A journey which began 19 years ago from a garage hit a milestone Tuesday when the Family Health Medical School (FHMS) at Teshie in Accra matriculated its first batch of medical students.Follow @Graphicgh
The FMHS, the first private medical school in Ghana, is the teaching arm of the Family Health Group, which started as a diagnostic centre from a garage at Korle Bu in 1997.
Sixteen students, made up of nine females and seven males, matriculated at the ceremony, which President John Dramani Mahama described as an “epoch-making event”.
Also in attendance were former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor.
The FHMS is affiliated to the University of Ghana, and accredited by the National Accreditation Board.
It has national and international lecturers/professors, as well as collaborations with medical schools in the United States, Europe and Asia.
The medical school has modern facilities such as a library complex with many unique tools for learning, including telemedicine facilities, an E-library, a spacious hall for anatomy, which is among the biggest in West Africa, and computerised facilities for viewing different parts of the human body.
Besides, it boasts well-equipped laboratories for Physiology/Biochemistry, Pharmacology and Chemical Pathology and intracytoplasmic sperm injection equipment for the study of anatomy, which is the only one in a medical school in Ghana.
The holistic approach to training adopted by the FHMS is evident in the use of the sign language also in teaching students.
President Mahama commended Prof. Enyonam Yao Kwawukume, the President of the FHMS, for his vision that led to the birth of the school.
He said the school fell in line with the vision of the government to make Ghana the hub of educational excellence in West Africa.
He gave an assurance that the government would support the school to attain its noble objectives.
He stated that private sector participation in tertiary education, especially medical education, was very important, looking at the many qualified students who were unable to gain admission to the existing five public medical institutions due to inadequate space.
“There are instances I have seen students with 6 As and 2Bs but who could not gain admission to medical school,” he said.
The President said Ghana was on the forward march and expressed optimism that working together, the people could push the country to greater heights.
He said Ghanaians were living much longer than before, with the latest Human Development Index ranking the country as the second highest in West Africa.
President Mahama expressed dissatisfaction with the low number of doctors in the country.
The doctor-to-patient ratio currently is 1:10, 442, as against the target of 1:9,700.
The internationally accepted ratio by the Commonwealth is 1:5,000.
“This means we still have a long way to go,” President Mahama said, adding that that was why the government was working to address the disparities.
He also spoke about the uneven spread of medical doctors in the country which favoured the urban areas.
Therefore, efforts to address the disparity were very important, he stressed
While advising the matriculating students to take their studies seriously, President Mahama was quick to tell them to make the lives of their patients their prime concern when they finally passed out as qualified doctors.
He said when they started working with the public service, they might have disagreements with the government and cautioned that “when it comes, don’t punish your patients”.
In a welcome address, Prof. Kwawukume said the emphasis of the school was to train well-grounded health personnel who would be properly positioned to meet the health-care needs of the country.
He advised the fresh students to attach the necessary importance to the reason they were in the school.
He said the school was poised to grow deep into the future with hope.