Outflow of Medical Professional is disturbing – Okyenhene
Outflow of Medical Professional: Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori-Panin has expressed his concern about the significant rate of medical professionals leaving Ghana, resulting in a brain drain phenomenon.
Speaking at the 2023 Retreat for the Medical Superintendent Group in the Eastern Region, the Okyenhene emphasized that this trend would have devastating consequences for the nation’s health system.
Okyenhene Amoatia Ofori-Panin highlighted that in 2019, Ghana had approximately 3,236 medical doctors serving a population of around 30 million, which significantly falls short of acceptable standards for the doctor-patient ratio.
He further referenced a 2015 study indicating that a staggering 13,584 African-trained medical graduates were practicing in the United States alone, equivalent to approximately one African-educated physician migrating to the US daily over the past decade.
Notably, 86% of these African-educated physicians in the US were trained in Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa.
The Okyenhene emphasized the concerning fact that the countries benefiting from the migration of African doctors do not bear the cost of training them.
For instance, one out of every ten doctors working in the UK originates from Africa, resulting in an estimated savings of 2.7 billion dollars in training costs for the UK.
He stressed that this loss is significant for Ghana and other African countries.
Okyenhene Amoatia Ofori-Panin firmly believes that the future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe or America.
He highlighted that Ghana currently has a ratio of 9 doctors per 100,000 patients, while the United States employs half of the English-speaking doctors in the world and seeks to hire one million more healthcare workers in the next 15 years, coincidentally the exact number needed for sub-Saharan Africa to meet the sustainable development goals.
Additionally, the Okyenhene expressed alarm regarding the rise of lifestyle-related deaths in Africa.
He observed that while the continent has made progress in combating communicable diseases such as Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Polio, there has been a significant increase in lifestyle diseases.
Diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, previously associated with the urban and affluent population, have silently infiltrated many corners of Africa.
These diseases, driven by unhealthy diets, tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity, now account for 70% of global deaths.
The Okyenhene warned that Africa is on the verge of experiencing the world’s largest increase in deaths from lifestyle diseases within the next decade.
The Okyenhene emphasized that this situation poses a serious threat to Ghana’s national economy as it hampers poverty reduction efforts and the achievement of sustainable development goals.
He noted that the already strained health system would be unable to effectively cope with the increasing burden of these diseases.
Despite the challenges, Okyenhene Amoatia Ofori-Panin emphasized the importance of the government’s continued investment in public health.
He cited recent initiatives such as the establishment of the National Vaccine Institute, the Agenda 111 project, which aims to build hospitals in every district.
The establishment of medical drone centers for the distribution of blood and medicines, the provision of free specialist postgraduate medical training, and the deployment of over 300 ambulances across the country as evidence of the government’s commitment to providing quality and accessible healthcare for the people.
The retreat focused on the theme “Enhancing Hospital Management Systems for Improved Health Care Delivery.”
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