Students at the University of Ghana Medical School have expressed concern over the wording of a new document they are required to fill amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the students in an interaction with Dailymailgh.com said signing the document puts them at risk during their clinical rotation in this period of coronavirus.
According to the document, which is mandatory for every student to sign, the students are to note that they “face the same risk as full-time Health Workers” during their clinical rotations and will “agree to continue my training under these circumstances which will be the same during my professional life.”
Some of the students said they also deserve insurance as other health professionals during the clinicals and want authorities to take a second look at the document.
Below is a write-up from one of the students to Dailymailgh.com:
On 18th June, 2020, there was an orientation session organized for students of the University of Ghana Medical School which was focused on briefing the students concerning the COVID-19 situation and how to adapt to the new normal.
Students were required to do thorough handwashing and temperatures were checked before entry. In the course of the meeting, the Dean of the Medical School (Prof. Margaret Lartey) made mention of a document to be signed by students. What was problematic about this document was the first and second paragraph which read: “I (Insert Full Name) a level 600 Medical Student recognize and acknowledge that during my Clinical Rotations, I face the same risk as full-time Health Workers. I agree to continue my training under these circumstances which will be the same during my professional life”.
The document does not make mention of insurance cover for students and when asked, the dean evaded the question about insurance and stated that if anyone did not feel comfortable with signing the documents, that individual can defer the course and come back when they are comfortable.
Personally, that was the first time I came across such a document and the words of the dean indirectly forced me and I believe many others to succumb to the pressure of signing the document just to avoid complications with the school authorities.
I believe that we should have been told about this document and given ample time to go through the document and analyze its legal implications as the intelligent students we are taught to be. Our questions about insurance should not be dismissed by the authorities and the school should not leave us to fend for ourselves when it comes to insurance because we are exposed to the same risk as all health workers (if not more) and for that an insurance package should be made available for students in case someone comes down with COVID-19.
I stand with and speak on behalf of those who also see the unfairness with regard to this stance taken by the school and I hope to see that students are also given an insurance package specifically for COVID-19 aside the basic healthcare provided by the school clinic. We are all human so let us humanely treat each other with the respect we all deserve. After all, we should all be equal under the law; some people should not be more equal than others.