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Friday, May 24, 2024

Implement low-cost drug policy – Medical and Dental Council tells govt

The Medical and Dental Council (MDC) has called on government to implement a policy that will help reduce the high cost of medicines in the country.

At the induction of 508 newly qualified doctors in Accra last Saturday, the Chairman of the MDC, Prof. P.K. Nyame, said the cost of medicines had made quality health care a luxury and out of reach for many people, especially the aged and the poor.

He, therefore, urged the government to vigorously support local manufacturers to enable them to produce drugs on a large scale to bring down the cost of medicines.

He also stressed the need for an urgent review of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cater for more medicines.

“Despite our economic difficulties, there is the need to review the scope of coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme and other financial aspects of the scheme. Most importantly, providers should not be placed in a position to withdraw their services, with serious implications for the aged and the poor,” he said.

Induction

The newly qualified medical and dental practitioners were graduates from the University of Cape Coast (UCC) School of Medical Sciences, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS), University for Development Studies (UDS) School of Medicine, and foreign-trained doctors who passed the MDC’s registration examination.

In the presence of hundreds of family members and well-wishers at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), the new doctors took the sacred Hippocratic Oath administered by Prof. Nyame.

The newly qualified medical and dental practitioners at the ceremony.

The colourful ceremony was attended by notable personalities, including a former Chief Justice, Justice Georgina Theodora Wood; Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful; Chief of Air Staff of the Ghana Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Frederick Asare Bekoe, and a Deputy Minister of Health, Mahama Asei Seini.

Abuse of patients

Prof. Nyame advised the newly qualified doctors to be professional and adhere to the highest standards, especially when dealing with patients.

For instance, he said, the fact that doctors had a professional duty to access the bodies of their patients did not give them the right to abuse them.

“For those who are not aware of the ‘Me too Movement’, it has come about in the West to protest against sexual abuse of women in the workplace. read carefully, and do not get accused of alleged unsolicited sexual liaison,” he cautioned.

Rural areas

Mr Seini appealed to the new doctors to serve the country wherever they were needed and not refuse postings to rural areas.

He said a doctor had a sacred duty to serve everyone, irrespective of location, gender, race, religion, political affiliation, social status and ethnicity.

The Deputy Minister of Health further urged them to be mindful of their conduct and serve diligently with the utmost duty of care to avoid any negligent act which could have dire consequences on patients.

“There are daily reports of professional negligence, improper conduct and unethical behaviour by our doctors, dentists, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and so on.

“The very people who openly swore their professional oaths and committed themselves to serve us in our most vulnerable state are now our abusers. This is unacceptable,” he said.

Continuous training

The Registrar of the MDC, Dr Divine Ndonbi Banyubala, said doctors had a sacred responsibility of deciding between life and death and, therefore, it was paramount for them to continuously upgrade their knowledge and skills.

He announced that in furtherance of the goal by the MDC to upgrade the skills of doctors, the Ministry of Health, with donor funding from the World Bank, was working on the construction of a specialist training centre to boost the training of doctors and dentists.

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