Practicing health professionals in the country have condemned the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the insensitive comments by its Public Relations Officer, Robert Cudjoe, concerning the inability to employ new doctors.
Mr Cudjoe is reported to have said that the 245 medical doctors who are clamouring for appointment after completing their internship are being too impatient.
“They only need a little bit of patience and I don’t think they have sat home for six months,” Mr Cudjoe told Class FM on Wednesday, 18 October.
“They’ve just completed their rotation, a letter [has been] sent to Finance Ministry, now we are only waiting for Finance to give us the greenlight to post them, they should be a little patient. … They can’t wait for a few months for their appointment to be done?” Mr Cudjoe wondered, adding: “If you have finished your rotation and you’ve been home for three months, do you need to go on air [about it]?”
“These young guys have completed barely two, three months of their rotation, and you are talking about forever. You know the Ministry of Health this year alone has recruited almost 16,000 nurses and other health professionals. Those who have sat home for close to five years have almost all been considered, so can’t we give this government a little thumb’s up? Can’t we appreciate what the government is doing? … Who can resolve all the problems in this world? It doesn’t happen. … It is the Finance Ministry that signs the letter so if they have not signed it, they have not called us for the letter, what do we do? Without the clearance letter you can’t post any doctor. … Can’t they have a little bit of patience?” Mr Cudjoe asked.
However, the comment has invited anger from practitioners who feel the remarks directed at the young doctors are in bad taste.
Dr Hardi Habdallah, a medical practitioner, who spoke on the same radio programme could not understand why such a response will come from a Ministry supervising a health sector that needs doctors to save lives.
“Honestly, I think they should shut up,” he said, adding: “I’m a bit saddened.”
He continued: “This is a country where we have a doctor to patient ratio averagely about 1: 10,000 and in other parts of the country, it is even worse…and we have the luxury to allow doctors who have already been in the system, for most house officers to sit at home.”
“I will describe it as scandalous for a third world country and a sub region lacking doctors. I’m a bit surprised that we have that luxury of telling doctors to sit at home without employing them,” he lamented.
“If I were part of the PRO of the various Ministries responsible for making sure that these doctors get to work, I will even keep quiet because I don’t see why someone will try to justify this. I mean, you can’t have any reason. I’m sure many doctors who came down to work and make sure that Ghana starts training doctors will be turning in their graves because it is disgrace,” he fumed.
One his part, Dr Nana Kissi Attafuah, host of Doctors, a health programme on Class 91.3 FM, concluded that government is not attaching importance to the health sector and rather toying with people’s lives.
He said: “One conclusion I come to is that nothing has changed, and we don’t learn our lessons because it is quite pathetic what my colleagues are going through. I remember about a year or two ago, we fought for this and we were assured then by those in power that this was not going to happen again so the question I am asking myself is why is this happening again?”
He emphasised that the agitation of the young doctors cannot be said to be political, as it was a matter of health of citizens and getting doctors that are lacking in Ghana employed.
“This has nothing to do with political party support or anything, these are basically doctors who need clearance to work and not about sabotaging any government,” he underscored.
Source; Class FM