Ho-based neurosurgeon, Dr. Richard Abrahamani Seidu, has petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) over the refusal of the Medical and Dental Council (MDC) to grant him a practicing licence.
Dr. Seidu who was trained in China, says since 2015 when he applied to the MDC to be granted licence to practice in the country, he has heard nothing from the regulatory body.
As he continues to wait in earnest for that opportunity, Dr. Seidu, who returned to country in June 2018 after his PhD programme in China, is now a taxi driver in the Ho Municipality of the Volta region.
He converted his vehicle, a Nissan Almera, into a taxi cab. The back screen has the inscription “Only God.”
“In fact, the human beings I am fighting are stronger than me so I have to rely on God to fight this battle,” he told Myjoyonline.
According to him, several universities including private ones that he applied to for a job, refused to make him an offer unless he secures clearance from the MDC.
Asked if what he makes from driving taxi is enough for him, Dr. Seidu replied: “It’s not enough but I can’t do anything; I needed to make a living. I have come back [from abroad] and I need to make a living and I can’t go and steal too.”
Abuse of power
His petition to CHRAJ accuses the MDC of violating his fundamental human rights and freedoms as well as abusing the powers vested in it as a council, by denying him the opportunity to participate in the certification examination.
That would afford him the opportunity to practice in Ghana as a neurosurgeon since he has no intentions of leaving the country, the petition indicated.
Dr. Seidu told Myjoyonline that he began his medication at the University for Development Studies and finished up with his clinicals at the University of Ghana Medical School, Korle Bu. He said while working at the Volta Regional Hospital in Ho as a House Officer, he got admission to study Neurosurgery in China.
“I therefore, would be grateful if the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) via the National Human Right Institution could…compel the MDC to all my letters detailing me the way forward with my certification, compel the MDC to organise the special examination for me since they have delayed me for 3 years now,” he stated.
He said he obtained his training in Neurosurgery between 2012 and 2015 at the Department of Neurosurgery at the First Affiliated Hospital of Yangtse University, Jingzhou, China. He also underwent further training at the Jiangbin Hospital, which is also affiliated to the same University from 2015-2017.
According to him, he became a fellow of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies after completing his postgraduate training at Sichuan University.
Maintaining the standard
Meanwhile, the Registrar at the Medical and Dental Council, Dr. Eli Atikpui, says the council will not yield to pressure from Dr. Seidu and grant him certification license against the high professional standard it has set for practitioners in the country.
The MDC has a mandate “to secure in the public interest, highest standard in the training and practice of medicine and dentistry in Ghana,” he said insisting that the doctor does not meet their qualification to be certified.
“In his case the answer is no. The training does not satisfy our standard and we cannot certify him,” he maintained when Myjoyonline reached him on phone for comment.
In Ghana, neurosurgeons are expected to train for a period of not less than 6 years. For those who trained outside the country, they are expected to work under the supervision of a certified neurosurgeon upon their return for a period of time before they can take the examination to be certified.
“It is when he is given the clearance that he can have a patient responsibility,” Dr. Atikpui explained.
The Council head says Dr. Seidu does not meet these requirements, and therefore, cannot be granted the licence to practice. However, he has the opportunity to make an appearance before the credentials committee on January 2019, to be cleared before he can take the examination.
“So at the end of the day, we do not just admit people to take council examination just for the sake of admitting people…“We need to really protect the integrity of the profession,” he vowed.