A delegation from the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, Banjul, in The Gambia is in Ghana to learn from the experiences of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons as the Gambia prepares to establish its first postgraduate College in their country.
At a brief event to begin their study tour of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeon today August 2, 2021, in Accra, The medical director of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, Prof. Ousman Nyan said the team will learn about the challenges Ghana faced in the early stages of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.
“It’s about setting up and of course the challenges they found during the early days of the college which we can be advised on where to go and where not to go. Take this route, don’t take that route, so we need people, we need funding and networks with training sites in setting up the college. And in terms of what are the best ways of working with different hospitals, the West African College of Physicians and Surgeons, all these things are the role Ghana has taken before in the college so in a sense, we are travelling the same route but with the advantage of Ghana’s hindsight and how they would have done it if they were to do it again”.
On why Ghana was their preferred choice, Professor Nyan added that “it is true that Ghana in the West Africa particularly in Anglophone West Africa has always been the citadel of training. I had my training here in Korle-Bu teaching hospital and through the support of my mentors and teachers, we have supported some of our doctors from the Gambia for specialist training here so the capacity, the experience and the network all informed the selection of Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, the standards are there.”
The rector of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, Prof. Richard Adanu said since the establishment of the school in 2003, it has trained one thousand two hundred and twenty-one (1,221) specialists in various specialities and one hundred and thirty-six (136) in the senior specialist category.
He however added that “the numbers might sound huge but given the number of Ghana’s population, we still need to increase the training of specialist doctors in the country”.
Professor Adanu is hopeful that the Gambia will be able to learn from the challenges of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons so they avoid those challenges in establishing their first postgraduate college.
“I think one crucial thing is the support of government for the training of specialist doctors because over here the government funds the postgraduate specialist training by providing an annual budget to the college based on the number of people we are training, and that is very crucial and also the support of specialists in the country because all the specialists in the teaching hospitals provide training and examination for the postgraduate doctors and they are doing this with commitment although they are paid small allowances. So you need the support of the government and the support of the specialists in the country for early postgraduate medical college to be successful and that is what I will like to see Gambian colleagues have in place”.
The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons was set up in 2003 under former president John Agyekum Kufuor as the national postgraduate medical college to train specialist doctors in medicine and surgery.
So far over one thousand two hundred specialists in various specialities and one hundred and thirty-six in the senior specialist category have been trained. The college has also trained specialists from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Liberia, Ivory Coast and the Gambia.
Training by the college has been boosted in recent times by the commitment of the government of President Akufo-Add when they redeemed a promise made to doctors in Ghana that government will fully sponsor their specialist postgraduate training.