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28.05.2004 Health

Sod-cutting for School of Allied Health

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Accra, May 28, GNA - The sod was cut on Friday for the construction of a 60 billion cedi academic and administrative block for the School of Allied Health and Sciences of the University of Ghana, Legon. The facility would provide medical education and produce high calibre scientists for health institutions in the country.

It would accommodate 13 departments relevant to health care including physiotherapy, dietetics, radiography, diagnostic radiography, medical laboratory science, occupational therapy, dental technology, medical physics, orthopaedic technology and speech therapy. Nana Wereko Ampem II, Chancellor of the University, who cut the sod together with the Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Afriyie and the Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Seth Ayettey, said the construction was in response to the Minister of Health's request that the University should provide adequate supporting medical staff in all areas of health care.

The building, which is jointly funded by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, was started with seed money of two billion cedis from the Ministry of Health and another two billion cedis from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).

Nana Ampem noted that the University was determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past which had led to the establishment of the Ghana Medical School which being housed in a temporary makeshift buildings at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital after 42 years of its establishment while the large area earmarked for the medical complex at Legon remained largely underdeveloped.

He appealed to the two Ministers to ensure that the building was completed on time adding, "by this I mean two or at most three years and not over 20 years like the Chemistry Department of the University". Nana Ampem II expressed concern about the absence of a School of Pharmacy for both the College and the University and tasked the College Academic Board and the Council to make appropriate recommendations for consideration.

Professor Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Vice Chancellor of the University, said it was unfortunate that the Medical School was being housed at separate sites though the University had only been able to use only one-third of its land and urged the Dental and Medical School to join the family.

Professor Ayettey noted that medical care could never be complete without the medical technologists, radiographers, physiotherapists, dieticians' occupational therapists and the radiotherapists whose role in the care of patients was invaluable.

He said the building when completed, would admit 30 or more students after Level 100 from Biological Sciences.

"There will also be the opportunity for academic staff to do research as part of their work and staff of the school could also use the facilities for their postgraduate training."

Prof Ayettey appealed to the two Ministers to also provide funds for scholarships for graduate studies of staff that would be recruited. Dr Afriyie said there were only 62 Medical Laboratory Technologists out of the 1,000 needed, 10 radiographers for the whole country, with most of them nearing their retiring age.

He said the World Health Organisation's ratio of radiographer per population was 1:25,000 but Ghana had a ratio of 1:1,500,000.

"In the area of physiotherapy, the ratio is 1:1,000,000 and for dietetics, the situation is much worse with a ratio of 1:2,000,000" He pledged the Ministry's support in ensuring the early completion of the building to solve the problem of shortage of health personnel in the country. 28 May 04

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