The University of Health and Allied Sciences graduated 829 students from the 2021/2022 Sandwich track, during the Second Session of its 7th Congregation on May 20. This comprised six postgraduates and 351 undergraduates from the School of Public Health, 469 from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, and some Regular track students from other programmes.
The University, as per tradition, also conferred an honorary Doctor of Science degree on Professor Ernest Aryeetey, who delivered the annual John Evans Atta Mills Lecture the previous day, for his “immense contribution to education, research and institutional development.”
Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Secretary-General of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), was the Guest Speaker. He told the graduates that the world of work has changed, and that they are graduating at a time when it is more difficult to land good jobs. He challenged them to therefore adapt to those changes by marketing their skills and making themselves recognizable.
“Today you struggle getting a job not because your degree is worthless, but you struggle because Ghana has not changed to accommodate you; therefore, you have to change,” he said.
In an era of brain drain in Ghana, especially among health professionals, he also advised the graduates to use new technologies to open doors of opportunities for themselves, while staying in Ghana: “Today it is possible to be a Ghanaian living in Ghana and influence your profession outside of Ghana through technology. There is a much bigger world out there waiting for you.”
Welcoming the graduates, Chairman of Council, Justice Victor J.M. Dotse, applauded the Sandwich batch, which is made up of already working professionals, for their perseverance in combining work, studies and family in their quest to upgrade themselves. He said UHAS, as an institution that promotes life-long learning, would “continue to provide an academic environment in which students develop and attain the highest standard of clinical competency and skills, integrity, ethical relationship and professional etiquette necessary for healthcare delivery, in line with global standards.”
He called on the graduates to see themselves as assets to the nation, who work diligently and ethically to the satisfaction of their clients and Ghana while raising higher, the banner of their alma mater.
Vice Chancellor Professor Lydia Aziato said, in her report, that Management is working harder with all stakeholders to ensure that the University is on track to deliver on its mandate: “In this regard, we are committed to strengthening the foundations laid by our predecessors and expanding on our network and collaborators as we journey along.”
She noted that as the university journeys along, its current staff strength of 864 has become woefully inadequate; she pleaded with government to grant the financial clearance to recruit more. The VC added that students and faculty of UHAS continue to lift high the banner of the institution as trailblazers wherever they are, and advised these graduates to be guided by the ethos and values of the University: “Humble yourself and learn from all the people you meet in your practice.”
Valedictorian for the 2021/2022 Sandwich cohort, Ms. Regina Amanor of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, said their experiences in UHAS have carved them well as the preferred health workers in their various institutions. She advised her colleagues not to merely satisfy their statuses with their newly acquired certificates, but rather, use this as a means of satisfying their clients and society at large.
She also advised them to help change the bad narrative about health professionals in Ghana and, instead, carve out a good name for them: “Personally, I see this stage as a call to duty to mother Ghana and beyond. Let us not leave the knowledge and skills we have acquired to rust.”