Another response to my piece ‘Postgraduate medical training in Ghana: Who are we deceiving?’

Another response to my piece ‘Postgraduate medical training in Ghana: Who are we deceiving?’ Read below:

I will share some more experiences with you. Feel free to share.

I have commented on the ongoing discussion about whether a member of the Ghana College can be an accredited trainer in some circumstances. Let me share some further personal experiences in the UK with you. I’m not in anyway denigrating whatever happens in Ghana because I need to find out a bit more.

I was a 5th Year post-MRCOG trainee. On my return to work after a holiday in Ghana, my Consultant excitedly told me about what had happened when I was away for three weeks. He had asked a Sri Lankan middle grade doctor called Raj to help him with his theatre list in my absence. He asked Raj if he was comfortable with doing vaginal hysterectomies. Raj replied in the affirmative, stating he had done many back in Sri Lanka, and a good number in the UK. The consultant asked him to do the case so he could find out how he did it. He was so impressed with Raj, he called it unofficially the Raj-modification of a VH.

He wanted me to learn from Raj so over a period of six weeks, he ensured there was one VH case that I operated on under the supervision of Raj. Here was a Senior Consultant who was prepared to learn from a Middle Grade Doctor but more than that, encouraged Raj to train others. What is the point here? A recognition that a non Consultant can have skills that will benefit the wider female population and to train others without a tag of trainer. This is skill transfer at its best and I was a beneficiary.

No names will be mentioned here but many years ago, a Surgical Trainee arrived in London from Ghana for further training and to help with his fellowship exams of the RCS. One night, he was woken up by his Professor when he was not on duty to come and observe an emergency splenectomy. When he arrived, he was asked if he had one before. He told the Prof he had done loads. Shocked, the Prof asked him to do it after which he the trainee became a trainer with splenectomies.

In both cases, skills were recognised and efforts made for them to be disseminated.

I worked in a hospital in the South of England in my 6th year of training in O & G. What I found interesting was this, that in competitive world of the surgical speciality, the Head of Dept was not a Consultant but an Associate Specialist, of Indian origin. This guy was recognised as a brilliant surgeon and when I met him at a social function, found him a pleasant chap. His surgical and management skills were recognised by his white peers who were happy for him to take the lead.

I think a group of Fellows of the GCPS should spend some time at Bator with a view to assessing what training is available there and its quality so that it can be accredited for training. This can only benefit trainees and most importantly, the women of the Motherland.

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