The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu has appealed to newly inducted medical and dental practitioners to endeavor to develop interest to work in rural areas as people in those areas lacked adequate healthcare.
It is estimated that 52 percent of all doctors are in the Greater Accra Region and increases to 78 percent when the Ashanti, Eastern and Central Regions are added.
That means only 25 percent of them work in the other regions especially, in Northern Ghana, he said.
The Minister said this in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Deputy Minister, Alex Kom Abban at a ceremony held in Accra on Thursday to induct 164 Physicians and 26 Dentists, who had successfully completed all academic and field requirements from the University of Ghana Medical and Dental Schools into the Medical and Dental Council.
The induction gave practitioners an opportunity to be registered as qualified and certified practitioners to be able to work at any health facility in the country.
The inductees swore the “Hippocratic Oath”, which charged them to prioritise the health and wellbeing of all patients at all times, and the “National Pledge.”
Mr Manu said statistics, had shown that between 1960 and 2017, about 4000 doctors moved to the developed worlds, and 20,000 nurses also left the country since 1996.
It is estimated that 1500 Ghanaian doctors were working in New York City alone, he said, adding that it was sad to train people with skills and subsequently lose them to brain-drain.
Statistics has indicated that it costs about 100,000 dollars to train a doctor in Ghana, the Minister said.
“One of the best helps you can give as a human is to offer sacrifice to someone who can never be able to repay you. Just keep this in mind and you will develop passion to work in rural communities,” he told the inductees.
The Minister urged District Assemblies to sponsor students in the Medical and Dental Schools to enable them to serve the districts after completion.
Professor Paul Kwame Nyame, the Chairman of the Board of the Ninth Council, Medical and Dental Council, advised the inductees to always equip themselves with knowledge to be able to understand the conditions of their patients to attend to them.
“Take cue from the temptation of Jesus Christ and desist from taking any form of payment that is meant to let you go against your ethics. Don’t administer illegal or hard drugs for patients who request for them with huge sums of money. Let professionalism and ethics lead you and money will follow,” he advised.
He advised them not to be reluctant in consulting the Council or their Superiors for assistance whenever they came across a case that was beyond their control.
Prof. Nyame appealed to the Ministry of Health to help to relocate the Council from its office to a better place.
Professor Adu Gyamfi, a Professor of Medicine and the Board Chair of National Health Insurance Authority, urged the inductees to remember their core mandate of saving lives, adding that, they should not be in a haste to embark on strike.
He urged them to apply the principle of justice by treating all patients equally and respecting their consents especially with regard to care and prescriptions they would administer to them.
“Learn to use your IQ and allow your emotions to work sometimes when dealing with patients to enable you to deal with them better. Remember that you were humans before becoming doctors,” he added.
The Medical and Dental Council charges doctors to make the care of patients their first concern by protecting and promoting their health.
It also mandates them to treat patients as individuals and respect their dignity, and as well work with them by listening and responding to their concerns and preferences.
Practitioners are also expected to respect patients' rights to reach decisions with them about their treatment and care, as they act in honesty with integrity.