I took over the running of the School of Radiologic Technology from 1981 as a newly qualified tutor. The then training officer, Mr. E.B Ephson who took over when the expatriates left, had taken appointment with the Ghana Medical School at the time I resumed work. There were a set of students in training who were stranded so the Head of Department asked me to take over.
There were no handing over notes, no syllabus, no books and I had to use the United Kingdom Society of Radiographers Syllabus, modified to suit the local training programme based on the type of examinations being done at the time. The School had one classroom and an office for the Training Officer both located in the Radiology (X-Ray) Department. There were a few rickety desks and chairs all in one (similar to the type used in some primary schools). There was also a blackboard built into the wall of the classroom.
There was no clear indication as to who was responsible for the School. Sometimes Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital Administration allowed the Training Officer to request for stationery alongside the Radiology Department, other times they refused. The Ministry of Health had no scheme of service for tutors so I had to carry out my clinical duties as well as train the students.
The School never had a budget allocation and therefore there were no books, stationery and furniture. Without money, there was not much one could do but I did not give up. At a point the School was nicknamed “Mrs. Duah’s School or “”Mrs. Duah’s Academy”. This is because I decided what happened in the School most of the time.
Enrolment into the School was done by the Human Resources Division of the Ministry of Health in consultation with the Training Officer. Students with the requisite qualification were enrolled into the School once in every three years, this is because the X-ray services were not well developed and there were fewer radiographers in the department to assist with the training.
Allowances for the students were paid by the Ministry of Health. Training was for three years and at the end students were awarded Proficiency Certificates by Ministry of Health and were called “X-Ray Operators. Transfer of students was done by the Human Resources Division of Ministry of Health.
Before I took charge of the School, X-ray Operators were posted to various hospitals after the second year of training to practise and then back to the School at the end of the third year to write their final examinations. Sometimes examination papers were posted to the Senior Medical Officer of the hospital to supervise and post back to the Training Officer for marking.
When I took over in the early 1980’s, I made sure that no student left the School till they were qualified. However able students were put on night duties in the X-ray Department at Korle-Bu Hospital as the department had to run a twenty-four hours service and there were few Radiographers and X-ray Operators. Some weekend duties were performed by the Senior Pupil X-ray Operators and the Training Officer.
I left for leave without pay from 1983 to 1988 when the late Mr. A.K Buady had returned after a tutors course in the UK and continued from where I left off. When I resumed work in 1989, the Head of the Radiology Department, the late Prof. Kwabena Boateng Jumah wrote to me to take over the running of the School as students were on strike for some reasons that they were not pleased with. So I took over the running of the School again,
The Philips Project, arranged by the Government of Ghana, scattered radiology equipment all over hospitals in the country. Some nurses, darkroom technical assistants and some other workers in some hospitals were trained for two weeks to use the X-ray equipment. Something very awful happened. Untrained hospital workers to use X-ray equipment. I at once suggested to the Human Resources Division of Ministry of Health that we need to admit trainees yearly to increase numbers. More Radiographers were to be trained outside Ghana and the yearly intake for the Technician grade was introduced. Some already qualified X-ray Operators were sent to Nigeria, Cuba and the Republic of South Africa to train fully as Radiographers till the School of Allied Health Sciences started in Ghana. They returned to assist with the training of local personnel
As a result of the yearly intake and the expansion in the numbers of trainees, a budget allocation was made for the School in the early 2000 and the School came under the Greater Accra Regional Health Services. The budget allowed the School to engage the services of part-time tutors. Dr. Amuasi, Dr. Kyere and the late Mr. Nani from the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Kwabenya taught Radiation Physics, teachers from St. Mary’s Senior High School, Korle Gonno, taught Physics. One Mr. Appiah was of tremendous help. Dr. Eric Ofori, who has now joined the School of Allied Health Sciences, was also from St. Mary’s Senior High School while other teachers who came from Accra Academy, taught different courses when the Diploma Programme started. With the budget allocation, allowances could be paid even though it was not much.
As student numbers increased, they planned activities to celebrate the ‘World Radiography Week’ as done in other parts of the world. On some occasions, students mounted photo exhibition at the Out Patient Department (O.P.D) at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to educate the public on what radiographers do. They also visited some second cycle institutions in Accra to educate students on radiography and encouraged them to opt for radiography as a career.
