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Physician assistants in Ghana

E.T. Adjase, MD, MPH PAs are well accepted in Ghana and form the bedrock for primary care throughout the country. Excerpt:

In Ghana, physician assistant (PA) refers to three distinct groups of healthcare professionals trained in the medical model to practice medicine and dentistry: PA–Medical, also known as medical assistants; PA–Dental, also known as community oral health officers; and PA– Anesthesia, also known as nurse anesthetists. In the past, these healthcare professionals were trained exclusively by health training institutions under the Ministry of Health with the aim to extend care to the people in areas that had few or no physicians.

The first training programs started in the mid-1960s on an ad hoc basis. By the late 1960s, a formal and more structured training program for these providers began at Kintampo in response to the acute shortage of physicians and the maldistribution of the health workforce in general. In 1969, the Ministry of Health established the Rural Health Training School at Kintampo. This school (now called the College of Health and Well-Being at Kintampo) trains professional nurses on the medical generalist model (an 18-month program) to care for rural and underserved populations. At the time, these clinicians were called health center superintendents because they were trained specifically to work in the health centers dotted across the country. For access to the entire article, sign up to become a member.

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