The Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, has expressed worry about the refusal of many medical doctors and other critical health staff to accept postings to the region.
According to him, the issue of the refusal of posting of doctors to the region had become a perennial problem, making almost all health professionals who served as regional directors of the directorate in the past and present to complain about it without a permanent solution to the problem.
Dr Dzoti stressed that apart from the refusal of doctors and other critical health staff to the region, the attrition rate of the few doctors in the region to southern parts of the country was among the major health challenges confronting the region.
He expressed these concerns at the 2020 Annual Performance Review Meeting held in Bolgatanga on Tuesday.
Dr Dzoti disclosed that the region currently has 45 medical doctors and 505 midwives which, he noted, was woefully inadequate to provide the necessary quality health services to the people.
“The doctor to population ratio in the region is 1:24,124, that is one doctor serving more than 24,000 people and midwife to women in facility age population ratio is 1:511 that is one midwife serving 511 pregnant women. There is also lack of financial clearance to recruit support staff and staff unwillingness to be posted to hard-to-reach areas especially nurses,” he stressed.
Dr Dzoti pointed out that since his assumption into office in the latter part of 2020, none of the three doctors who were posted to the region resumed work.
“When I was posted to the region, I was given three doctors but they have all refused to come. They have taken notice of my number and so if I call they do not answer. I have spoken to one, he is in Hohoe but the other two are nowhere to be found. As we are all aware, human resource remains the most important resource in every organisation, but in this region, the acute shortage of critical human resources such as medical doctors, specialist doctors, physician assistants of all categories, midwives, laboratory scientists, pharmacists and many more,” he lamented.
The Regional Director, therefore, called for collective approach from all major stakeholders to work to make the region attractive, design incentive packages to attract and retain critical health staff to the region.
The Deputy Regional Director of Health in-charge of Clinical Care, Dr Abdul-Razak Dokurugu, noted that there should be review of some regulations that would compel health professionals, especially medical doctors to work at where they have been posted.
He advocated that health professionals who refused to assume their rightly posted areas should not be paid by the Ghana Health Service and should be removed from the service.
This, he said, would give the doctors no choice than to work at where they have been posted.
Dr Samuel Kaba, Director for Institutional Care Division, Ghana Health Service, Accra, who spoke on behalf of Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, noted that doctors’ refusal to work at certain areas had been a serious challenge.
He disclosed that a proposal has been made to the Ministry of Finance for approval to ensure that incentive packages were made available for health professionals working in hard-to-reach areas.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA