make dubious claims through medical and drug advertisements.

The association has, therefore, called on the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Medical and Dental Council (MDC), the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) and the National Media Commission (NMC), to work together to enforce laws regulating the use of the title and also ban the unregulated advertisement of medicines and drugs in the print and electronic media.

At its National Executive Council meeting held in Takoradi from January 29 to 31, 2010, the GMA President, Dr Emmanuel Adom A. Winful, said the practice was causing grave health problems and must be stopped.

He called on the general public to be alert and mindful of some of the, false claims contained in some of those advertisements and not fall victim to them.

Dr Winful said the problems emanated from the use of the title and the advertisements which some members of the public usually fall victim to.

He also called on the media to save the country by making sure that the kind of information passing through their mode of transmission would serve the interest of the public.

Some of the advertisements, according to the GMA President, were just to satisfy the profit motive of whoever put them out, not the interest of the public, as the claims were false and dubious.

He pointed out that the GMA acknowledged the fact that the title "Dr" could be used in the field of academia, not for herbalists to become medical doctors just because they had put some herbs together to cure diseases.

"If one uses herbs to cure an ailment, it is fine with the GMA. That person qualifies as a herbalist but not a medical doctor," he stressed.

He said to be a doctor, one had to go through the requisite training and certification and be properly inducted.

He said it was worrying for people providing herbal service to call themselves "Dr", adding that the practice was misleading and unacceptable.

In a statement issued after the NEC meeting, the GMA touched on the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP), saying that it endorsed the decision of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to roll out a public education programme to serve as a means to facilitate the implementation of the policy.

"There is generally limited public education with regard to the SSPP, as a result of which much of the public discourse exposes serious misconceptions and sometimes unrealistic expectations about the SSPP," the GMA stressed.

The association touched on gross distortions in the existing relativities in the health sector in the draft consultant's document on the SSPP which it said had been acknowledged by both the MoH and the Fair Wages Commission and, therefore, needed to be corrected before its implementation.

In addition, the GMA reminded the MoH that it was more than a year since an agreement was signed between the ministry and the association in which the ministry agreed to pay 10 per cent on Call Duty Facilitation Allowance to medical practitioners but the agreement was yet to be fulfilled.

The association, therefore, called on the MoH to provide the Ministry of Finance with all the needed data, as a matter of urgency, to avoid further delay in the implementation of the agreement.

In the statement, the GMA complained about the undue delay in the reconstitution of the dissolved Medical and Dental Council (MDC) and called on the government to reconstitute arid inal1gurate a new council as soon as possible.

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