Dec 2013

As a result of the increase in the production of doctors and a reduction in their migration to the western world, the doctor to population ratio fell from a high of 17,899 individuals to one doctor in 2005 to 10,034 individuals to one doctor in 2011.

Again, the retention rates of doctors of five year groups from the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS) has also improved significantly from 54.2% in 1998 to 86.3% in 2008 while 78.5% of those working in Ghana have opted for postgraduate training in Ghana, suggesting that post-graduate training is a dominant consideration in deciding to leave the country to countries with postgraduate opportunities such as the USA or UK.

Professor Felix Asante of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) made these known in a public lecture he delivered in Accra, last week, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS).

Prof. Asante said the establishment of the GCPS appeared to have slowed down the medical brain drain in Ghana, as more and more doctors availed themselves of the local opportunities.

He, therefore, stressed the need to effectively support the College in order to continue to be a strong incentive for the retention of doctors in Ghana, apart from helping to staff hospitals with the much-needed specialists.

Prof. Asante also called for greater investment in health infrastructure and more conducive working conditions in rural areas for medical specialists, adding that to reduce the negative effects of health worker emigration, there was the need for better health workforce retention, especially in rural and remote areas and stronger protection, and fairer treatment of health workers facing difficult and often dangerous working conditions and poor pay.

Nana Dr S.K.B. Asante, who spoke on the topic: ‘A Decade of Postgraduate Specialist Medical Training in Ghana―Impact on Public’s Health,’ paid tribute to the Founding Fathers, especially Prof. Paul Nyame, first Rector of GCPS who, he said, played a critical and pivotal role  in establishing the College and in building  the structure housing the GCPS.

Nana Dr Asante called on the GCPS to be proactive in raising issues and analysing policies for a better health for the public and expressed the hope that GCPS would be given the appropriate opportunities to make meaningful inputs into policy formulation in the health sector.

He urged the health sector to strengthen its human resource database to allow for the prompt tracking of specialists and other health personnel.

Postgraduate intake into the GCPS, which includes both membership and fellowship, has increased markedly from a total of 78 doctors in 2004 to 202 doctors by 2012, while a total of 87 doctors are scheduled to graduate from the GCPS in 2013 in various areas of specialisation.

Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)