The former Director-General of Ghana Health Service and now Director of Health at the Presidency, Dr. Nsia Asare, has indicated that plans are far advanced for decentralised medical education to enable teaching hospitals to train specialists on the job to address the low patient to doctor ratio.
He stated that it is not acceptable that in this modernity the five teaching hospitals in the country cannot train nurses, nephrologists, technicians and dentists and ensure continuous human development on their own.
“…I do not see how our teaching hospitals cannot train specialists. The five teaching hospitals can have centres where they can do the renal transplant, for instance, and train more nephrologists. The Bank of Ghana Hospital’s Renal Centre, for instance, should be training more renal nurses, nephrologists, technicians and other experts who will care for dialysis patients across the country.
“This is very important and I believe that this is a way of decentralising medical education, nursing education and health professional education,” he said.
He stated that while the nation’s five teaching hospitals – Korle-Bu, Komfo Anokye KATH), Tamale, Cape Coast and Ho Teaching Hospital – are all doing very well with their current role in training medical students from the University Of Ghana Medical School UGMS, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology School of Medical Sciences (SMS), Cape Coast University School of Medical Sciences, among the others. These can be expanded for the hospitals to take on students which will then give room for more students to get the opportunity to enter the health professional space.
Dr. Asare reiterated that when this is done, both undergraduate and postgraduate medical health education will be decentralised for people to be trained on the job after the students have had their initial basics in the various universities.
“Since the hospitals are all state-of-the-art from scratch, what medical students need is first after the basic sciences in the universities, get posted to these hospitals to come and do their clinical work, postgraduate work, and to be trained professionals and fellows,” he added.
Touching on health infrastructure, he emphasised that continuously the country is doing very well in the area of primary health care with the establishment of the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound, and now with agenda 111 every district is about to get a functional health facility.
Furthermore, he iterated that by learning from COVID-19, government is committed to strengthening the healthcare system – both infrastructure-wise and through human capital development training.
The presidential adviser also called on private organisations to take advantage of the opening up of the health sector to invest in institutions which will provide both medical treatment and education just as the situation is in South Africa and India.
“In Ghana, government is employing majority of the health professionals and the best for that matter, but it should be government competing with the private sector as is done in South Africa. The private sector should be focusing on medical tourism and education because there is a lot of investment potential in this part,” he concluded.