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General News
Govt committed to transforming the health sector 4/3/2007
Accra, March 30, GNA - Despite the problems in the health sector the vision of government to transform the sector into one that was capable of fulfilling its mandate remain intact, Health Minister Major Courage Quarshiga (rtd) said on Friday.

"As minister, charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the vision is realized within the shortest possible time, I will not compromise on this agenda," he said.

Speaking at the induction of newly qualified Medical and Dental Practitioners and Award Ceremony for distinguished practitioners, he said the country was where it was now because government had to respond to threats of industrial actions from health workers. A total of 107 qualified doctors were inducted into the medical profession swore the Hippocratic Oath and the National Pledge while 17 distinguished practitioners were awarded for their dedicated service to the profession and the country.

The health ministers called for systematic approach to problem solving and also ensure that all loopholes were plugged to help define solutions, adding "... extent an invitation to your leadership to sit with us and map the way forward in seeking a lasting solution to these distractions that lead to pain and suffering of innocent people". He charged the new doctors to be guided by honesty, hard work and dedication, not forgetting their code of ethics, which enjoined them to put the welfare of patients above all consideration. He also urged them to commit themselves to the philosophy of self-development through active and continuous learning and involvement in professional development programmes so as to ensure competent services at all times.

He however, cautioned them to be extremely careful in the discharge of duty, especially in an era of advance technology and discovery of new drugs, where patients would want to know the reasons for their expert decision and the involvement of the National Health Insurance scheme (NHIS) which would complicate the decision process further because " someone will pay for the decisions you take".

He spoke about the new paradigm shift of creating wealth through health and the regenerative health and nutrition which aims at the creation of change agent within communities to support healthier lifestyles, good eating habit and improved sanitation to help stem the tide of the country''s disease burden.

To the distinguished practitioners who were honoured with lifetime awards, he said one trait that they all had in common was the sacrifice they have made to their country, their fellow men and for the good of the medical profession in Ghana, adding, "we are really proud of you and you deserve this honour done you today".

Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, Minister of Defence and an award winner said statistics available indicated that between 1969 and 2006, 2,800 doctors and an estimated 11,000 nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technologists and other health professionals in 1996 had left the shores of the country for greener pastures in Europe and the United States. Dr. Addo Kufuor said the issue of brain drain was of a major concern for the government and the people of Ghana and called upon the new doctors to give the problem a thought.

He said it cost 80, 000 thousand dollars to train a doctor from primary to medical school and called upon the doctors to let the taxpayer benefit from their services

He reiterated the need to ensure that during industrial actions a skeleton medical staff would be put in place to attend to very sick people and commended the West Africa Post College and the Ghana College of Physicians for their role in the retention of health professionals in the country.

This he attributed to the well structured programmes of the colleges which has attracted about 780 doctors to stay and undertake their specialization in Ghana between 1990 and 2006. .O. Adadey called on the new doctors to avail themselves to opportunities that would come their ways as well as treat their patients with all the needed respect, care and also pay maximum attention to medical details relating to their patients.

He urged them to be guided by the code of ethics, which govern their profession so that they could defend themselves wherever the need arises. The medical decree of 1972 had not been reviewed since and has fallen short of international standards, he said and added that work was ongoing to have it reviewed. 30 March 07


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