The Ghana Doctors and Dentists Association UK (GDDA-UK) is a charitable Organization formed in 2006. It was established for Doctors and Dentists of Ghanaian origin, ancestry, heritage or affiliation who are resident in the UK.
The organization aims to speak with one voice for all its members in various aspects of their lives and careers in the UK, as well as contribute to Ghana’s health sector. Since its first meeting, GDDA-UK has continued to grow into a vibrant organization incorporating nurses, lawyers and accountants into the organization.
The organization has embarked on social projects in education and community service with successful outcomes. Among these and many more, the Ghana Doctors and Dentist Association UK (GDDA-UK) were recognized by GUBA as the 2018 Association of the Year. The award was in recognition of their community service and dedication to improving health service delivery in Ghana and the UK.
GUBA got up close and gave the 2018 Association of Year Award recipients this platform to gain insight into how the award will enhance their work, some of their challenges and how they overcome them, as well as what to expect from them in the coming years.
How does it feel to be the recipient of the GUBA 2018 Association of the Year Award?
We feel very, very proud to have received this award. We never expected to be recognized for the work we have been doing since 2006. One never becomes a celebrity for being a doctor or a dentist and looking after people throughout their lives, so we did not expect the recognition. Our work is often very hard and we get little recognition for what we do. Being winners of the GUBA 2018 Association of the Year Award has incentivized us to do more for our country Ghana and enable patients to enjoy 21st century expectations in health care delivery.
How would you use being the recipient of this award to enhance the vision, mission and goals of your Association?
The vision of GDDA-UK is for us to collaborate in driving up standards of care in our Mother land. With this vision, we collaborate with likeminded colleagues and Health Boards in Ghana to help drive up standards of health care for our fellow Ghanaians.
We also have a mission to facilitate the improvement of the organization and delivery of health services. GDDA-UK yearns for the days when diaspora based doctors and dentists can join together and utilize the skill mix of Health Professionals both in and outside of Ghana, for the benefit of Ghanaians. With this recognition we have received from GUBA, it is our firm believe that those days are soon coming.
There is a rapid and transformational change in health delivery systems and modernization of old practices in many countries. As Health Professionals now and in the future, we need to uphold the traditions of truth, honesty, transparency and governance geared to the relief of pain and suffering of humanity.
Embracing new technologies and new ideas, new ways of thinking as well as utilization of people familiar with the new is part of the journey of improvement.
We urge governments and stakeholders to let us walk away from that backward step of saying in Ghana, “this is how we do it here”, and use cooperation and working together to share ideas to improve the health of the Ghanaian population at all levels.
What are the challenges you face and how are you able to run the Association despite these challenges?
Our biggest challenges are time and money constraints. Our work here is very demanding and we have limited money to fund the projects we want to undertake in Ghana.
We are able to fundraise by doing charity functions, selling raffle tickets, and soliciting funds from donors- which is very hard. In addition, we are in need an office space to facilitate our reach to Ghanaians and help improve health service delivery.
Also, one of our biggest challenges is apathy amongst health care professionals not already affiliated with us when it comes to joining our association and attending events. In order to see the type of changes we are passionate about, we need to amplify our voice. We would love to see more of our colleagues join us on our journey, we have more information via our website – https://www.gddauk.org/
What are your impressions of the GUBA Awards?
We reckon that the GUBA Awards is a very prestigious award. The Awards Ceremony itself was well attended and organized. It has helped increase our profile amongst the Ghanaian communities in the UK and Ghana. It has also opened doors for us which we will use to further liaise with the Ghanaian communities in the UK and Ghana to help improve their health care. We hope GUBA Awards will enhance our profile and open a few more doors for us
What should we look forward to from GDDA UK in the coming years?
We hope to collaborate with our peers in Ghana to work for the benefit of our Nation. We all recognize Ghana is what made us what we are today and got us where we are. We are sad to see standards slipping as there are several obstacles put in our way as we try and help to improve the health care at home. We are side lined when we try to engage with our colleagues.
Before independence, knowledge in various medical schools has always come from Britain and America. The University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS), KNUST Medical School and the other medical schools in Ghana had very high standards when we trained, and when we arrived in the UK, we found that we were ahead of our peers here knowledge wise. We realized we were trained to man district hospitals on our own in Ghana.
Our older Medical Compatriots had set very high standards which we are all proud of. Sadly, the economic situation in Ghana has led to unfavorable outcomes for patients sometimes. As regulations have not kept up, there is no redress for patients when things go wrong. Our idea is not one of compensation, but organization so patients can have some redress when things go wrong. We will like to work with our compatriots in Ghana to achieve this.
We will also like to help with Patient Education so that people in Ghana can begin to take responsibility for their own health as well. Last but not least, we will continue our charity work in Ghana and the UK at all levels.