A STATEMENT BY MR. SAM OKUDZETO,
CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF TRUSTEES, POSTGRADUATE ENDOWMENT FUND
Ghana is the pacesetter for most things positive in Africa. We were the first in the sub-region to gain independence and are the beacon of hope for peace and democracy in the region. With all our enviable credentials, one thing remains certain. We cannot continue to achieve more with unhealthy citizens. We may have achieved laurels in the area of democracy, but our health sector is in need of help. The doctor-patient ratio is alarming (1:10,450 versus 1:5,000 recommended by the Commonwealth, and 1:1,320 recommended by the World Health Organization). This statistic highlights an important fact. We need to train more doctors and other health professionals.
We need to research into new and better ways of treating illnesses. We need to improve the quality of our health care. We need to promote research, especially into local diseases. We need to promote the training of doctors and other health professionals of high quality, and we most certainly need to provide scholarships/research grants for postgraduate training.
The solution to the many challenges in our health care system lies in a holistic approach to solving them. However, the crux of the solution lies in the quality of health professionals stationed at the health centres. The Mission of the College of Health Sciences is to “produce highly qualified and competent health professionals and medical scientists to provide promotive, preventive and curative services to meet the health needs of the nation and the global community through world class excellence in teaching, research and dissemination of knowledge”. In pursuit of this mission, it is necessary to train quality health professionals such as doctors, dental surgeons and physiotherapists for the country, as well as carry out cutting-edge research into diseases that affect humankind.
I am proud to be associated with this Fund that has achieved great success in the face of serious financial challenges. The Fund has, till date, trained about 395 postgraduates in various fields, such as Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Surgery, Pathology, Microbiology, Radiology, Radiotherapy, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Nursing, Public Health among others. A large number of those trained have been employed in the College and are now teaching in the constituent institutions of the College or providing service elsewhere in the country.
We have reached a point in this country where we need to develop an all-hands-on-deck approach to solving the problems in our health sector. The citizenry and corporate entities must support institutions like the College of Health Sciences to train people who will improve the quality of health care that patients receive. On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Fund and the Management of the College of Health Sciences, I humbly request for your support for postgraduate training in health sciences in Ghana. I urge you to take a stand and support the provision of scholarships and research grants for students who are determined to change the face of health care delivery and research in Ghana.