Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has called for critical thinking and strategies by African countries to meet the health needs of her rapid population growth.
He noted that Africa’s population growth, which stood at 1.2 billion required immediate and critical thinking, to ensure the provision of quality, affordable and accessible primary healthcare.
Data from health service providers shows that Africa is witnessing the double burden of fighting communicable and non-communicable diseases in a resource-constrained environment, which called for urgent action to address it.
Vice President Bawumia expressed these concerns and called for action when addressing the 22nd Annual Conference of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA) at Senchi, near Akosombo.
The meeting is being attended by health professionals from Medical and Dental Councils from 22 African countries and participants drawn from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Liberia.
The Vice President said Africa’s population was increasing rapidly even though the fertility rates had declined, noting that by 2050, Africa would have the largest continent in the world with the quarter of the world’s population.
Currently, he said, Africa had the youngest population in the world; 60 per cent of her population was below 25.
“Therefore, we really need to think very carefully about how to emphasise the whole issue of primary health care, because if you don’t, fundamentally it becomes very difficult in terms of the economic constraints to deliver health care.
But if we focus on primary health care, as we have been told by all of you to do, then I think we will have a better handle on the higher population that our respective countries have to deal with in the not-too-distant future. 2050 is about 32 years away. It is not that far and with medical advances I’m sure most of us in this room may be alive to see 2050,”the Vice President observed.
Dr Bawumia underlined the need for the Continent to prepare adequately to meet the increasing population growth, with its attendant medical, educational and other needs, including human resource available.
Dr Bawumia said: “We have to see how we can improve our health care systems…we need about 1.3 million health professionals in Africa.”
He said there was the need to put in place the necessary infrastructure to train the requisite healthcare professionals to meet Africa’s rapid population growth.
Alluding to the challenges faced by medical personnel, especially doctors, trained outside Ghana, who have to write and pass a number of examinations before being allowed to practise in the country, Vice President Bawumia called on the Ghana Medical and Dental Council to put in place a system to accredit qualified training institutions across the world whose products meet the Ghanaian standard of training.
“Unfortunately, over the years, I am informed that results from Medical and Dental Council Ghana Registration Examinations for these foreign trained practitioners wishing to permanently practise in the country have shown varying competencies that raise quality and safety concerns.
“But I think ultimately, we have to be assured that, the schools which our potential doctors are trained abroad meet the requisite standards. That is something we should be thinking about,” the Vice President added.
He suggested that the Medical and Dental Council should look at the training schools around the world, and accept the products of the ones that meet the Ghanaian standards.
“So that for anybody deciding to go and train in any country, he or she will be aware that this or that school doesn’t meet the standard required in Ghana,” he advised.