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President urges doctors to accept postings to rural communities

Cape Coast, Aug. 12,
GNA – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Saturday urged newly qualified
doctors to accept postings to rural communities.

He said young doctors
who were posted to rural communities to undertake their housemanship should not
to see it as a form of punishment, adding; “The missionary and sacrificial
aspect of this noble profession must not be lost on you.”

President Akufo-Addo
made the call when he delivered a speech at the 50th Congregation and Fifth
Oath Taking and Induction Ceremony of the School of Medical Sciences of the
University of Cape Coast.  

“The early Ghanaian
doctors of legend, the pioneers who built the medical profession such as
Charles Easmon, Silas Dodoo, Cornelius Quarcoopome and Felix Konotey-Ahulu, on
their return home from qualifying in England, went to work in the rural areas
with relish and enthusiasm, at a time when our country was less developed and
with fewer infrastructure,” he said.

The President noted
that Ghana’s doctor-population ratio, being approximately one doctor to eight
thousand patients, was even more lopsided in the rural and deprived communities
of the country.

“I do not put all the
blame on our medical doctors’ unwillingness to work in these communities. If we
have good road networks, and good schools are available around the country and
not only in the urban centres, if we have electricity supply in all
communities, we would not have to be asking, indeed, insisting that our young
doctors go to work in the rural communities,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo
acknowledged that once the right conditions were in place, doctors would, then,
find well-developed rural communities more attractive to bring up their young
families.

He was, however,
pleased with the programme instituted by the School of Medical Sciences, under
which medical students spend six weeks each year in rural communities in the
Central and Eastern regions.

“This is aimed at
giving them strong community orientation, and also increasing their awareness
of the interrelationship between lifestyle and health. I hope and pray that
this enables them to build lifelong and healthy appreciation of the situations
in our rural communities, which would stay with them long after they have
qualified,” President Akufo-Addo said.

The President said as
Ghana trained more doctors to bridge the shortage gap, more must be done to
keep them in the country, and not lose them to the advanced economies of this
world.

“We will only retain
our trained doctors and other professionals when agriculture and industry are
thriving, when we have better roads, better communications, better schools,
better housing, reliable and cheaper power supply, and better drainage.

“On my part, I am
determined to work to help ensure that these improvements we all want in our
lives become reality. Until that is done, we have to equip those currently in
training and the fresh doctors to do a little more out of the ordinary to bring
relief to the present situation,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo
urged the young doctors to feel privileged to work amidst the mysteries of
life, as well as gain the trust of patients and treat each one with dignity.

He admonished them to
listen and give respect to all their colleagues in the healthcare chain –
technicians, nurses, clerks, cleaners, et al.

“You will be
surrounded by death, but please remain human and do not lose your emotions.
People will die, but many will be healed, complications will occur, but make
sure you remain true to science, the truth and reason.

“And in doing so,
never lose your faith in God. I have no doubt you will continue to discover, as
all the great scientists have, the presence of the Omnipotent One in the
ordering of the Universe,” the President said.

“Let your Hippocratic
Oath be your guide and guard in the discharge of your duties. Your joy and
fulfillment should lie in the well-being of your patients,” he said.

GNA

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