The Medical and Dental Council (MDC) is working on a number of policy reforms in line with professional regulatory best practices to ensure that all doctors working in Ghana meet the minimum competency standards to provide safe quality healthcare services in the public interest.
Some of these reforms include the conduct of objective structured clinical examination for foreign doctors in 2022 and common national licensing examinations for both locally and foreign trained doctors, dentists, and physician assistants in 2025.
These policy reforms were informed by a report on joint visits undertaken in 2017 by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and the Council to some of the countries where Ghanaian doctors and dentists are trained in significant numbers.These followed observations that the quality of some of the doctors trained outside the country left much to be desired, according to the Registrar, MDC, Dr Divine N. Banyubala.
“Now, generally we have had problems relative to the quality of training of foreign trained doctors and dentists in most of these jurisdictions especially Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and China. These quality concerns are generating a lot of anxiety and disquiet among the professional fraternity,” he said.
The Registrar said this in an interview with Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday on the general concerns about the quality of training of doctors in some foreign countries and the activities of quack or unregistered doctors whose actions were putting the lives of many unsuspecting members of the public in grave danger.
Dr Banyubala explained that the major causes of the failure were that some of the candidates had poor knowledge in the various disciplines in medicine including poor knowledge in basic sciences and basic clinical skills, a claim which was corroborated by various Examiner’s Reports.
“Because of low standards of teaching in some of these foreign medical schools, these students come and fail over several attempts. As we speak some have even written more than ten times and still failed so the last Board took a decision in consonance with best practice to limit the number of times a candidate can write to five attempts,” he said.
According to him candidates who have attempted the registration examinations for five or more times, will not be eligible to participate in further examinations.
Dr Banyubala noted that some of the foreign medical schools admitted students with poor West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results and others who studied General Arts, Visual Arts, Agricultural Sciences, Technical and Vocational Skills (Carpentry, Building Construction), among others
According to him, some of the WASSCE results slips used to secure the admissions were Ds, Es, and Fs grades that are inadmissible for general university programmes in Ghana, talk less of Medicine.
Dr Banyubala said that these poor training standards were not limited to Ghana, adding that member Councils of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA) share the same frustrations and concerns.
“The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria issued a new directive in December last year making a structured clinical attachment in specified hospitals at the cost of the prospective candidates prior to sitting their licensure assessment examination compulsory irrespective of country of training,” he said.