Thirteen newly recruited medical doctors posted to the Central Region failed to report for duty last year.
The Central Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Alexis Nang-Beifubah, who disclosed this in Cape Coast yesterday, attributed their refusal to report to the lack of incentive packages for doctors, a proper health management system, low economic activities in the area, among others.
He, therefore, underscored the need for “practical strategies among stakeholders to address the canker to avoid a time bomb which could explode, embarrassingly, in our faces one day”.
The region currently has less than 40 medical doctors manning the 429 health facilities in the area.
Dr. Nang-Beifubah was addressing the 2018 Central Regional Health Sector Annual Performance Review meeting on the theme: “Achieving universal health coverage: The role of stakeholders”.
The three-day meeting is to enable stakeholders in the health sector to discuss their performance, examine indicators, identify gaps and develop consensus on priority issues needed to improve performance.
According to Dr. Nang-Beifubah, the directorate, with support from metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the region, had proposed and designed some incentive packages for doctors who would accept posting to the area to help address the “acute shortage of doctors in the region”.
“If we are to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) as a country and as a region, we need to pay closer attention to how we train human resource in the health sector, how we deploy them and how we remunerate them to ensure that we achieve equity in the distribution of personnel,” he added.
The director also expressed concern over delays in the reimbursement of National Health Insurance claims to health facilities in the region.
“If we are to truly eliminate finance as a barrier to the achievement of UHC, the authority must rethink its financing arrangements and ensure that facilities are reimbursed timeously to enable them to procure medicines and other logistics needed to provide quality essential services for the people,” he said.
He added that the current situation where the government was not providing funds for service delivery was also hampering effective healthcare services in the region.
Inadequate health facilities
Dr. Nang-Beifubah said currently there were eight districts without hospitals, while 10 clinics built were yet to be inaugurated.
“The other critical issues that warrant the attention of our stakeholders for concerted action include the escalating cost of utility tariffs and the incessant pressure being put on our health facilities to pay upfront for these utility costs, notwithstanding government’s policy on the issue,” he said.
For his part, the Director of Human Resource of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Margaret Chebere, said one of the challenges facing the health sector was poor leadership, particularly at the district level.
She said the service would, from this year, start a training programme for all personnel to build their capacities.
The Paramount Chief of the Owirenkyiman Traditional Area, Ehunabobrim Nana Prah Agyensaim VI, commended health personnel, particularly those who worked in remote parts of the region, for their sacrifice and commitment to duty.
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