There was the need to break the myth surrounding X-rays and encourage females into the profession. The students and teachers did this very well. Today we have a number of female radiographers who have passed through the School, have got married and have children.
Mr. James Kobina Quainoo (now Dr. James Kobina Quainoo), a Radiographer who attended a tutorship course at the University of Cape Coast in 1994, came back with the information that because of the JHS(JSS) and the SHS(SSS) concept, tertiary institutions would be required to award Diplomas at the end of a training programme. He therefore encouraged the late Mr. A.K Buady and I to draw a diploma programme curriculum. The three of us met at the Radiology Department on Saturdays to write the curriculum for which we were not paid but for the love of the profession. After completing a draft for the diploma, we went on to draw up another for a degree programme.
About the following year, Dr. J.D Otoo, the then Director of Human Resources Development Division (HRDD) (now Human Resources and Health Development Directorate, HRHD) of Ministry of Health, arranged workshops for the writing of diploma curricula for the various Training Institutions within the Ministry of Health. He engaged the services of Consultants from University of Cape Coast to help with the writing of the curricula. They assisted us to organize the curricula into courses, code them and also set into semesters. Presentation of the Radiography curricula to the University of Ghana was done by Mrs. Agnes Odonkor, the then Chief Radiographer and late Prof. Kwabena Boateng Jumah, the then Head of Department of Radiology, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
The diploma programme started in 2001/2002 academic year, about two years before the degree programme. The diploma was later brought under the Department of Radiography, School of Allied Health Sciences for accreditation and award of certificates by the University of Ghana. All inventories of the diploma programme were passed on to the School of Allied Health Sciences.
When the degree programme started I had to teach the radiography specific courses. Dr. Eric Ofori continued to teach Physics at both diploma and degree levels, while the late Mr. Emmanuel Kwaku Nani taught Radiation Physics
I had to act as the in-charge of the Radiography Department and took care of both the diploma and degree programmes while at the same the Chief Radiographer of the Radiology Department. I carried out these three responsibilities until Mr. Lawrence Arthur returned from the UK after his postgraduate studies. I continued my substantive post as the Chief Radiographer while coordinating the diploma programme and Mr. Arthur was then appointed as the Acting Head of the Department of Radiography, till I retired voluntarily from Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in 2006 to join the School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Ghana permanently. I finally retired from the School in 2009.
The International Society of Radiographers and Radiologic Technologists (ISRRT) Book Trust donated books to the certificate programme while some more books were donated by another Book Trust in the United States of America (USA). Teaching films and film markers were donated by some radiographers in the UK. Whenever I attended an ISRRT Workshops, I returned with some books to augment the stock the School had.
Let me appreciate the different people who assisted in the growth of radiography in the country. All radiographers who trained abroad and could had earned a good living should they have worked in those countries, yet returned home to assist with the School. Teachers from St. Mary’s , Accra Academy and other Senior High Schools who taught the non-clinical courses and were happy to be associated with Health Training Institutions that is within Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the personnel from GAEC who travelled all the way from Kwabenya to teach, Mr. J.O Quaye who taught the students in the clinical area, Mr. E.B Ephson who continued to teach into a ripe age of more than 70 years after retiring from Nuclear Medicine Department of the Medical School and the late Mr. A.K Buady who contributed immensely.
DR. J.D Otoo, the then Director of Human Resources, deserves a big pat on the shoulder for taking such a great interest in the development of radiography and made sure that scholarships were awarded for the training of radiographers outside the country during his term of office. He really challenged me to stay and continue the training of local technicians in the midst of all the difficulties faced. Above all, he proposed the setting up of the School of Allied Health Sciences to the University of Ghana. Dr. Ken Sagoe who took over from Dr. Otoo also continued with the good work started by his predecessor.
If I joined the School of Allied Health Sciences, it was because Prof. Edwin K. Wiredu forced me to. I have no regrets. I learnt a lot the few years I spent in the School. I am very grateful to all.
We did our best without any financial reward but with dedication to push radiography to the degree level. The young ones should be challenged by what we were able to do when there was nothing and move radiography to greater heights in Ghana.