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Private medical education, a good complement

BY: Daily Graphic
Founder/President of the Family Health Medical School, Professor Enyonam Yao Kwawukume
Founder/President of the Family Health Medical School, Professor Enyonam Yao Kwawukume

Doctors constitute a critical component of any high-performing healthcare system.

Over the years, the demand for more doctors in the country, especially in under-served communities, has been hampered by the limited enrolment in the limited  number of medical schools, a development that can cut back efforts at achieving the goals of Universal Health Coverage.

Although the critical need for doctors has driven successive governments to empower public medical schools to increase enrolment and drive improvement in the quality of training, that has not been enough.

Consequently, every year, many qualified students are denied admission to medical school because the public medical schools are overstretched and unable to cope with the numbers, giving the students no option but to branch into other programmes of study in the universities or travel outside the country to pursue further education.

This is where the Daily Graphic believes the private medical schools come in handy. 

Although private medical education in the country does not have a long history, the potential for growth and possibly to complement the public medical schools cannot be overemphasised .

On Thursday,  December 9, 2021, Ghana's premier private medical school, the Family Health Medical School in Accra, demonstrated yet again the benefits private medical education has for the nation if private medical schools are given the needed support.

At the second congregation of the Family Health Medical School in Accra, 47 newly trained doctors passed out, bringing the number of doctors trained at the school to 77.

To set up a private medical school in a developing country such as Ghana comes with a heavy burden.

Nevertheless, the Founder/President of the Family Health Medical School, Professor Enyonam Yao Kwawukume, and his group have braved the odds and today they have a thriving private medical school which is supporting Ghana's health delivery.

It is a big plus for Prof. Kwawukume, a past chairman of the West  African College of Surgeons, who is recognised as the first in the world to perform bloodless myomectomy at Caesarean Section with a tourniquet.

Since its establishment in 2015, the Family Health Medical School, which is the medical wing of the Family Health University College and teaching arm of the Family Health Specialist Hospital, has been  working either alone or with its foreign partners to produce doctors to serve their nation.

It is the only private medical school with a mortuary and a hospital that provides specialist care.

The hospital does all kinds of operations and also has an intensive care unit.

The premier private medical school is showing that given the needed support, private medical schools can support the health delivery system by training more doctors to serve the people.

With the government encouraging the private sector to take centre stage in national development, the Daily Graphic believes that it will not be out of place if some measure of support is extended to the Family Health Medical School and the likes to do more.

The support could come in the form of teaching and learning tools and sponsorship in the form of subsidy for some financially needy students.

If the government does that, the private medical schools will be able to enrol more students.

Again, the funds that the government uses as bursary for students to train outside can be given to private medical schools to train the students locally, which will be at a reduced cost, without compromising quality.