More Doctors Quitting Consulting Rooms For Parliament
At a time Africa, and for that matter Ghana, is working to stop most of its professionals from leaving for greener pastures abroad, others who chose to stay are abandoning their professions for politics.
One of such professions is medicine, where doctors are speedily disappearing from the consulting rooms in droves for mainstream politics.
But The Anchor has observed, the medical practitioners are not the only professionals deserting their fields, but others, like the lecturers and lawyers are also leaving lecture halls, as well as chambers respectively, for politics.
A report by the World Bank in September 2022 indicates that the doctor – patients’ ratio of Ghana is 1:1000; a situation the Ghana Medical and Dental Association has described as dire.
At the last count, there are over 11 medical doctors aspiring to be MP, from different constituencies across the country, who have,so far, picked nomination forms to compete in the NDC’s parliamentary election.
They include the immediate past General Secretary of Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Titus Beyuo, who is contesting for the Lambussie seat in the Upper West Region, Dr. Winfred KorleteyBaahfor Lower ManyaKrobo and Dr. Roland Taylor for Essikado-Ketan.
Others areDr. Prince Arhin for Mfantseman, Dr. Abubakari Bawah Abdulai for Karaga and Dr. Thomas WinsumAnabah for the Garu seat in the Upper East Region.
The rest are Dr. Senanu Kwesi Djokotofor the Keta Constituency, Dr. Robert Doh for Ho Central and Dr. YennusomMaalug for Kintampo North, among others.
It is however unclear what may be contributing to this worrying trend and turn of events.
Over the years, doctors, nurses and other health professionals are said to be one of the most sought-after professionals abroad.
This claim has encouraged many of them, coupled with the poor working condition and low income here, to leave for the developed countries after training, making the fight against brain drain more challenging.
Interestingly, a good number of them who stayed and could have helped to reduce the appalling patient-doctor ratio, have also opted to join politics and in this instance the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary primaries, hoping to enter the august House in 2025.
Some have said that a similar thing will happen in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) when it opens nomination for parliamentary-hopefuls later this year. There are also fearsthat the phenomenon, if not checked, could cripple the health sector faster than expected, leaving the consulting room, a lot poorer.
Even though this is not the first time such is happening, it seems this year’s is on the high side, especially from the NDC side of the argument. In Parliament today and in the past, there have been a good number of such medical practitioners making laws for the country.
Chief among them are the Members of Parliament (MPs) for Korley-Klottey constituency, Dr.Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, Manhyia South constituency Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who is the Energy Minister, and first timer Dr. Dickson Adomako-Kissi of the Anya-Sowutuom constituency, among others.
A popular medical practitioner, SodziSodzi Tettey, has expressed excitement about this move by his colleagues to enter into different a field of work, saying it will make the NDC better and enhance Ghana’s Parliament.
In a social media post, the physician wrote: “So exciting to see many social democrats in the medical profession step up and out to contest the upcoming NDC primaries. A major boost for the fortunes of the National Democratic Congress and wonderful prospects for the country’s Parliament eventually. The Ghana we want will need all hands-on deck! Knowing many of these colleagues personally, I am excited for the NDC! Wishing you well in the primaries, guys! It is time indeed!”
The NDC’s parliamentary primaries slated for May 13 has attracted several of these heavyweight doctors, like the resigned General Secretary of GMA, Dr. Titus Beyuo as a parliamentary-hopeful for the Lambusie constituency in the Upper West Region.
The now former GMA national executive took many by surprise when news went viral that he had picked forms to contest the seat, being held by another doctor from the NPP side, Dr. Bright BakyeYelvielBaligi.
He made the announcement weeks ago in a Facebook post, portions of it which read “In furtherance of this decision, I have today Wednesday 22nd February 2023, picked up nomination forms to contest the Parliamentary Primaries of the great National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Lambussie Constituency.
Arriving at this decision was an uphill task, but the support and encouragement received from my family, Traditional leaders in the Lambussie Traditional Council, Party Leadership at the National, Regional, Constituency, and Branch Levels, and friends during the consultative process, made this less difficult.”
