Government, through the Scholarship Secretariat, has released GH¢6.85 million to pay the tuition fees of 918 resident doctors, dentists and other medical specialists undergoing training at the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS).
The amount constituted more than half of the GH¢11 million required by the College towards funding its activities for the 2019/2020 Academic Year.
The funding is in line with the terms and conditions of service agreement signed between Government and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) towards the training of resident doctors and other medical specialists, starting from 2018/2019 academic year.
At the launch of the Scholarships for Postgraduate Training for Residents of the GCPS at the Jubilee House, in Accra, on Thursday, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia said, Government is committed to providing funding for training of health professionals to ensure equitable distribution of health workers across the country.
Dr Bawumia said the training of health professionals is critical if any health system would survive overtime and underlined the need for enhanced collaboration between education and health sectors to ensure an adequate number of health workers.
The Vice President said government's funding for the postgraduate training is in fulfillment of a promise made by Nana Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the 2016 Elections.
He reaffirmed government's resolve towards providing healthcare infrastructure and human capital development to close the gap in the country's healthcare delivery.
Government would leverage on e-health as a good architecture for telemedicine to leapfrog development, Dr Bawumia said, adding that the country's ratio of 1:8000 (a doctor per population) was woefully below the World Health Organization's ratio of 1:1,320.
Barring any unforseen circumstances, Dr Bawumia said, in the next two months, government would commence construction work on the 88 district hospitals, seven regional hospitals and three Infectious Disease Centres in each of the three ecological zones.
This, he said, would ensure affordable and accessible healthcare services to all Ghanaians in accordance with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to ensure universal health coverage.
Dr Bawumia said the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the shortfalls of the country's health system and the Akufo-Addo-led government is determined to right the wrongs by investing heavily in physical health infrastructure and manpower development to enable the nation handle future medical catastrophes.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Health Minister, said the funding for postgraduate training would ensure equitable distribution of health professionals.
He said the nation required about 4,000 additional doctors to beef up the workforce of the health sector following government's plans to build 88 new district hospitals and seven regional hospitals, as well as three infectious disease centres in each of the ecological zones.
A minute silence was observed to honour the memory of Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule, the immediate past Rector of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and other frontline health workers who succumbed to the novel coronavirus.