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Regional News of Friday, 16 August 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

Mountcrest University ventures into medical training

Mountcrest University College (MCU) has shot into the annals of education in Ghana by becoming the first private tertiary institution to train students in medical and health sciences.

The ambitious initiative, which involves the establishment of a school of medical and health sciences and teaching hospital, is aimed at producing more doctors and health professionals to help address the country’s critical need for that category of human resource.

Currently, there are five schools of medical and health sciences in the country – all of them public institutions - at the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast, University of Development Studies and the University of Health and Allied Sciences.

With a population of 24 million, Ghana needs 12 schools of medical and health sciences, given the World Health Organisation (WHO) criterion of one school of medical and health sciences per two to three million people.

Private tertiary institutions normally shy away from programmes in medicine and health sciences due to the huge cost implication in the provision of infrastructure, equipment and logistics.

But although it admits that challenge, especially in just two years after its establishment, the MCU has taken the bull by the horns to lay claim to such historic laurel.

It anticipates that the allied health sciences programmes, namely, Nursing, Midwifery, Psychiatric Nursing, Physician Assistants and Medical Laboratory, will begin in March 2014, while the medicine programme is expected to roll out in 2016, by which time, the construction of a teaching hospital and other requisite facilities would have been delivered.

The MCU School of Medical and Health Sciences, to be situated at Larteh in the Eastern Region, will help address the critical need for doctors and allied health workers in the country.

Sod-cutting ceremony

A sod-cutting ceremony at Larteh last Wednesday for the construction of the school attracted many dignitaries, including the Eastern Regional Minister, Ms Helen Adjoa Ntoso; a Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Mr Murtala Mohammed, and the Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Albert Don-Chebe.

Other dignitaries were the Paramount Chiefs of Larteh, Aburi and Okere, Nana Asiedu Okoo, Nana Gyan Kwasi and Nana Otutu Kono, respectively.

As Ms Ntoso cut the sod for work to begin, the gathering applauded loudly, not only because MCU is the first private tertiary institution to establish a medical school in the country, but also the fact that the historic feat was taking place at Larteh in the Eastern Region.

“As Regional Minister, I wish to highly commend the founder and management of MCU for this great vision of building the School of Medical and Health Sciences at Larteh,” Ms Ntoso said.

“I associate myself with the noble vision and wish MCU success as you embark on this project, which, to all intents and purposes, will contribute to healthcare delivery within and outside the shores of Ghana,” she added.

Vision

The vision of the MCU management is to make the School of Medical and Health Sciences “the centre-piece of and the magnet for a burgeoning healthcare industry, providing for the needs of Ghana and beyond, and attracting more to the ancient town of Larteh”.

It also seeks to make the school play a major role in advancing research, given that research is the hallmark of world- class schools of medicine and health sciences.

The Rector of MCU, Professor Joseph Atsu Ayee, said the aim of the school was to develop a world-class medical and health practitioners who, in an inspiring, cutting-edge learning environment, would fulfill their potential and make real, lasting contribution to health care in Ghana.

“We want to fulfill the dreams of our young people who want to pursue a career in the healthcare profession,” he said.

In line with its ambition, the MCU is sponsoring some graduate students in Anatomy and Medical Biochemistry to pursue postgraduate studies to form the nucleus of the academic staff of the school by the time of take-off in 2016.

And with a renowned Ghanaian Surgeon, Professor Emmanuel Q. Archampong, in the saddle as Consulting Dean, the MCU School of Medical and Health Sciences is poised to make significant contribution to healthcare delivery in the country.

Founder

For the founder of the MCU, Mr Kwaku Ansa-Asare, the sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of the school was a memorable occasion, and he could not but share the joy with his family, friends and well-wishers.

Mr Ansa-Asare, who is a former Director of the Ghana School of Law, expressed gratitude to God for making the project possible.

The Paramount Chief of Larteh, Nana Asiedu Okoo, said “it’s a great day for the people of Larteh”, and prayed that the project would be successful.