Stay, accept postings to rural and deprived areas- Health Minister appeals to newly trained pharmacists

Newly qualified and registered pharmacists have been urged to stay and accept postings to rural and deprived areas while embracing digital technology as the bridge to deliver access to quality pharmaceutical care.

The Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe-Boye who gave the advice in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Minister, Alexander AkwasiAcquah, said that would help improve the healthcare system and makes it accessible to all Ghanaians.

He was speaking at the induction ceremony of 364 newly qualified and registered pharmacists organised by the Pharmacy Council in Accra, yesterday.

The inductees were from Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology (KNUST), University of Ghana, Central University College, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho and foreign trained pharmacists who had passed the August and December 2023 Ghana Pharmacy Professional Qualifying Examination.

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It was on the theme: ‘Universal Health Coverage: Embracing the Digital Frontiers to Leverage Access to Quality Healthcare.’

The minister said the lure of greener pasture outside the boarders of Ghana was prevalent and a significant portion of the agile pharmaceutical workforce were either gone or actively working towards exiting while there exists a yawning gap in pharmaceutical care offered to some practitioners in deprived areas of the country.

He underscored the need for health practitioners to stay and embrace digital technology, saying “It is a fact that digital technology is an enhancing tool to your presence and involvement and not a replacement of your much needed professional services.”

He assured them of the ministry’s support to navigate this challenge and admonished them to strive to achieve high quality of care in their daily professional life while building their personal and group capacities aimed at improving efficiency of their operations.

“Dear inductees, the future is bright if you keep focus and do not fall to the temptation of overindulging in the social aspects of digitalisation at the expense of your patients and profession.

Embrace the positives and reduce the negatives of digital technology in the discharge of your professional duties to ensure the nation derives maximum benefits of your professional services,” the minister added.

The former President of Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, and the Chief Executive Officer, of Rock Chemists Ltd, Mr Thomas BoatengAppiagyei who was the guest of honour said embracing the digital frontiers required a continuous commitment to critical thinking, creative thinking and solutions thinking.

He challenged the newly qualified pharmacists to think critically, creatively and come up with real technology-driven solutions anywhere they find themselves as pharmacists.

The Acting Registrar of the Pharmacy Council, Dr Daniel AmaningDabquah congratulated the newly qualified pharmacists and urged them to be guided by the “Apothecary’s Oath” aimed at upholding the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, and patient care, and make valuable contributions to the healthcare system.

At the end of the induction, Dr Kate Coleman-Sarfo, Consultant Clinical Pharmacist at the 37 Military Hospital, was awarded the 2022/2023 preceptor of the year, sponsored by the Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Dr Nana Yaw Wireko-Ampong received the Law, Ethics and Policies Award whiles Dr Michael OpokuFordjour won the Pharmacy Practice Award and the John Ocran Award for being the overall best candidate.

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