Productive human capital in Ghana

BY: Anis Haffar
A section of the medical students
A section of the medical students

Though Ghana has enormous natural resource potential, the irony is that the country has not been able to sustainably develop because of the weak capacity of her human resource.

 The only way to reverse the trend was for the country to invest in the human resource with commitment, the right education through innovation and technology to make the best use of the nation’s natural resources.

World Bank Report

The World Bank official for Ghana, Dr Antonio Guiffrida, making his presentation on “Poor education to affect Ghana’s human capital” (Ghana Web, Nov. 6, 2018), noted that about 56 per cent of Ghana’s human capital would go waste in the next 18 years because of the poor quality of the country’s education system.

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The latest Human Capital Index (HCI) report by the World Bank showed that the poor quality of education would translate into lack of capacity to support sustainable national development.

He said, “The reality is that the education in Ghana is not of good quality, some children do not go to school at all, others go to school but do not complete, while others are malnourished and cannot fully attain their potential.”

The HCI showed that 19 out of 100 children were stunted and so were at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that could last a lifetime.

About half of the children who are in school today are not being taught properly because of teacher absenteeism and idleness on the part of teachers during productive hours.

He stressed that the way forward to improving education and the country’s HCI ranking was to invest in quality education.

And to think talents and possibilities abound in the country!

Accra College of Medicine

The first matriculation ceremony of the Accra College of Medicine (ACM) was in April 2016, at the premises at Adjirigarno, Accra.

The college’s mission was defined by Dr (Mrs) Afua Hesse as follows: “Our passion is to produce medical doctors who will see themselves as taking part in a crusade: the crusade against disease, poverty, ignorance, underdevelopment and mediocrity, making full use of innovative science and technology.”

The fourth matriculation on November 3, 2018 saw the induction of the fourth batch of freshers at different levels, the largest intake to date.

In her remarks, Dr Hesse said, “Excellence is an attitude you have to acquire and cultivate. It means you need to be working constantly from the first day.

The Bible aptly compares industry to the work of the ant. Much despised and seen as a nuisance, the ant is a strong insect, able to carry around more than eight times its weight.

It works as long as it is able to with dedication and commitment. That small insect is capable of great architectural feats. Have you seen an anthill? Think about it.

The ant “works and labours for the common good to ensure the continuation of its species. It does not stop, neither is it deterred by changes in weather or food availability.

“It just perseveres and goes further afield for the best for its race.”

She advised the medical students to know the course portfolios well enough, to make time to read each course objective and the specific lecture topics before the lecture, and to read the lecture notes.

She advised the medical students to remember that “the lecturer has just enough time to give about 50 per cent of what you need to know about each topic, so make the time to read around the topic to discover the other half”.

Doctors with heart power

Dr Hesse noted that: “Excellence means making use of all the hours God has given us in a day, not procrastinating, as you cannot do last minute cramming in medicine as you could perhaps do in an Arts course, as there is so much material to imbibe and assimilate so you can apply them.”

In knowing that someone’s life will be in your hands, she said, “You owe them an absolute duty of care and can mean life or death to them, should you not then be giving your best at all times? Study groups are crucial for all of you.

“I will keep repeating it all the time. You will be amazed at how much you will benefit no matter if you started off stronger or weaker.”

Dr Hesse noted that at ACM, “we are developing the whole you, not just pumping you full of medical terms and knowledge.

“We are training you to develop as entrepreneurs so you will definitely not join the Association of Unemployed Graduates but will look to set yourselves up in successful group practice.

You will become great communicators with your patients in virtually any Ghanaian language and French seeing as we are surrounded by French-speaking countries of Togo to the East, Burkina Faso to the North and Cote d’Ivoire to the West.”

In speaking to those who had started the clinical years, she said, “Remember your learning is your responsibility and no one else’s. Faculty is there to guide you.

“Remember medicine is about compassion, empathy, listening, communicating, leadership skills; in short “Heart power”. Stay humble.

There is no room for airs.

Your patients can teach you so much! Remember everyone ends up four feet or six feet under, but ensure that you are not the reason why someone’s life ends before their time.

You are called to give life and hope so remember your maker at all times.