The University of Cape Coast has graduated 56 qualified medical doctors at the First Session of the 51st Congregation dedicated to the School of Medical Sciences (SMS).
The fresh graduates made up of 35 males and 21 females were conferred with Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB, ChB) degrees after successfully completing their six-year programme. This brings the total number of medical doctors produced by UCCSMS to 299 since its inception in 2007.
UCCSMS Producing Quality Doctors
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chancellor, Sir (Dr) Sam Jonah, commended UCCSMS for contributing immensely towards the training of critical manpower for the health sector and also producing cultured medical doctors. “I have no doubt in my mind that these newly qualified professionals, young and energetic are ready to team up with their seniors and colleagues already in the field to augment medical care delivery to Ghanaians” he noted. He was optimistic that the newly-trained medical doctors would help improve upon the doctor-patient ratio in the country.
International Recognition of UCC Certificate
Sir (Dr) Jonah indicated that the MBChB Programme run by UCCSMS has gained international recognition with the enrolment of students from sub-Saharan Africa. “We anticipate that in the near future, the best doctors on the continent would have received their training at the University of Cape Coast,” he indicated.
Appeal for Government’s Support
The Chancellor acknowledged the support of government over the years; however, he noted that the University could only train more medical doctors if the stalled structures for the School were completed. He also appealed to the government to give the University special dispensation to recruit some categories of specialties to augment the teaching and non-teaching staff. “The request is in line with the University’s goal to meet international standards in quality of higher education delivery to an appreciable level” he stressed.
UCCSMS Products Making Positive Impact
In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, said there have been good reports about the performance and conduct of UCCSMS products due to the rich curriculum of the School. He said the Modular System of delivering the curriculum was one of the key and unique features of the School. He again mentioned that through the Community-Based Experience and Service (CoBES) programme, the medical students were exposed to rural communities to help sharpen their research skills. “This mode also builds in them the virtue of empathy as they offer services to rural communities within their service catchment area,” he explained.
Achievements of UCCSMS
Prof. Ampiah said UCCSMS has consistently been recording over 95% pass rate in the professional examinations. “It is gratifying also to note that over 60% of our first batch of doctors are in various stages of postgraduate training,” he said. Prof. Ampiah announced that UCCSMS placed second at the Inter-Medical School Public Speaking Competition held in 2018.
Prof. Ampiah said UCCSMS continued to gain more recognition and visibility through collaboration with top notch universities around the world in areas medical education and research as well joint extension services with Ghanaian and International Institutions. He said the School signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Anhui University, China whiles the Department of Community Medicine initiated collaboration with San Diego State University on Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) Programme. He further indicated that the School organised a number of training workshops for medical doctors, physician assistants, nurses, laboratory technologists and medical students on various topics.
Regional Recruitment of Health Professionals
The Director of Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, stated that the Service would soon be giving recruitment quotas to the region and health facilities to advertise and manage the recruitment process “Health workers who have been granted financial clearance and wish to work with GHS would have to go to their preferred regions to compete for the available slots/vacancies as GHS will no longer post health workers from headquarters,” he added.
Advice to the Graduates
Dr. Asare reminded the fresh medical doctors that Ghanaians would be looking up to them in their quest to maintain or restore their health. He called on them to accept the challenge of serving Ghanaians in the deprived and underserved areas where their services would be most needed. He advised them to exhibit the highest standards of professionalism and commitment to the provision of quality and accessible health services.
Dr. Asare assured of the support of GHS saying “We as leadership for health delivery in the country will continue to do our best and provide the needed platform and solid foundation for resilient and sustainable health systems for all other well-meaning partners to contribute”.
Best Graduating Students
Three outstanding graduates were presented certificates and cash prizes at the congregation with Dr. Lotachi Ugwunwa Onyemenam emerging as the overall graduating student with 15 awards out of 21 awards. Dr. Akorfa Ama Wotordzor received five awards whilst Dr. Amanda Naa Atwei Bruce-Adjei received one.