The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye has entreated newly trained health care professionals from the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) to accept postings to any part of the country, where their services would be most needed.
This, he noted would help check the maldistribution of health professionals within the country’s health care system, and provide universal healthcare coverage to citizens in any part of Ghana.
The Health Service boss was speaking at the 6th Congregation of UHAS held at the main campus at Sokode-Lokoe, near Ho in the Volta Region.
According to him, the maldistribution of the health workforce remains a serious challenge for policymakers and implementers, stating, though the doctor-to-population ratio has been improving steadily over the years, the ratio continues to remain unacceptably high in some areas of the country, ostensibly due to the refusal of healthcare professionals to accept postings to those areas.
“On the average, in 2018, we had one doctor to 7,192 population but in the Upper West Region, one doctor serves 13,080 population, nearly double the national average,” Dr. Kuma-Aboagye indicated and appealed to graduate to help change the trend.
“I implore you to decide to serve wherever you shall be posted to and the health system will be forever thankful” he pleaded, adding that, ” We shall not abandon you if you serve in less endowed areas of the country. You shall be our heroes and we shall treat you the same.”
The Health Service, Dr. Kuma-Aboagye noted, has also adopted strategies to compensate staff who will accept postings to remote areas.
Touching on the performance of the country’s health system, the DG said the health indicators remain stable despite the COVID-19 disruptions. A situation, he noted, was a reflection of the resilience of health systems and the dedication of the staff.
He used the opportunity to encourage the public to take the Covid-19 vaccination, to curtail further spread of the virus as the festive season approaches.
In all, 686 students, including 53 medical doctors graduated at the ceremony, after completing their various programmes of study in the 2020/21 academic year.
On his part, Professor John Owusu Gyapong, Vice-Chancellor of UHAS, said the University was making steady progress despite the COVID-19 disruptions.
He noted that the introduction of the online Learning Management System, helped the University to sustain academic work during the pandemic, culminating in the successful completion of the 2020/21 academic year.
Prof. Gyapong opined that, inadequate facilities continued to hinder student intake, and that the University was working with the government to expand students and staff accommodation, and other academic facilities to create space for more students.
He however expressed delight about the commencement of work on the $68-million China Aid UHAS phase two project, which would see the construction of the School of Nursing and Midwifery as well as the University’s Central Administration.
The Vice-Chancellor noted that the University was aggressively pursuing an agenda to deepen the research culture among faculty, for which an internal research fund has been created to support faculty to undertake basic research while preparing them for external research opportunities.
Touching on recognitions, Prof. Gyapong said UHAS in a year was ranked by the Alper-Doger Scientific Index as the second best University in Ghana and the 36th in Africa, while eight of its Faculty members were also ranked among the top 50 researchers in the country.
Speaking to the graduands, the UHAS Vice-Chancellor entreated them to live by the University’s values and ethos of, excellence innovation, integrity, service, and care.
He charged to them to service the nation diligently, serve their God and be worthy ambassadors of the University.
The Chairman of UHAS Council, Justice Victor Jones Mawulom Dotse, on his part, lauded the work of the University’s management, which according to him, kept the institution on “steady progress” along with its mission and vision.
He said the focus on the nation’s research agenda also remained solid and appealed to the government to deliver the necessary support, including “adequate research funds through national budgetary allocations.”
Awards were presented to some deserving graduands, with Dr. Elizabeth Naa Abaina Morton, who graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, receiving nine academic awards, including the Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Overall Best Graduating Student.