Two hundred and ninety-seven newly qualified medical doctors and dentists were yesterday inducted at a ceremony in Accra.
The inductees included those who had completed their six and seven-year professional medical and dental programmes from the four medical and dentistry schools in the country, namely the School of Medical and Dentistry of the University of Ghana, the School of Medical and Dentistry of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University for Development Studies, and the School of Medical Sciences of the University of Cape Coast.
Also among the young men and women were those who had graduated from universities outside Ghana, including China, Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.
The happy-looking medical doctors and dentists were joined by their family members, friends and loved ones.
Addressing the ceremony, the Chairman of the Medical and Dental Council, Prof. P. K. Nyame, who administered the Hippocratic Oath to the inductees, said their induction was an injection of human resource into the country’s health system, where the doctor/patient ratio stood at about 1:4,500.
“We are making progress by way of numbers, compared to about 10 years ago which was about 1:10,000,” he said, but added that the current ratio was still far from the WHO recommendation of 1:500.
Nonetheless, Prof. Nyame expressed the hope that stakeholders would work together to achieve the WHO recommendation.
He advised the inductees to be mindful of the ethics of their profession and take keen interest in the well-being of their patients.
Social media influence
Prof. Nyame told the new doctors and dentists that in today’s era of social media where there was unbridled flow of information, the patient should not be made the subject of social gossip, urging that, “information about them must be treated in confidence even when they have died.”
He also advised them to treat their peers and superiors with respect, guard against spreading rumours and making bad reports about one another for personal gains.
“All these must tell you that the oath is meant to be a solemn oath and must be treated with the respect it deserves throughout your professional lives.
“It has opened the doors into an old, noble and learned profession, whose traditions are guarded jealously, and the penalties for violations can be severe,” Prof. Nyame cautioned.
The Medical and Dental Council chairman expressed worry about the road carnage in the country, where, he said, over 2,000 lives were lost yearly through road accidents and 10,000 suffered permanent disabilities.
“Sixty per cent of crash victims are in the productive age group, with 70 per cent being male,” he added, and called for a national action to address the problem.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said as part of measures to motivate health professionals, the ministry currently had codified conditions of service, with rural incentives being an integral part.
“We will continue to engage with stakeholders on how to better care for our health professionals and how collectively we can make our health system more responsive to our needs as a people,” he said.