Kumasi, Dec. 5, GNA - Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health, has said that the brain drain of medical professionals and other key health workers was a major challenge to the effective implementation and sustainability of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). He noted that it was time that the services of newly trained doctors were fully tapped for quality services to ensure the success of the scheme.
Dr Afriyie said this in a speech read for him at the 11th oath swearing of 119 graduate doctors of the School of Medical Sciences (SMS) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the University of Development Studies (UDS) of Tamale, in Kumasi. He said the government considered the vital role of doctors as an important and critical resource for improving health care services, and had resolved to continue to enhance conditions of service of doctors.
Dr Afriyie also said the government had initiated measures aimed at improving the condition of health personnel, including reviewing salaries upwards, introducing a housing scheme, instituting a revolving fund and payment of duty allowances to motivate them to work harder. The Minister expressed dissatisfaction that some health professionals refused postings to the rural areas, and asked the newly trained doctors to accept postings to those areas.
Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, announced that the SMS had commissioned two computer laboratories, stocked with 40 computers, while the GETFUND hostel at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and the Juabeng hostel were almost completed.
He the lack of adequate staff, equipment and infrastructure facilities were the major problems facing the University, and expressed the hope they would be addressed to enable the educational institution increase intake.
The Vice-Chancellor congratulated the newly trained doctors for their achievement and urged them to accept to work in the deprived communities.
Professor P.K. Nyame, Chairman of the Medical and Dental Council, who administered the oath to the doctors, asked them to study the law regulating the profession well, the professional conduct and ethics and the medical and dental council's constitution and functions, to help them discharge their duties.
He warned them against amassing wealth by setting up of unauthorized clinics of questionable standards, sending patients at the public hospitals to private health centres, and the application of unethical procedures.
Prof Nyame said: "Such practices will dent your image in the eyes of the public and your standing with your peers. What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul".
Prof E. Tsiri Agbenyega, Dean of the SMS, said since the inception of the University in 1975, a total of 881 doctors had been trained. He suggested that measures, including better remuneration, improvement of the health facilities, provision of facilities for post graduate education for doctors, bonding of doctors, should be instituted to check the brain drain of medical personnel.
Dr Dorcas Odei, a 27-year graduate, was adjudged the overall best doctor, and was presented with five prizes including the Dr Addo Kufuor's prize for the best student in medicine and Dr J.W. Acheampong prize for the best student in junior and senior clerkship in medicine.