Dr. Frank Ankobea, the President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), on Wednesday, said the future was bright for the Organisation in spite of the numerous challenges that confronted its members and the health sector in general.
The Association, he said, would however take bold steps into the future, guided by the toil and sacrifices of its forerunners and inspired by the determination and zealous support of its current membership and partners.
He said the GMA envisaged a strategically positioned Association that would maintain its role as a leader in the health sector, which was very relevant to its membership in meeting both their needs and aspirations, and further, playing a vital role with social partners such as government, employers, the media and civil society organisations to achieve quality health care for Ghanaians.
Dr Ankobea said this in an address at the official launch at the GMA’s 60th Anniversary celebrations in Accra which was on the theme: “The Role of GMA in Healthcare: 60 Years On”
The launch attracted several dignitaries including; Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, a Former Minister for Defence, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Professor Agyeman-Badu Akosa, also a former Director-General of the GHS among other health professional Associations.
Dr Ankobea paid a glowing tribute to all the vision bearers and foundation members of the Association, past Presidents, Fellows, Executive Committee, present Council members, National and Divisional Executives as well as the general membership for their hard work which had sustained the GMA till date.
He said the GMA had paid its dues to national development as an advocate, partner and an important labour union, with its members making various sacrifices and continued to do same to improve the health of the country.
It has also remained relevant over the years, being guided by the philosophy rooted in the belief that “the good health of the people of Ghana is the total wellbeing of the people and not the mere absence of disease”, and continuously sought to ensure this through participation in the development and maintenance of the highest possible standards of healthcare delivery.
“The Association has strived to maintain the honour, dignity and professionalism of the medical and dental professionals in Ghana through self-regulation of practitioners”, while remaining committed to the welfare of its members and other health professionals to achieve optimal heath care delivery, he said.
Dr Frank Ankobea said the theme for the celebrations, therefore presented a key opportunity for deeper reflections, and stressed the need for strengthened collaboration to address present challenges and gaps in the health sector in order to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals.
He noted that 60 years in the life of an organisation was a significant milestone that was worthy of celebration, giving a brief history of the GMA as the first professional association to be formed in jubilant post independent Ghana, and recognised by government.
He said the GMA had occupied its rightful place on the international front fostering global health through strategic partnerships and membership of international organisations such as the British, Commonwealth, World and the African Medical Associations respectively.
And as labour Union, it played diverse roles to improve on the working environment of its members and other health personnel, creating a harmonious industrial relations climate to the benefit of both employer and employee.
“The policy of the Association in industrial relations has always been one of dialogue and non- confrontational engagements, though in some instances the association had had to take painful decisions of withdrawal of services”.
He said Association played key roles in the negotiations for the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP), the first ever Codified Conditions of Service document and the launch of the Strategic document to guide activities of the Association, and also spearheaded the establishment of the various Medical Schools and institutions including the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The College, he said currently provided higher professional education to members, leading to a reduction in the brain drain of doctors and other health professionals to Europe and the USA for such academic advancements.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police Dr Ebenezer Ewusi-Emmim, the Chairman of Anniversary Planning Committee, said as part of the launch, there would be an anniversary lecture by Prof. Akosa, on the achievements of the GMA over the past 60 years, and a public lecture in July 2018 as well as divisional and national outreach programmes.
He said Eastern Division would host the 60th Anniversary Annual General Conference in Koforidua from November 7 to 11, 2018, and thanked all the Committee members for their dedication to the task of planning.
Mr Agyeman-Manu, on his part congratulated the Association for its numerous achievements, partnerships, role in national policy development, and commitment of members to quality health care delivery.
He however said called for further investment in the quest to attain UHC, saying that key facilities such as the Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds were already in place to ensure primary health care delivery, existing district and regional health facilities must be re-tooled for effective service delivery.