Professor Aaron Lante Lawson, a Professor of Anatomy at the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS), has proposed the adoption of a faculty practice plan by Academic Medical Centres (AMCs).
The plan, he said, would ensure that an organised structure was formalised between medical schools and their affiliated teaching hospitals.
Prof. Lawson, who is also a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS), said the plan would also ensure that clinical or professional skills of faculty members were maintained and provided economic incentive and reimbursement for professional services.
“The medical school, university, faculty, and hospital stand to benefit in the long run,” he said when he delivered an inaugural lecture of the GAAS in Accra on Thursday, June 30, 2022.
The lecture was on the topic: “Establishment of Academic Medical Centres in Ghana.”
Since 1973, all newly elected Fellows of the GAAS have had to deliver an Inaugural Address before other Fellows and invited guests in furtherance of the Academy’s objective to promote the study, extension, and dissemination of knowledge of the Arts and Sciences.
Prof. Lawson urged the AMCs to include old professors and teachers in their practice plans, adding that “their rich experience must always be tapped to help groom the next generation of clinicians.”
While recognising efforts by the country to set up and run academic medical centres for the past decades, he said the concept had not been fully embraced and operationalised successfully.
He attributed the situation to several factors, including what he described as presence of a cultural difference between academia and health.
Prof. Lawson said while universities with health training institutions had largely focused on their academic mission of education and research, the hospitals had focused on their clinical mission; excellence in health service delivery.
“Bringing the two cultures together to make them understand and complement each other has been an arduous task,” he noted.
Prof. Lawson said the transition from Regional Hospitals to Teaching Hospitals had largely not been matched by a commensurate expansion of physical infrastructure and human resource base to cater for the needs of the respective health training institutions.
He said the teaching hospitals needed “massive infrastructural upgrades” to make them function efficiently and meet the needs of affiliated schools.
Prof. Lawson also expressed concerns about what he described as the existence of major differences in the administrative and governance structures of medical schools and teaching hospitals.
He observed that while the universities operated under their respective ACTS and were guided by statutes, the teaching hospitals operated under the Ghana Health Service and Teaching Hospitals ACT (Act 525) and its amended version, Act 1009.
He said the country must learn from best practices and put good governance and operational structures in place.
The structures, he added must be backed by law to ensure that there was synergy between the University/Medical School and the Teaching Hospital in respect of the tripartite mission.