Now that Ghana has two Veterinary Medical Schools to train Veterinary Surgeons, one may perhaps have hopes that this will herald the new era of solving the problem of inadequate veterinary surgeons.
The irony is that, this is not the case. Many of budding Veterinary Surgeons and Veterinary Medical Students do not know their fate after graduating from the Veterinary Medical School.
The normal trajectory for them is to be posted by the Veterinary Medical Council to do their housemanship after graduation under the supervision of qualified and experience Veterinary Surgeon. However, for the past seven months the immediate graduate veterinary surgeons have not received their posting. These graduates are totaling 18, 10 from University of Ghana and 8 from KNUST. And those who have graduated 2015 have not been engaged. As it stands now, there are 12 and 8 veterinary medical students expected to graduate from UG and KNUST respectively. The necessary authority to do the posting has not made an effort to post them.
It is on record that there is huge deficit of Veterinary Surgeon with sufficient clinical and scientific knowledge, and skills needed to respond to animal health and zoonotic challenges of Ghana as well as emerging and re-emerging diseases of economic and zoonotic importance. The short term measure of re-engaging retired Veterinary Surgeons is inadequate and even negligible in addressing the situation. Given the essential service of Veterinary Surgeons and the alarming deficit, it will be expected that the Necessary Authorities act appropriately, post these graduate Veterinary Surgeons, license them afterwards and subsequently post them to serve in their capacities as veterinary surgeons. Nothing of these has been done. This may be cumulating towards one thing; the authority does not care about developing the younger generation of veterinary surgeons, animal health and the health of the Ghanaian population.
The final year veterinary medical students that have less than five month to graduate are worried and do not know what is at stake for them after graduation. According to a 3rd clinical year student of University of Ghana Veterinary Medical Student “We don’t really know what the council is doing about our housemanship. The council is supposed to take charge, process and post us accordingly and spearhead our remuneration as house officers”. The pertinent questions to ask are; are they also going to add up to the graduates who have not being posted for housemanship? Why is there no posting for the House officers? Does the authority appreciate the relevance and contribution of these House Officers? Does the authority appreciate the effect of the deficit in the country? Is the authority not interested in registering graduate veterinary surgeon as Veterinary Surgeons to serve Mother Ghana? These are questions that need to be answered.
It will be in the interest of Ghana for the Veterinary Council to work accordingly toward the posting of graduate Veterinary Surgeons and act proactively to prevent any future undesirable situation of graduate veterinary Surgeon not posted for housemanship. There is evidence to show the impact of the Veterinary House Officers. The first batch of Veterinary house officers who were posted served in capacities such as providing medical care to food animals, carrying out meat inspections, carrying out laboratory analysis, disease surveillance in wildlife and inspecting animals to prevent diseases, safeguard public health, support livestock farmers and contribute to protecting the good will of the Ghana in tourism and international trade in animal and animal products. A Veterinary Surgeon who graduated in 2015 when contacted had this to say “I identified and confiscated an anthrax carcass during my routine meat inspection as a House Officer saving farmers and the public from the lethal and economic effect of anthrax”. The rippling impact of the Veterinary House Officers cannot be under estimated.
Their housemanship is required for their development, the future of veterinary medical practice, the protection against diseases of animal origin and the promotion of holistic public health.
By Future Vet. Surgeons |Ghana