Professor Mohammed Salifu, Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTCE), has urged the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to consider reviewing its strictly full fee-paying policy for the training of medical doctors.
While appreciating the financial challenges that necessitated the introduction of the policy at UCC, he believed a review of thefinancial model would enable brilliant but needy students who desire to be trained as medical officers, to also enroll.
He expressed this sentiment when he addressed the First Session of the 49th Congregation of the university and the fourth Oath Swearing /Induction Ceremony of School of Medical Sciences (SMS) on Saturday.
Students pursing the six-year programmme, leading to the award of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), pay fees ranging between GH¢7, 000 and more than GH¢10,000 for every academic year. Other public medical schools operate a full and partial fees policy for different campuses and programme options.
Prof. Salifu commended UCC for what he described at the unique and innovative model training of doctors at its SMS, and expressed confidence that doctors from the school would make a difference in health care delivery in the country.
He admitted that the health system of the country had challenges in areas such as training and infrastructure but said government was addressing them at various stages and called on stakeholders to support to achieve more.
Reiterating government’s commitment to solve the issues with the sector, he advised the new doctors to live up to their call to duty and tap into training received to support government’s efforts in improving health care delivery.
A total of 56 students made up of 24 males and 32 females were graduated and inducted, increasing the total number of doctors the school has churned out since its establishment in 2008 to 184 doctors.
Expressing joy over what he described as overturn of gender balance, Vice-Chancellor of UCC, Prof. Domwini D. Kuupole said reports received about all students from the SMS indicated that they performed creditably in hospitals where they undertook their housemanship, and those who are now medical officers were excelling at their places of work.
Citing other successes, he announced that the SMS had been listed in the world directory of Medical Schools and subsequently approved for addition to the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Sponsorship Note from the world medical directory listings.
That, he said, offers the school the eligibility of applicants for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification.
On challenges, Prof. Kuupole said the slow pace of work on the infrastructural facilities of the school had not made it possible for the school to have the full benefits of them and expressed hope that all efforts would be made to complete them.
He said the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital in the Western Region had been approved by the Ministry of Health as an additional teaching hospital to enable the school take in more students, and therefore appealed to stakeholders to hasten the conversion process.
He re-affirmed the school’s determination and commitment to fulfill its vision of becoming a leading school of medicine and a centre of excellence in community –oriented medical education, and called for the continued support of stakeholders.
He advised the new doctors to be humble and dedicated to service, and urged them to avoid the quest for money which could adversely influence their performance.
From Jonathan Donkor, Cape Coast