The Ghana Association of Doctors in Residency (GADOR) has appealed to the University of Ghana (UG) to reduce its ethical clearance charges for research to encourage more resident doctors to undertake research works.
According to its President, Dr Solomon Nii-Kotey Kotey, resident doctors at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, which is affiliated to the UG, were required to pay the cedi equivalence of $500 as ethical clearance for every research conducted.
He argued that the policy was to blame for the non-willingness of most studying doctors to undertake research projects, and cautioned that if the current demand was not reviewed, the level of research in the health sector would reduce drastically to the detriment of the state.
Dr Kotey made the appeal at the second Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the GADOR in Accra last Saturday.
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“Elsewhere, doctors are paid good money for them to conduct research to enhance healthcare. The situation is different in our part of the world.
Meanwhile, there are myriads of problems in the health sector that require research to generate workable solutions,” he stated.
For instance, Dr Kotey mentioned inadequate beds in the country’s hospitals as a major hindrance to quality healthcare and stated that “research into the problem can help us identify innovative ways of admitting patients.
However, only few doctors will be willing to sacrifice more than half of their scanty salary to obtain approval to undertake such projects.”
The Harvard Medical School describes resident doctors as persons who have graduated from a Medical School, been awarded a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and are now training to be a particular type of (specialist) doctor.
All residents are supervised by a legally responsible senior physician.
According to Dr Kotey, there are about 600 resident doctors in the country currently.
Other panellists who spoke at a symposium on the theme “Research in residency: opportunities for improvement in healthcare”
urged resident doctors to undertake regular research in their quest to become specialists in their respective fields.
Referring to resident doctors as the future of medical practice in the country, they emphasised that the present knowledge in the health sector was inadequate, hence the need for them to strive to contribute to knowledge as part of their clinical duties.
The panellists included a senior Cardiologist at the Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Professor Mark Tettey, a senior lecturer at the UG Depart of Biostatistics and Department of Community Health, Prof. Alfred E. Yawson, and a Gynaecology and Obstetrics Specialist, Dr Titus Beyuo.
Prof. Tettey asked residents to disregard the notion that research was a difficult venture and advised them to identify some mentors in the medical profession who had excelled in their fields of interest to guide them.
“Always think that there is a better way of doing something. You should have that critical mind-set to be ready to do something new for your patients. That is the surest way to make an impact in the profession,” he stated.
For his part, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf, gave an assurance that “the wealth of knowledge gained from your efforts will not gather dust on the shelf but will be translated into policies.”