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The proposed amendment of ACT 857 by the medical and dental council (MDC) is a “mass murder in silence”.
Majority of Ghanaians are living in rural and deprived areas. The highest level you can access healthcare in these areas is a health centre manned by physician assistants without the supervision by any medical officer. This has been the case over the years in over 1000 health centres across the country with successful outcomes.
The patient-physician ratio is one of the burdens of the health sector which moved the then government to build more CHPS to help save the situation. Physician assistants have worked independently both in health centres and hospital settings all these years.
We went to bed only to wake up the next morning to hear the MDC, cruelly trying so hard to “murder” Ghanaians with the proposed amendment bill.
If this amendment is accepted by parliament and passed into a law, these are the meanings:
- Over 1000 medical officers must be posted by the Ghana Health Service to directly supervise every activity of the physician assistant because the autonomy of the physician assistant to practice medicine and dentistry is taken away and he/she cannot work alone.
- No nurse or midwife working under the Community-Based Health Planning and Services zones (CHPS) can also work alone except the direct supervision by a medical officer (meaning 1 CHPS : 1 medical officer). The two above are not achievable within the short term.
- All physician assistants in hospitals are not allowed to work alone as was the case previously.
- All the rural folks within the catchment areas of these health centres with a physician assistant without a doctor will now have to travel to the hard-to-access hospitals before getting medical care.
- The already burden of access to healthcare will now be tripled or quadrupled which will lead to failure of the masses to access care and therefore increasing the death toll.
- It is obvious that the officers at MDC pushing for this amendment do not understand the health situation in Ghana therefore trying to jeopardize or child-play with the health of Ghanaians.
- It is also clear that the MDC have lost its core mandate of “guiding the professions, protecting the public”.
The government as a matter of urgency must reject the bill, remove these officers from office and punish them severely for such a dangerous move.
By OBED SEFAH BOAKYE || PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT-MEDICAL.