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As MPs enact Council for Postgraduate Colleges…

Sierra Leone to train medical specialists

February 5, 2016 By Jariatu S. Bangura

Members of Parliament yesterday enacted the Sierra Leone Council for Postgraduate Colleges of Health Specialties Act 2015, which according to promoters of the bill would help the supervision and coordination of training of postgraduate health specialists.

Speaking in parliament ahead of the passage of the bill, Minster of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah, sais the Act would ensure that for the first time medical doctors are trained locally in specialised medical fields, as well as promote postgraduate studies among health workers, who would be deployed across the country.

He told lawmakers the Council would be established to promote specialist training in medicine, dentistry, midwifery and pharmacology, among diverse postgraduate health specialties.

He said government had been spending thousands of United States dollars to train doctors in specialist courses in Ghana and Nigeria teaching hospitals, and that at the end of their training some do not return to the country to serve.

“Our young doctors are becoming frustrated because of the non-availability of specialist training,” he said, adding that the training abroad was not only inconvenient but slow and too expensive in meeting the demands of 350 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Association.

Dr. Fofanah said the Act envisages that doctors who acquire postgraduate training would in turn lecture in the medical school.

He commended the World Bank for providing the initial funding for thye establishment of the college.

In his contribution, deputy chair of the Committee for Health and Sanitation, Hon. Alhassan Kamara of the ruling All Peoples Congress, acknowledged the country lacks specialist medical doctors, noting that the sole medical specialist in hemorrhagicfever was the late Dr. Sheik Umaru Khan who died of Ebola in 2014.

“As a nation we must not be afraid of challenges,” he said and added that the country needs the facilities, funding, and lecturers to teach vital courses as over 1000 doctors are need in the health sector.

He urged the new council to formulate policies for the promotion of continuous professional development in medicine, dentistry and the supervision and coordination of research in medicine.

Hon. Dr. Aiah Dabundeh, also a ruling party lawmaker, described the bill as “good” and “timely”.

Dr. Dabundeh added that billions of budgetary allocations to the health sector should be well utilised by officials, and noted that although government had sponsored doctors to train abroad very little impact could be shown for it on the lives of citizens.

Hon. Dauda J.B Kallon, ruling party lawmaker, said the benefit of the bill would be enormous because during the Ebola the country did not have enough specialised doctors, which caused lot of problems in the health sector and the attendant death of thousands.

“Lot of doctors sponsored abroad came in and established their private clinics and hospitals instead of working for government hospitals. Some doctors that are currently working in the country are of age and there is need to train upcoming doctors,” he said as part of the chorus of support for the bill.

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