Accra, Dec 1, GNA- The Senior Minister, Mr Joseph Henry Mensah on Monday applauded Ghanaian health professionals and urged them to place education at the centre of their service.
He observed the rapid growth of population in Kasoa in the Central Region, and other areas, with the consequent creation of slums and attendant overcrowding, threat to the environment, and emergence of diseases, and charged health professionals to team up with other professionals bodies to bring the situation under control.
Mr Mensah made the observation on Wednesday when he deputised for President John Agyekum Kufuor at the opening of the a three-day meeting being the first annual general and scientific one of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS) at the Accra International Conference Centre, Accra.
It is on the theme: "The Changing Patterns of Diseases in Ghana." Mr Mensah said education, health and sustainable development were intrinsically linked and stressed that education was a tool to achieve good health to transform the vision of society into fruitful actions. "It is only healthy people who could transform the visions of society," Mr Mensah observed, and reminded the college that they should continue to give knowledge to save lives, since education was at the core of their mandate.
The first object for establishment of the College is to promote specialist education in medicine, surgery and related disciplines, and currently 51 residents, distributed among 12 disciplines in the medicals are at post.
Mr Mensah spoke of the 2005-2015 years as Sustainable Development Decade, and pledged government's continuous support to the College. The government, he said, would support the construction of the College's Secretariat at Ridge in Accra.
The Rector of the College, Prof. Paul Nyame, in a progress report said 61 residents and 14 others for diploma courses had been initially selected after examinations and interviews for trainees in March and May this year.
He said the trainees were currently stationed at Korle Bu in Accra and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals in Accra.
He explained that the training was started in the teaching hospitals with the aim to inculcate in the trainees the sense of the high standards and practices of post-graduates
It is also to provide easy access to the Applied Basic Sciences lectures that the College had instituted in the two teaching hospitals.
Professor Nyame said the College was in discussion with physicians from the Mayo Clinic; paediatricians from the University of Utah, both in the USA, and other medical specialist associations in Europe to further promote the Continuous Professional Development.
He said the College had also opened channels to the World Gastroenterology Organisation to get an advanced endoscopy (a kind of minor tubular surgery on the stomach through the throat) centre established in Ghana.
There are also indications of support for local postgraduate courses coming from development partners including UK Department for International Development, the Dutch Government, the United Nations Family Planning Agency and the International Organisation for Migration.
Professor Nyame said it was time to review the Ghana Health Service and Teaching Hospitals Act to bring harmony in the health system of Ghana. In a welcome address, Prof Samuel Ofosu-Amaah, President of the College, said the College was open for postgraduate courses to both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians, and added that it was willing to pass on knowledge to improve health service delivery.
He later, in an interview, said emoluments were not the sole aim for the mass exodus of health professionals, but also other working conditions like the lack of equipment and qualified teams to work with. He called for the training of more support staff and the provision of equipment to entice young professionals to stay and work in the country.
Five hundred and sixty foundation members were admitted into the college after they took the admission of oath.