Medical practitioners to use influence to encourage COVID-19 vaccination

The 18th Annual General and Scientific Meeting (AGSM) of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS) opened in Accra on Wednesday to afford medical practitioners the opportunity to use their influence in society to encourage more people to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Deputy Minister of Health, Alhaji Mahama Asei Seini, who opened the meeting said despite the low level of infection rate in the country, it was not out of the woods yet and was crucial that more people got vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

“The nation is grateful for the efforts you have put into treatment and prevention of COVID-19 and its complications but we are not out of the woods. Let us all ensure that we are fully vaccinated and educate members of the public to do same. Together, we will overcome the effects of this pandemic,” he said.

On the theme: “Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare and Medical Training in Ghana: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward,” the three-day AGSM had 355 new physician specialists and 37 fellows admitted into the College.

Alhaji Seini who underscored the need to bridge the medical specialist’s gap in the country reiterated government’s commitment to support the College to train more of such cadre of professionals.

According to him, the challenge coupled with failure of specialists to accept postings to other regions outside urban areas and inadequate training centres hindered quality healthcare delivery.

To this end, the Deputy Minister said, the Ministry of Health together with the GCPS, was developing a policy that would ensure that the production of specialists and consultants were increased across the country.

Additionally, he pledged more financial support needed to train such specialists as well as training fees for resident doctors.

“The College has identified specialty areas where the turnout of specialists is low compared to others and we are working to put measures in place that will help produce more specialists while not neglecting the others,” he said.

Alhaji Seini implored the newly inducted physicians to provide the best of services possible to all manner of people who patronised their services.

“It is also important that you keep up with developments in your field of practice and provide the necessary technical advice to get our health delivery to improve,” he urged.

The Rector of the GCPS, Professor Richard M. K. Adanu, said the College recorded the highest number of newly admitted members and fellows this year.

“Aside 25 Fellows who were admitted through election due to their great contribution to the training and practice, 37 new Fellows and 355 other members were also admitted.

With the admission of our new fellows and members, our College has produced almost 1,500 specialists for the country since 2007,” he said.

Prof. Adanu announced the College’s plan to create platform for trainees who want to study additional Masters and PhD degrees to do so, adding that a Memorandum of Understanding had also been signed with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to set up a joint Fellowship PhD and MPhil programmes.

He said a curriculum review process was underway as the College was set to roll out a pilot test of software that would allow for tracking of training activities of residents as part of their continuous assessment, next year.

On his part, Professor Christian Agyare, in a keynote address applauded the GCPS for its achievements over the years and contribution towards training of medical specialists in Ghana which had endeared it many health bodies in the West African sub-region to emulate the example.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH AND BALA ALI

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