Beginning this academic year, the dentistry programme at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) will be full fee-paying.
According to the Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, Prof. W.O. Ellis, the situation was due to the escalating cost of training students on the programme.
Speaking at the joint oath swearing ceremony of newly trained doctors of the School of Medical Sciences (SMS) and dental surgeons of the Dental School of KNUST last Saturday, the Vice-Chancellor said, “This means our patrons will be paying a bit higher than the normal fees.”
Explaining the development further in an interview with the Daily Graphic, Prof. Ellis said the cost of training dentists was higher than that for any other programme at KNUST.
“For instance, every student on the programme needs at least two dentist chairs, which are very expensive. We have tried to look at how to overcome the challenge but, for now, no meaningful success has been achieved,” he said.
The situation notwithstanding, Prof. Ellis said the university would continue to look at other areas of funding, “so that at a point when we have more resources we can revert to the old system of fee payment”.
A total of 111 doctors, made up of 104 medical doctors, and seven dental surgeons, passed out, bringing the total number of doctors trained at the SMS to 1,874 medical doctors and 15 dental surgeons.
Among the doctors were 12 non-Ghanaians.
The best student award in the MBChB programme went to Dr Ebenezer Kwabena Agyapong, while the overall best student in the Dentistry programme went to Dr Bernice Wilson.
Prof Ellis stated that due to the pressure on the university to provide more avenues for medical training, it continued to adopt effective strategies to meet the challenge.
One of the measures, he said, was the collaboration with the Ashanti Regional Directorate of Health to enable KNUST to train its health students at some selected satellite hospitals within the Kumasi metropolis.
He said plans were also underway for the construction of a classroom complex at the clinical students’ hostel at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to enable the university to accommodate more students for training.
He advised the new doctors against taking undue advantage of the ignorant and vulnerable in society to make nonsense of the Hippocratic Oath.
The Executive Vice-President of Golden Star Resources, Mr Daniel Owiredu, who was the guest speaker at the ceremony, stressed that the Hippocratic Oath demanded of the doctors high moral and ethical delivery.
Mr Owiredu, who is also the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said medical practice should involve empowering communities to adopt healthier lifestyles.
The Provost of the College of Health Sciences of KNUST, Prof E. Tsiri Agbenyega, said the training of doctors came with many challenges, adding, however, that “we were able to overcome them”.