President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the Government has signed an improved condition of service with the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) to motivate medical doctors and improve healthcare delivery in the country.
As part of the conditions, the Government will pay members of GMA accommodation, fuel, utility, official vehicle, and vehicle maintenance and security allowances, as negotiated by doctors.
The President, who said this on Wednesday at the maiden celebration of the National Women Physicians’ Day in Accra, said the allowances were all intended to “motivate and boost the morale of our doctors as they work selflessly in improving the quality of life of fellow Ghanaians.”
“We are also eagerly working on deprived area incentives for our health workers,” he said.
The National Women Physicians’ Day was used to honour Dr Susan Barbara Gyankroma Ofori-Atta, the first female Ghanaian doctor.
The event was held on the theme “Young women, young doctors; our inspiration, our future.”
President Akufo-Addo entreated female doctors to work to gain the confidence of their patients, and be active citizens, bringing doctors’ perspectives to public issues.
He said medical doctors were revered in the society, and that the title doctor instinctively invoked respect and unquestioning trust, saying “You cannot afford to be narrow in outlook. You must develop and maintain a healthy interest in civic matters, art, literature, music, the environment, sports, public life, and yes, I want each one of you gathered here to be a renaissance woman,” he said.
The President implored the female doctors to learn continuously, gain the trust of patients, and treat all colleagues in the healthcare chain with respect.
“Just as was demonstrated in the days of Susan Ofori-Atta, your joy and fulfillment should be in the wellbeing of your patients,” he said
President Akufo-Addo pledged the Government’s commitment to work to establish a strong healthcare system of world-class quality, which would guarantee the health and wellbeing of Ghanaians.
He noted that the constitutional requirement of access to quality healthcare for all Ghanaians would be achieved if only health institutions produced the required numbers of competent personnel with right qualifications.
“We seem prepared to take chances at the expense of aspects of our lives but not with doctors. We entrust our expensive cars in the hands of mechanics and fitters. Some with doubtful qualifications. We are willing to cut corners when it comes to building a house – a single biggest investment we are ever likely to make in our lives. We engage some artisans with questionable credentials. These days we take chances even with our souls and to some pastor with suspicious integrity.”
“However, when it comes to medical doctors, we want to be certain that they are well trained, have authentic qualifications. We do not want to take any chances with medical doctors of doubtful qualifications. This is not surprising. Good health is fundamental to all we do and hope to do. It is the reason, access to quality health is a right that is enshrined in the constitution,” he noted
The President of the Medical Women’s Association of Ghana, Dr. Marion Okoh-Owusu, said the Committee had agreed to honour Dr Susan Ofori-Atta on December 8 every year, the birthday of Dr Ofori-Atta, as a special day for female doctors.
“Female doctors positively impact Ghana’s health system and continue to deliver results in diverse fields of practice,” she said and added that the Association was mentoring female science students to become medical doctors in future.
Dr Susan Ofori-Atta was the daughter of Nana Sir Ofori-Atta I, the Okyenhene of the Akyem Abuakwa, a traditional kingdom that he ruled from 1912 until his death in 1943.
Besides her successful medical career, Dr Ofori-Atta was also actively involved in issues affecting the country and served in the consultative assembly that drafted the Constitution of the Second Republic.