The Dean of the University of Ghana Medical School, Professor Yao Tettey, has recommended to government to use a multi-pronged approach to address medical manpower development in the country.
“A multi-pronged approach should be used to increase support from government and corporate organizations to develop more medical manpower for mother Ghana”, he stressed.
Prof. Tettey made the recommendation at the first 50th anniversary celebration public lecture of the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS) in Accra.
It had the theme: ‘The University of Ghana Medical School and Medical Manpower Development in Ghana’.
The year- long lecture and symposia is on the theme:50 Years of Medical Education in Ghana-Successes, Challenges and Future Prospects.
Prof. Tettey noted that over the past five years, the UGMS had produced an average of 32 per cent of total annual requirements of medical officers which excluded specialist doctors, adding that in 2011, the UGMS graduated 124 doctors of the expected total of 403 while in 2010, it graduated 122 doctors out of a total national projected requirement of 366.
“If as at the end of 2011, the Ministry of Health requires 4,734 doctors and the UGMS has produced a total of 2,570 doctors as at 2011, and if by any miracle all the doctors have stayed in Ghana and were serving, then the UGMS alone would have produced 54.3 per cent of the total requirements of the Ministry of Health”, he stressed.
Prof. Tettey observed that intake into the UGMS had seen a gradual increase over time, thus from an initial intake of 41 in1964, the number rose from 53 in1973 and 94 in 1999 and 150 in 2011, and that tried to be gender sensitive in the admission process, aiming at an intake of over 25 percent of female students per class.
He underscored the pivotal role played by the UGMS in the establishment of other health related institutions within the University of Ghana and nurturing and supporting fledging sister medical schools in the country which had enhanced the introduction of a new programme, the Graduate Entry Programme to give opportunity to graduates in science who wish to pursue a career in medicine.
Prof. Tettey expressed concern about a situation where a small proportion of lecturers are below 45 years and the faculty over 60 years and attributed it “to remuneration and conditions of service which are grossly unattractive and does not guarantee a reasonably comfortable retirement”.
“Worse of all, the remuneration and end-of-service benefits of doctors who work with the Ministry of Health and other organizations are much better than those of the Medical School lecturers, thus the young consultants are not willing to be recruited into the Medical School”, he lamented.
Prof. Tettey appealed to the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to give serious consideration to the market premium of the lecturers in the four medical schools in determining their Single Spine Salary Structure to ensure that the remuneration of lecturers in the Medical Schools were attractive for young consultants to be willing to join faculty.
Currently, he said that “the UGMS is benefitting from the ‘Brain-Gain’ Project commenced in 2005, a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the International Organization for Migration and Migration for International Development Agency providing Ghanaian Health Professionals resident in Europe the opportunity to work on short-term basis in Ghana during their vacation periods”.
Prof. Tettey stated that although students were faced with challenges of finance, feeding and accommodation, faculty was being re-trained and oriented in modern methods of medical education that made the student the centre of the learning activity and empowered to take advantage of their training and learning in a holistic and integrated manner to build on previous knowledge acquired.