Health News of Tuesday, 7 August 2012
Physicians have been called to exhibit their attributes of compassionate and kindness to restore dignity to the profession and set new tone of respect that will attract other tempestuous ones into the profession.
“Acknowledging that we did not find all our way into this profession with the same motivation, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the principles that have guided our profession through the ages to the incredible scientific achievements we see today are not destroyed by those whose motives defeat the special privilege we hold as guardians of human health and lives”.
Professor Kwaku Ohene-Firmpong, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania, made the call when he opened the four-day Medical Knowledge Fiesta 2012, a continuing medical education conference for physicians in Ghana and abroad.
The conference on the theme “Cutting Edge Updates for Medical Practice in Ghana” is being organized by the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and its affiliates in North America.
Attended by Physicians and Surgeons from Ghana and the Diaspora, participants will share and update their knowledge on how to help improve the health service delivery in the country and the Sub-region.
Emeritus Prof. Ohene-Frimpong expressed his discomfort with the current direction in which the image of the profession was sliding and acknowledged the difficult working conditions under which physicians operates.
“I admit that the financial compensation for your work...will never appear sufficient but money seems to have become the leading cause of protest by doctors working in public health system”.
He urged them to ensure that their strike actions do not lead to harm or the death of patients, adding that, “That would be the most serious violations of the special obligation to all human beings embedded in the Hippocratic Oath”.
He outlined the three concepts framed in the context of the Hippocratic Oath –Science, Communication and Compassion, which were very critical in the discharge of the duties of every physician.
Emeritus Prof. Ohene-Frimpong explained that whilst culture may influence application of science and technology, it was dangerous to use the web of culture to distort scientific findings and ascribe untested and unproven conclusion to observation.
He admitted that there was a communication gap between doctors and their patients and there was the need to bridge that gap and called on the physicians to exhibit a strong sense of compassion towards the sick.
Dr Michael Oppong-Kusi, who represented the Africa Partners Medical, paid tribute to the past Ghanaian physicians who have lost their lives in line of duty and said physicians needed to have a sense of humility for there was a thin line between life and death.
Prof. George Wereko-Brobbey, President of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, called for the harmonization of the work in the francophone and Anglophone countries and commended the West Africa Health Organization for taking a lead in ensuring that.
Participants will be discussing topics on pediatrics, cardiology, clinical research, common psychiatric disorders, neonatal resuscitation, biostatistics and obstetric emergencies among others.**