The Chair of the African Partners Foundation, Dr Michael Opong-Kusi, has challenged medical practitioners and the government to rethink the education of doctors in the country.
With long queues of patients at the major teaching hospitals, he said, the medical system was disappointing Ghanaians and urged those in the profession not to be afraid of embracing technologies and robotics in their practice.
Dr Opong-Kusi gave the challenge in a keynote address at the opening session of this year’s Medical Knowledge Fiesta on the theme: “Rethinking medical education to meet contemporary health care needs”.
The two-day event is being organised by the African Partners Foundation, the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation and the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Tracing the history of medical education, Dr Opong-Kusi noted that the “cadaver and paper model” of teaching, by which students studied anatomy and got to their books and crammed still persisted.
He said students would thereafter have to go under apprenticeship with those in practice and learn the practice, with most of them ending up as clone-versions of their tutors.
“Ask yourselves: In this age of Google, do we have to go the same old way?” Dr Opong-Kusi asked.
“In this age of robotics and minimal evasive techniques in surgery, it is sad for the country to be going the same way,” he emphasised.
Dr Opong-Kusi challenged medical practitioners not to be afraid to adopt the new technologies coming up in their work.
He also called for innovation in teaching, where students could listen to the same lecturer from a central point who would beam his or her presentation to all medical students at teaching hospitals.
He said the students at each facility could then digest the lecture at their locality, ensuring the efficient sharing of skills through technology.
Dr Opong-Kusi expressed the hope that innovative programmes such as the Medical Fiesta would be decentralised to all the districts for all professionals to benefit from them.
He thanked and paid tribute to all partners of the African Partners Foundation for their dedication to the sharing of skills and knowledge with deprived communities.
The Chairperson for the opening session of the programme, Professor Francis Abantanga, endorsed Dr Opong-Kusi’s views and urged a change in the education of doctors in the country.
The Medical Knowledge Fiesta 2018 is the 15th time the event is being held.
Fifteen years ago, it started in Kumasi and has had the collaboration of reputable institutions.
The two-day event will include an exhibition of innovative techniques in the medical field and workshop sessions.