The Medical and Dental Council (MDC) on Tuesday inducted 433 newly qualified Physician Assistants and Certified Registered Anesthetists into the Council.
Dr Divine Ndonbi Banyubala, the Registrar of the Council at the induction ceremony in Accra, explained that the inductees had all written and passed the Council’s Licensure Examinations and, therefore, met the appropriate training standards for medical and dental practice in Ghana.
He conducted a roll-call of the inductees, who were from nine training institutions, including the University of Cape Coast; the College of Health and Wellbeing, Kintampo; Narh Bita College, Tema; Schools of Anaesthesia of 37 Military, Ridge and the Komfo Anokye Teaching hospitals, and symbolically presented them to Chairman of the Ninth Governing Board of the Medical and Dental Council.
Professor Paul Kwame Nyame, the Chairman of the Ninth Governing Board of the Medical and Dental Council, led the inductees to swear the Hippocratic Oath, and charge them to be “diligent in their service to humanity.”
He also urged them to effectively cooperate with their colleagues, share information and have a team spirit that could lead to the achievement of the desired quality health care outcomes.
“We should promote good health, respect and protect the dignity of the patient. We must help both the poor and the rich,” he said.
Dr Bernard Okoe-Boye, the Deputy Minister of Health, also led the inductees to recite the National Pledge, to affirm their commitment to the service of humanity and the nation.
He congratulated the inductees for their historical record of scores in the Council’s Licensure Examinations, and also commended the MDC for the constant upgrading of professionals in the country to ensure expanded access to quality health care across the nation.
Dr Okoe-Boye reminded the inductees of the core tenets of the profession, which remained the interest of the patients, protection of human life as well as the community at large, in which they had publicly affirmed through the swearing of the oath.
“You have promised to defend the autonomy of the patient, and also to respect and keep information entrusted to you in the cause of your practice,” he said.
He asked them to remember the diversity of every community, gender, religion, nationality, political affiliation or any other, and to show respect to all clients no matter their situations in life.
Dr Okoe-Boye also encouraged the inductees to pursue further academic advancement and build on what had been achieved.
He said the Council had earlier engaged the Ministry on the representatives of the professional groups to clarify some grey issues such as the mandate of and responsibilities of the MDC.
Dr Okoe-Boye said there was also the matter of career structure for those practising medicine, anaesthesia, oral health, and said Council would raise the issue with the Ministry of Health for a thorough discussion.
He said on generic Physician Assistants, its definition and scope had not been defined by the planners, the human resource specialists of the health system, which impinged on the remuneration and condition of service, but said although very crucial, it was important for practitioners to put the nation first.
Dr Okoe-Boye said in pursuit of specialisation, it was learnt that the College of Health was offering a sub-speciality specialisation in anaesthesia in Ghana, but advised practitioners to be careful in accepting to be in such programme as they were unlikely to have the additional qualification recognised by the MDC.
The Deputy Health Minister indicated that the Ministry would have a final deliberation on documents on the scope of practice of Physician Assistants and other practitioners regulated by the Council with inputs from representatives and stakeholders.
He said the MDC was appreciative of their cadres as professionals and intended to do its best during the transitional period to promote their interest, but cautioned them against undermining the hierarchical system and be guided by history, precedence and best practices.
“An essential service like the health service should not be rocked by egoism, factionalism service dislocation and indiscipline, but …jaw, jaw and not war, war,” he said.
Dr Okoe-Boye also spoke about the numerous health and environmental challenges bedevilling the nation and cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a real global challenge, calling on all to spread the need for all to observe the mandatory protocols to save lives.