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General News of Thursday, 26 April 2018


Wrongfully dismissed doctor cleared of mental disorder

Dr. Francis Ibrahim Betonsi was 'branded deranged' and given an indefinite suspension Dr. Francis Ibrahim Betonsi was 'branded deranged' and given an indefinite suspension

Starr News can confirm that the medical doctor who was accused of mental disorder and was “wrongfully dismissed” six years ago from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has been cleared as normal.

Dr. Francis Betonsi Ibrahim, who says he was tagged as having a delusional condition because he kicked against alleged attempts by some staff of the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital to extort Gh¢50 from a poor family as a fee for a blood transfusion, reportedly was sacked for refusing to go for another assessment even after four psychiatric tests had declared him mentally fit.

In April, this year, Dr. Ibrahim, who now lives on alms in the Upper East region since his dismissal in 2012, responded to a call by the Medical and Dental Council (MDC) for another assessment in Accra.

Two of Ghana’s finest professors— British-trained Prof. Joseph Bediako Asare, who once was Ghana’s Chief Psychiatrist, and American-trained Prof. Araba Sefa-Dedeh, described as Ghana’s most reputable clinical psychologist— were on the MDC’s Practice Committee that examined the young doctor in the latest review.

A post-review report compiled by the two professors, according to sources, points out that the highly intelligent doctor is fit to practise. Prof. Asare told Starr News the report had been passed on to relevant authorities within the Council for further action.

“We’ve sent the report to where the report has to go. They will be working on it. We have done the necessary things. It’s left for them to oblige,” said the country’s most senior psychiatrist.

The Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Council, Dr. Eli Kwasi Atikpui, confirmed receipt of the report in a Starr News interview on Wednesday. He said a copy of the report would be made available to Dr. Ibrahim when he appeared again before the Practice Committee.

“The report, by convention, would have to go back to the committee for consideration. I cannot make any comment until the report gets to the committee for further action. When he appears before the committee, the committee will provide him with a copy of the report,” Dr. Atikpui said.

Starving doctor to wait for another Two Months

A distressed Dr. Ibrahim, who told Starr News earlier this year he was dying from frustration, lost his mother, a midwife who could have supported her gifted son financially in his days of trial.

The well-read product of the University of Ghana Medical School saw his daughter, Sheila, driven away from school in the middle of the last term as he could not pay her fees.

To surmount the mounting stress, he spends his daytime either doing medical research or sitting with friends. Then, he returns home in the evening to reconnect with the silent torture of being unsure where his next meal will come from and when his anguish will end.

“My shoes are so bad that when I walk, my feet hurt me a lot,” the Commonwealth Hall fellow said recently as he took off an old pair of shoes, which had been reshaped like canoes by a regular walk on rough roads, to rest his exhausted body in a sofa.

The 6 years of torture Dr. FBI, as he is nicknamed by the initials of his name, has endured could be extended for another two months, if not far more, as the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council says the Practice Committee will not meet again until June, this year.

“At the next scheduled meeting of the Committee, the said report would be considered and instruction given as to the way forward. The Committee met on the 6th of April. Per the approved schedule of meetings and selected activities of Council as I have before me, the next scheduled meeting of the Committee is the 7th of June,” Dr. Atikpui stated.

Amnesty International calls for immediate Reinstatement, Compensation

Meanwhile, Amnesty International Ghana (AIG), who has been following the matter strongly together with some senior medical experts based in Germany and the United Kingdom, has asked that Dr. Ibrahim be reinstated and compensated “as soon as possible”.

Speaking to Starr News Thursday, the Director of Amnesty International Ghana, Robert Akoto Amoafo, said whilst the AIG appreciated the work done so far by the MDC it would also would keep its keen watch on reinstatement proceedings to check any acts of delay.

“We appreciate the amount of work that the Committee has done and we appreciate the fact that he went through the processes. We’re expecting that, as soon as possible, he will be reinstated in his position and all the benefits that he has lost over the period will be given back to him.

“As Amnesty International, we are monitoring and watching them closely. We hope that by the end of next month they would have reinstated him and paid all the loss he had incurred over the period,” the Director affirmed.

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