The University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences (UCCSMS) has hosted and won the Eighth Inter-Medical Schools Public Speaking Competition.
This is the fifth time UCCSMS is winning the competition since its inception eight years ago.
The theme for the Eighth Competition was “Child Sexual Abuse in Ghana: The Extent of the Problem, Consequence and Proposed Solutions”.
Medical Schools from UCC, University of Ghana (UG), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and University for Development Studies (UDS) participated in the competition which was held at Auditorium 900, C. A. Ackah Lecture Theatre (CALT).
UCCSMS was represented by Ms. Regina Ahunu-Armah and Ms Nana Amma Kwansa whiles Mr. De-Graft Kwaku Ofosu Boateng and Ms. Olivia Esinam Kushitor competed for KNUST. Ms. Tawiah Danquah Ewurama and Mr. Louis Banahene Owusu represented UG. The competitors for UDS were Rashida Gomda and Kipo Mantu Norbert.
UCCSMS emerged winners of the competition with 86 points, with KNUST placing second with 82.5 points whiles UG was third with 82 points and UDS was fourth with 72.5 points.For their prize, the winners would spend four weeks at the St Patrick’s University Hospital in Ireland for an exchange programme in Psychiatry.
The competition which is held annually is sponsored by the St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services in Dublin, Ireland with support from Vincent Agyapong Foundation, University of Alberta, UK Aid, Ministry of Health, Ghana, and Mental Health Authority, Ghana.
The competition is aimed at encouraging medical students to develop interest in Psychiatry as their field of specialty.
Presentation by UCCSM Representatives
The UCC representatives in their presentation said cases of children sexual abuse could be minimised with the setting up of an integrated system to provide services to victims at one place. According to them, most victims of sexual abuse had to go through cumbersome processes before receiving the needed services from institutions of state like health facilities, Police Service and the Law Courts.
They, therefore, proposed to the Mental Health Authority to establish what they termed as “Obaatanpa Integrated Care Centre” to provide multidisciplinary approach towards the rehabilitation and seeking justice for the victim.
According to them, the proposed centre should be established in all existing health facilities, from the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) Compound up to the Teaching Hospitals in the country to provide services to victims of sexual abuse
They explained that “The Centre will have a Medical Department to examine and attend to the health needs of the victim; a Psychosocial Department to offer counselling services; Legal and Police component to handle prosecution of perpetrators and Media office to educate people to refrain from the act.
UCCSMS Stands Tall among Competing Medical Schools
The Vice-Chancellor of UCC, Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, commended the competitors for their wonderful presentations. “I saw the deployment of rationale reasoning and compelling evidence in action” he noted. Prof Ampiah however, indicated that among the competitors, UCCSMS stood tall, adding that “I agree with the judges that the group that exhibited the best skill of research into organising and presenting information in a compelling fashion is truly the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences”
Prof. Ampiah said he was touched by UCCSMS contestants’ solution to address child sexual abuse, indicating that “Their solution of care at one place really touched my heart so I think we need to think carefully about the Obaatanpa Integrated Integrated Care”
The Vice-Chancellor urged the medical students to take interest in building a career in Psychiatry. He said that UCC through the School of Medical Sciences would continue to champion Mental Health by putting on a blue ribbon as proposed by the debate team.
A representative of the Mental Health Authority, Ghana, Dr. Kojo Obeng, said the authority has an obligation under law to attract people into the field of Mental Health but added that the challenge was the interest of the medical doctors. “We have a large number of nurses into mental health but it’s difficult to get people who spend six to seven years of their lives with the passion of their entire family backing them to ignore other fields of Medicine to study Psychiatry.”
Dr. Obeng noted that for the past eight years, since this programme started running, there has been a reverse in this trend. “Year after year you see young Medical students come to this programme and speak passionately about mental health issues” he noted. He was hopeful that most of the medical students who have been attending the programme have made a decision to be Psychiatrists. “The number of Psychiatrists in this country is abysmal and most of you are going to fill this void and this will make a dramatic difference in the quality of care given to the most vulnerable in our society,” he added.
Present at the function was the Vice Dean, UCCSMS, Dr. Samuel Acquah, Coordinator of UCCSMS Public Speaking Competition, Mr. Christian Ackom and some heads of department of UCCSMS and lecturers and students from the competing Universities.