When Dr Gyedaare wanted to be an MP, the pirots never got tired of trumpeting that his services were much needed in the hospital. They lamented how they lacked enough doctors and how he was their darling doctor and so they would prefer him at the hospital than parliament. He became unsuccesful in his parliamentary bid. Dr Gyedaare is still a practicing doctor but he is no more in the region and we still lack doctors.
Fast forward, another young medical doctor has find his way into politics and the parrots have woven their nest around his name again. They say, he has also taken the wrong decision and so they want him back in their hospital consulting room. There is one thing I can assure these parrots, they can bring Dr Saandare down as their MP but they cannot force him into their consulting rooms. It is an open secret that the parots want to replace him with one of them. To them, politics is not for fine brains–it is for noise makers like them.
Just some days ago, the CEO of Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) was booted out from his office and the office locked, not by doctors, nurses or other health personnels but by political elements. What it means is that, the teaching hospital can have the most competent and dedicated doctors and surgeons, but they cannot function to their maximum capacity. Some patients will die in TTH not because the doctors cannot save them but because they do not have management who will provide them with what to work with. That management is appionted and fired by government, headed by politicians–I am telling you what it is, and not what is supposed to be. The doctors have the skill and knowlege but they need tools to work with. They need hospitals to work in. These tools and hospitals are provided by government, and government is headed by politicians. So if you tell the doctor to stay in the consulting room, he will stay alright, but you will still die a preventable death because that politician is inactive or incompetent. The pricking truth is that, the politicians rather have your health in their hands. They are better placed to contribute more to your health. Do not forget the health policy and even your NHIS policy are all fasioned by politicians. So if you think doctors who have immerse knowledge in health should not be given the opportunity to determine how your hospitals should operate, which services and drugs your health insurance should cover, and where and how to build your teaching hospitals to train doctors, then your brain might be completely rotten.
If we are serious people as a region, and we think we really need medical doctors, then we need to encourage more of our medical doctors to enter politics. We do not lack doctors because our doctors are in politics, we lack doctors because our doctors are not in politics. why am I saying this? The DCEs and MPs who do not know anything about the medical profession think that people are born medical doctors. You go through a long, strenous,and extremely expensive training process to become a medical doctor. The sad reality is that, just very few from our region can afford the medical school. The many Upper Westeners in the medical school are there because of some other people who are not even from Upper West or families that have used their last straw, as in finances, to get their wards in there. These people are investing all that they have gained in their life time to get these people pass out as medical doctors. You expect such people to become doctors only to disregard juicy employment options that can help them plough back these dissipated family resources, and come to serve Upper West because he is from there? What our districts political heads do not know is that, if they want doctors, they need to pick some few brilliant students and aide them to get the medical school(note:medical school is no more about grades), finance their training and bond them by contract to work in the district after completion. Such doctors can work in the district for God knows how long they will be alive. If every district is able to send just 5 students through this process, trust me Upper West will never lack medical doctors.
The reality is, the southeners are relatively richer than us, so many parents are able to afford the training. Even with that, their districts still sponsor medical students. Our districts do not. You need a medical doctor as DCE to know that sending some students or nurses to be train as doctors will not just give the district medical doctors, but it will also liberate families and communities of poverty. Such a DCE or MP will know that donating monies at funerals will only give political capital, it will not improve health or develop the human capital base. I could remember, when i completed SHS and I wanted to go to the medical school, all the people that were in a position to help, told me to go to teacher training college because my parents are poor–that I could get allowance to supplement my parents support. It took the intervention of some other people outside my region to get me to where I am. But I know when I comeplete my training and become a doctor, someone will tell me to come to my region to serve. Who should toil to make you a doctor for some other people to enjoy your services. Things just do not happen. If we really need medical doctors, then we need to get serious as a district and as a region. Lack of medical doctors in our region is a result of lack of political will in our districts. So if a medical doctor is venturing into politics, he needs to be encouraged. lets encourage Dr Sadaare so he can take us from this our miserable state. Ghana is in this sorry state because we do not allow our fine brains to take the mantle of leadership. our brain motivates our actions,so if we think we have weak, corrupted and incompetent leaders, it is because we allow weak,corrupted and incompetent brains to be our leaders. Dr Saandaare is heaven sent. Such a fine brain representing Daffiama Issa Bussie, a young district that need to aggressively stand on nothing, is a plus.
The writer is a 5th year Doctor of Optometry Student at University of Cape Coast.
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