He added, “I seek the mandate of our party through our elected representatives (delegates) to lead the party in the 2024 Parliamentary Election to wrestle the parliamentary seat from the NPP and contribute to the developmental agenda of the next NDC government for the people of Ghana and Lambussie.
I am fully persuaded that the social democratic governance of the NDC holds the key to the alleviation of extreme poverty, provision of healthcare to all, restoration of the economy, and above all ensuring fairness and equity in the distribution of the national cake.”
The next constituency that has attracted a medical practitioner is the Mfantseman constituency, which was occupied by the late MP for the area,Ekow Hayford, who was killed by armed robbers after a campaign tour in 2020.
Dr. Prince Arhin has picked nomination forms and on the ground campaigning to unseat the first-time MP, in the event that he crosses the first hurdle by winning the primary.
The incumbent and former police officer, Ophelia Hayford, beat the NDC’s James Essuonin the 2020 elections to retain it for the governing party.
Interestingly, in the Essikado-Ketan constituency, which has been held by the NPP’s Joe Ghartey for a long time, is being eyed by two medical doctors from the NDC side. Dr. Roland Taylor and Dr. Grace Ayensu-Danquah, will battle it out at the primary before thinking of unseating the incumbent.
Much is not known about Dr. Taylor, but this is not the first time Dr.Ayensu-Danquah will be seeking to occupy that seat.
In the 2020 general elections, she slugged it out with the incumbent, but the MP was declared winner, following which there was allegation of rigging and subsequently a court action. At the end of it all, the NDC candidate lost and was fined GHc20, 000 by the Sekondi High Court.
At the Garu Constituency in the Upper East Region, a former Administrator of the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, also known as Ridge Hospital, Dr. Thomas WinsumAnabah, has picked nomination forms to contest that seat.
The former Administrator can be remembered for the drama that characterized his removal from office when government changed in 2017.
Dr.Anabah will be contesting the incumbent, Albert AlalzuugaAkuka, a comrade from his party, who was reelected in the 2020 elections.
In the Keta constituency, Dr.Senanu Kwesi Dzokoto will be competing with others and, if successful, contest in the general elections next year. Dr.Dzokoto has the task to beat the incumbent, Kwame DzordzorGakpey, and others such as a young businessman, Kojo Jones Mensah, who have nomination picked forms for the contest this May.
Another medical doctor who is also waiting to leave the medical profession for politics is Dr. Madison Adanusa, who has picked forms for the Gomoa Central constituency NDC contest. The Gomoa Central parliamentary seat is currently occupied by an NPP MP, NaanaEyiah Quansah.
At Ho Central constituency in the Volta Region, which happens to be a stronghold of the NDC, Dr. Robert Doh has also picked nomination forms to contest it.
The seat is occupied by Benjamin Komla Kpodo. Coming from a region that is a stronghold of the party, it is always said that all one needs to do in such contests is to ensure they win and they are a step away from joining Parliament.
Another medical doctor in the person of Dr. Winfred KorleteyBaah, is also aspiring to enter Parliament through the Lower ManyaKrobo constituency in the Eastern Region. The seat is occupied by an experienced MP, Ebenezer Okletey Teye Larbi.
Another medical practitioner, Dr. Abubakar BawahAbdulai, is also lacing his boots to contest the Karaga constituency on the ticket of the NDC. A newly-promoted minister-designate at the Ministry of Finance, Mohammed Amin Adam, is the occupant of the seat. He snatched the seat from the NDC, which prides the constituency as one of its safe seats, but lost it in the last elections.
Dr. Amin Adam, who until recently was a deputy minister for energy, is a first-time MP. Then there is also a former Medical Director at the Kintampo Municipal Hospital and practitioner at the 37 Military Hospital Dr.YennusomMaalug. He is contesting the Kintampo North constituency, hoping to unseat the incumbent, Joseph Kwame Kumah, an NDC MP.