The Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo, has appealed to health professionals to incorporate the role of traditional practitioners in the health care system.
He said since there was inequality in access to health care services, there was the need to allocate more financial support for the development of traditional medical care.
Mr. Osafo Maafo, who said this when he addressed the second annual general and scientific meeting of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra yesterday, noted “we need to understand the contexts in which knowledge and practice of traditional medicine is carried out”.
Thirty-six new fellows took the Oath, which was administered by the President of the College, Professor S. Ofos-Amaah.
Mr. Osafo Maafo said in order to make health care delivery a reality, “we need to establish professional relationships between the biomedical professional and the traditional practitioner, particularly with regard to policies aimed at integrating traditional medicine into the formal health sector”.
The Minister said the disparities in health care systems favoured the well off who were far better than the disadvantaged, adding that the challenge was to identify the steps needed to ensure that the poor received the highest possible proportion of increased service.
He said the recent approach in setting economic development goals was to express goals in terms of the percentage of the population below some specified poverty line.
He added that it was deceptive to put the data on the poor and the rich together in a single pot and provide statistics on health based on average figures when we are looking at the Social sector as a country”.
Professor P.K. Nyame, the Rector of the College, said the training of postgraduates at the Ghana College of Physicians and surgeons had been extended on a pilot basis to some district and regional hospitals in the country. He said, with this, the training of post –graduates of the college would cease to be centralized at the Korle-Bu and Komfo
Anokye Teaching Hospitals.
He said the College had also made representations on the issues of residential accommodation, which places a barrier to the successful implementation of the programme at the appropriate quarters.
The Ghana Medical Association, at the end of its Annual General Meeting last year, said it was apprehensive of the over-centralization of the postgraduate programmes of the College at the two teaching hospitals.
Professor Nyame said payment of fees for the continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes of the college would cease from next year.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Gladys Ashitey, said the issue of limited resources, lack of skilled manpower, huge disparities between region and districts in terms of geographical and financial access to service were a few of the broad challenges that all stakeholders in the health sector must confront.
She said the results of the last Demographic and health survey indicated that the total fertility rate of the country had dropped faster than anticipated, adding that although still high, what it meant was that people were having fewer children.
Professor Ofosu-Amaah, on his part, said the college was satisfied with its achievements over the years, but added that it was important to reshape what the college had begun to suit the current trend.
He expressed concern about a number of fake doctors reported in the country and called for a collaborative effort as checking the quacking.
Daily Graphic - 8 December 2005. Page 24.