Minister Criticizes Admission Into Medical Schools

Ms Sherry Ayittey, the Health Minister, has criticized the mode of selection of students into the Medical and Dental schools and called for changes.

She said the practice where admissions were based purely on grades scored at the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) tendered to favour students from the limited well-endowed senior high schools and invariably rich homes.

The universities should do everything to modify the criteria to give equal opportunity to students in deprived schools.

Ms Ayittey was addressing the 54th Scientific Conference of the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) in Kumasi, urged innovative and equitable approach that would not disadvantage any group.

She made reference to studies and experiences of South Africa where, students with rural background readily return to work and settle in those communities upon graduation.

The Minister was emphatic that Ghana’s example could not be said to be fair when applicants, representing the majority of the population were excluded.

She spoke of the need for a comprehensive plan to address issues relating to selection into training schools, retention and distribution of health professionals.

The five-day conference will discuss among others topics such as “Injury as a Health Problem- the Role of Trauma Care”, “Pre-hospital Care and Rehabilitation”, “Future of surgery”, “Reducing Global Burden of Surgical Diseases”, as well as “General and Plastic Surgery”.

It also saw the presentation of papers on maternal mortality, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, radiology and urology.

Ms Ayittey suggested to the College to consider establishing a Faculty of Emergency Medicine and Surgery to train specialists to focus on emergency care.

Such specialists could provide the needed leadership for national emergency services.

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