The maiden congregation of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) took place at the main campus at Sokode-Lokoe near Ho on Saturday, with President John Dramani Mahama as the special guest of honour.
In all, 171 graduands were awarded degrees in medical laboratory sciences, dietetics, midwifery, nursing, physician assistantship and various fields of public health at the grand event where former First Lady, Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills was conferred with a special honorary doctorate degree by the university which is the brain-child of her late husband.
The doctorate degree was in recognition of her keen interest in issues of maternal health, women empowerment, girl-child education and child labour among others.
Two other persons – Dr Christian Ayebeng Botchway, a renowned dentist; Professor Samuel Kofi Sefa-Dedeh, a scientist, technologist and researcher were similarly honoured with doctorate degrees at the congregation.
President Mahama lauded the university authorities for the huge successes UHAS has chalked in the few years of its establishment, saying it bore a living testimony to Professor Mills’ worthy dream and determination to establish public universities in every region.
“I believe Prof. is smiling down on us this morning and the calm weather today testifies to that”, said the President.
The President also urged them to eschew corruption, bribes and arrogance, and commit themselves to saving lives.
In furtherance of plans to establish public universities in all the regions, President Mahama announced that the campuses of the University for Development Studies (UDS) in each of the three northern regions were being converted to autonomous universities.
Meanwhile, President Mahama said that government had given the nod to the universities to recruit 1,018 lecturers to boost their faculties, saying “this is the approval of the full request made by all the universities.”
On the roads network project on the UHAS permanent campus, President Mahama bemoaned the slow pace of work and asked the contractors to speed up work or lose the contract.
Earlier, the out-going Vice-Chancellor, Professor Fred Newton Binka said that one of the core values of UHAS was to apply innovative education approaches and technologies which would enhance access to programmes with focus on training high calibre health professionals at all levels of education.
Professor Kofi Anyidoho, Chairman of the UHAS Council appealed to government for the appropriate administrative arrangements to be made for the kind of “special provision President Mills made for a special supplementary grant” to be set aside to support the university in each year’s budget.
“Unless this is done, we may soon be crippled by the special kind of kwashikor resulting from financial malnutrition.
From Alberto Mario Noretti, Sokode-Lokoe