By: Fred Kojo Kyeremeh
GAJ – The Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation of North America (GPSF) celebrated its 15th year anniversary with a Conference and Fundraising Dinner-Dance at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia on the weekend of April 21. The theme of the occasion was: New and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health and Security: Role of African Diaspora.
GPSF was established in 2002 to support the mission of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS) which was established by an Act of Parliament in 2002 to provide quality postgraduate training in Medicine in Ghana.
GPSF also serves as an advocacy group to influence health policy and educate the general public about numerous health care issues in Ghana and Africa. The foundation supports many non-profit health initiatives in Ghana by Ghanaian and other health professionals in North America.
The President of the GPSF, Dr. Leticia Otchere-Darko during her opening remarks expressed her gratitude to the Second Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Samira Bawumia for graciously accommodating their invitation to participate in their event at a short notice. She also thanked the members present for traveling from far and near to attend this year’s event.
Dr. Otchere-Darko emphasized that this year’s theme seeks to shine some light on the critical role that the African Diaspora can play, such as the GPSF’s Diaspora Medical Corps Mission to Tarkwa, Ghana in helping to prevent and also control the effects of raging epidemics that have devastated different regions of the continent. She underscored the increasing vulnerability of the world to the threats of transnational infectious disease outbreaks and to global health and security. She expressed the hope that by the end of the conference, members would become keenly aware of the role they can play to stem the tide against these global threats.
The Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs. Samira Bawumia was the Guest of Honor. In her keynote address on the topic: Practice in Africa: How to Make a Difference in Healthcare in the Motherland, she encouraged the medical personnel to visit Ghana often and provide their services to the various medical institutions, especially, the three Northern regions, since they are the most deprived. She also touched on the evolution of innovative services such as Telemedicine, where doctors can utilize technology to render services to patients without having to physically travel to see them. Mrs. Bawumia who had earlier visited with Medshare, an Atlanta based NGO that delivers surplus medical supplies and equipment to communities around the world, spoke highly of the sustainable ways in which Medshare supports communities around the world. She congratulated the GPSF for all the services they continue to provide and thanked them for inviting her to speak with them.
The two-day conference was not only a celebration of the GPSF’s achievements over the past 15 years. It was methodically structured to include lectures that covered wide ranging topics such as Social intervention programs in Ghana by various Physician owned NGO’s; Water Sanitation in Ghana; Preparing for Disease Outbreaks such as Ebola; Improving Financial Health; Scientific Writing; Eradicating Malaria; Global Health and Security; Emerging Infectious Diseases; Cervical Cancer Prevention, Sustainable Tuberculosis Treatment Programs, among others.
The Speakers at the event were drawn from the diverse experts among the membership of the GPSF and other health practitioners from the United States, Ghana and Nigeria. Among the notable speakers at the event were Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, a Founding President of the GPSF and Founder and President of FOCOS Hospital in Ghana. Other invited guests included Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director General, Ghana Health Services, Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule, Rector of the Ghana College of Phisicians and Surgeons, Dr. Frank Ankobea, Vice President, Ghana Medical Association, Professor Aaron Lawson, CEO, University of Ghana Medical Center, Dr. Ken Sagoe, Consultant, Ministry of Health.
The event culminated with a Special Fundraising Dinner-Dance. The members of the GPSF defied the oft-assumed notion that medical doctors are “all work and no play.” With the help of Satirist Clifford Owusu, the Doctors laughed and danced into the wee hours of the night at the end of the purpose-driven occasion.
Source: The Ghanaian American Journal (GAJ)