The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has launched government's scholarship scheme for postgraduate training of Ghanaian medical doctors.
The scheme, launched at the Jubilee House on Thursday, is a fulfillment of a promise made by President Akufo-Addo in 2016 to fully fund the postgraduate training of Ghanaian medical doctors.
Under the scholarship scheme, the tuition fees of 918 residents and senior residents enrolled by the College of Physicians and Surgeons for the 2019/2020 academic year, will be fully paid for by government.
Speaking at the launch, Vice President Bawumia revealed that a total amount of GHC 6,885,000 (six million eight hundred and eighty-five thousand) Ghana Cedis has been released to the College to offset more than half of the projected budget of 11 million GHS which the College required to achieve its mandate this year.
The Vice President said access to good healthcare is not only about providing physical infrastructure, which he said the government is committed to, but also investing in health professionals to deliver quality service.
"Access (to healthcare) is not only in providing physical infrastructure. We need the health professionals who deliver the services, who are well trained to be able to make the difficult decisions, sometimes even tragic choices, in delivering health services. Training is therefore critical if any health system will survive over time," said Dr. Bawumia.
The Vice President further stated that in fulfilment of its promise to fund the postgraduate training of doctors, government, in line with the terms of conditions of service document signed with the Ghana Medical Association for doctors and dentists, agreed to provide direct funding towards the training of doctors to lift burden off medical facilities who were hitherto struggling to fund their doctors.
"We realised that the previous arrangements of funding training through health facilities was severely hampered by the ability of facilities to pay. This led to an unfortunate situation when some facilities could not rely on their own funding to provide the needed staff training."
"Under this new funding arrangement, the Ministry (of Health) has successfully fulfilled its obligation for the 2018/2019 academic year, and I am happy to announce that all the school fees for the 918 residents and senior residents enrolled in the 2019/2020 academic year has been covered under this new arrangement with the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat."
College of Surgeons and Physicians
The Vice President commended the role of the College of Surgeons and Physicians in the training of doctors in various fields since it was established by the government of President John Agyekum Kufuor to provide local opportunities for doctors dentists to further their medical education in the country.
Having enrolled its pioneers in September 2004, graduated in September 2007, and inducted into Membership of Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in Devember 2007. The College has since produced 565 specialist physicians and 647 specialist surgeons - a total of 1 212 as at the end of 2019," Dr. Bawumia recounted, and applauded the College for its contribution.
Government committed to quality healthcare delivery
While reiterating government's commitment to support the building of health infrastructure and the training of personnel through the scholarship, the Vice President urged the College to maintain its dedication to the training of of doctors.
"I would like to stress that this government is committed to the health of Ghanaians and will do everything possible to assure all citizens of accessible, affordable and available health service delivery across the nation," Dr. Bawumia said.
"We are committed to investing in all aspects of the health system - in physical infrastructure and soft infrastructure by leveraging on technology to leapfrog our development."
"Together, we must work to ensure that the distribution of medical personnel across the country does not put some at disadvantage."
Present at the launch was the Minister of Health, Dr. Kweku Agyemang Manu, who expressed the Ministry's delight at the Scholarship Secretariat's intervention to absorb the fees for the postgraduate training of doctors.
Others present were: Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Okoe Boye, Registrar of the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat, Kingsley Agyeman and representatives of the Ghana Medical Association and Ghana College of Physician and Surgeons.