Lead research on COVID-19 solutions – Okoe Boye to physicians and surgeons

A Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has encouraged physicians and surgeons to carry out research and lead efforts towards the development of solutions to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.

He said the government will readily support all such efforts.

“I’d like to encourage the fellows and members of the Ghana college of Physicians and Surgeons to embark on extensive research on the pandemic and begin to profile locally generated evidence for decision making. It will be beneficial to Ghanaians if we are able to garner local data to define evidence-based policies which will strengthen our resolve and ability to defeat the virus,” he said.

Speaking at the 17th Annual General and Scientific Meeting of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons on the theme, ‘Improving Access to Healthcare Systems in the New Normal: Embracing Technology’, Dr Okoe Boye further stressed the need for physicians and surgeons to accept postings to rural communities.

“To the graduands, I charge you to accept postings in sub-urban and rural areas where the doctor-patient ratios are in dire need of improvement. I challenge you to develop solutions to our healthcare problems using locally appropriate and innovative technology. I’d also like to encourage you not to relent on transferring your knowledge and skills to your colleagues and juniors and also to the other players in the healthcare delivery system of Ghana,” the deputy minister said.

Ghana’s healthcare system has evolved with influences from stakeholders in the private sector, civil society organizations among others. Largely, the unexpected emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic globally has distorted many things and affected the delivery of healthcare services in the country.

Speaking at the same program, the Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, called on the private sector to partner with the government to bridge the gap between healthcare and technology, as the high cost of IT infrastructure and its maintenance remains a burden on the government especially in these COVID-19 times.

According to him, “the cost of IT infrastructure including maintenance is quite high. Therefore, the need for increased investment to close the IT infrastructure gap to help put the health sector in a much better position. In the current and post response to COVID-19, it will be essential for us to foster innovative partnership with civil society and the private sector, to address and progressively close the digital divide.”

His statement was seconded by the Vice-Chancellor for the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Professor John Owusu-Gyapong who also entreated physicians and surgeons to embrace the use of technology in their line of work especially in the era of the “new normal.”

The Acting Rector of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Henry J. Lawson assured that the college will continue to harness technology to actualize its mandate as much as possible to ensure the smooth running of healthcare in the country.

To attain Universal Health Coverage, Dr. Lawson called on government to continue to fund training for residential physicians and surgeons of the Institute.

The government in August released funds through the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat to cover the entire fees of residential physicians for the 2019/2020 academic year.
According to Dr Lawson, an intervention from government will help sustain the continuous running of the College.

The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons also elected 30 fellows to help improve access to healthcare. According to Dr. Henry J. Lawson, the College is putting plans in place to roll out the use of online submission procedures for all proposals and dissertations for Senior Residents adding that “the electronic logbook system is being revamped and will be re-launched next year.”

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