Former President John Dramani Mahama has been explaining the rationale behind a decision the National Democratic Congress government took to include some Muslim women in a list of Ghanaian students who were supposed to be trained as doctors in Cuba.
The doctors were sent to Cuba during the NDC government under the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills in 2012 as part of a special arrangement between Ghana and Cuba.
This included selected girls from deprived communities, who were to receive training in the area of Gynaecology.
The doctors returned to the country over the weekend after over six years of training in Cuba.
Speaking at the Al Sunna Eid Prayers as part of the of Eid ul Adha celebration in Accra, the former President said the women doctors were deliberately sent to specifically cater for the needs of women when they return to their communities.
“About six years ago, we got scholarships to send some children to Cuba to go and train as doctors. There was something significant that we did when we got the scholarship. We decided to deliberately source girls from the Muslim communities in order that we could go and train them as doctors especially in the area of Gynaecology…So we deliberately looked for some Muslim girls and included them in this batch of students who went to Cuba. We had to strategically place them so that our mothers from the Muslim community and others who want to consult for their reproductive health can have our sisters who are qualified as doctors to be able to look after them.”
The Minority in Parliament had asked the government to “quickly absorb” the over 200 doctors who have returned to Ghana after years of training in Cuba.
The Ranking Member for Parliament’s Health Committee, Kwabena MinAkandoh in a statement said the government must not frustrate the new doctors who are ready and willing to work.
The Akufo-Addo Government has also announced a 50 percent quota for women in an agreement which will have 400 people from Zongo communities across the country train in Cuba as medical doctors.
According to the government, 40 students will benefit from the initiative each year for the next 10 years as part of a programme by the Ghanaian and Cuban governments to increase the number of doctors in Ghana
The Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who made the announcement says the decision is in line with the government’s plan to give equal opportunities to women.
“With these arrangements, we can be assured that, for the next decade, at least 400 of our medical doctors in Ghana will come from Zongo, inner cities and deprived communities. When the modalities and discussions are complete, we will wish that the majority of the beneficiaries chosen in this program will be women. Actually, what we are saying is that, at least, 50 percent should be women and 50 percent should be men.”