Health Professions Education Unit Organises Seminar

Representatives from Novartis in a group picture

The Health Professions Education Unit of the College of Health Sciences in collaboration with the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Ghana Business School has organised the 1st Health Professions Seminar Series on the topic “Sickle Cell Management and Africa’s Developmental Agenda” at the New Examinations Hall of the Charles Easmon Building, College of Health Sciences, Korle Bu. The lead Speaker at the Seminar was Dr. Patrice Matchaba, Group Head, Global Health and Corporate Responsibility for Novartis, Switzerland.

Dr. Jonathan Quartey, Head of the Health Professions Education Unit, in his welcome address stated that “health is wealth, hence any discussion about health must be a useful discussion”. He further indicated that the Health Professions Education was very essential for the development of the global workforce. He mentioned that the mandate of the Health Professions Education Unit is to work on broader functions of all health professions unlike the erstwhile Medical Education Unit. He acknowledged the good work done by the Medical Education Unit led by Professor Kobina Nkyekyer as Vice Dean of the Unit.

Dr. Jonathan Quartey, Head, Health Professions Education Unit

Dr. Quartey said the Unit has a representative each from all the constituent institutions of the College. He indicated that with the support from the Deans, Directors and Heads of Department of the College, the Unit intends to gradually and systematically strengthen the education of health professionals through designing and administering academic programmes, promoting education, research and innovation that include student support, student assessment, programme evaluation, faculty development as well as policy and curriculum development.

The Chairman for the Seminar and Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Rev. Prof. Patrick F. Ayeh-Kumi expressed his excitement for a good attendance of the Seminar. He indicated the University’s preparedness to partner industry to undertake cutting-edge research that will help better the lives of people. He was delighted that Novartis was also ready to partner the College in several ways that would be mutually beneficial to all. He urged faculty to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunity Novartis is offering the College and make the best of it.

Reverend Professor Patrick F. Ayeh-Kumi, Provost

In Dr. Matchaba’s presentation, he explained the important of the seminar to Novartis. He stated that Novartis was one of the largest Pharmaceutical organisations by both market capitalization and sales. He indicated that the company’s purpose was to discover new medicines and make them available at the right price and make innovation affordable and accessible.

He indicated that Novartis was in the lead of manufacturing drugs for malaria, leprosy, sickle cell disease (SCD). He stated that approximately, 80% of individuals with SCD globally are born in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than half of affected individuals die before the age of five due to preventable complications. He added that the first gene therapy for sickle cell disease was done in Africa.

Dr. Patrice Matchaba

He was full of praise for the government of Ghana led by the President His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Vice-President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Minister of Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu for their support and commitment to the fight against sickle cell disease.

A cross section of the audience

In attendance were Professor Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, President of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana and Programme Coordinator at the National Newborn Screening Programme for Sickle Cell Disease, Professor Solomon Fiifi Ofori-Acquah, Dean of the School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences (SBAHS), College of Health Sciences, and a prominent sickle cell disease scholar, Professor Robert Hinson, Head, Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Ghana Business School and representatives from Novartis, a global healthcare company in Switzerland.