“Lack Of Medical Doctors In Some Districts: When Is This Going To Stop?

The Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign (UAHC) is calling on the Human Resource Directorates of the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service to explain why they should continue to receive their salaries when they cannot deploy medical doctors and other health professionals to some districts in the country. The Campaign’s checks indicate that, there is a dire need of doctors in some districts in the Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo and Volta Region and this has been the case for several years now. Currently, in the Upper West Region, four out of the eleven districts do not have a trained medical doctor. The four districts are Wa East, Dafiama-Busie-Issaah, Lambusie-Kane and Sissala West. The worst case is the Wa East District (Funsi), where it takes a patient about 80 kilometers to get to the nearest doctor in Tumu in the Sissala East District. Out of 27 districts in the Brong Ahafo region, five districts do not have a trained medical officer. The five districts are Banda, Asonafo South, Nkrankwata, Sene East and Dormaa West. For 2012 in the Upper East Region, though 15 doctors were posted to the region, only three reported and never stayed. (Source: 2012 Annual Report of Ghana Health Service, Upper East Region). According to the 2010 Ghana Health Services Facts & Figures Report, the Greater Accra Region has more of the scarce health professionals to the disadvantage of other regions. For instance, the Region has 820 doctors when some districts, as indicated above, do not even have one medical doctor. Why should this be the case? The Campaign wishes to ask officials of the two directorates the following: 1. Why have they allowed the doctors who refused postings to some of the districts, to practice in other public health facilities in Kumasi and Accra? 2. Are they aware this situation is leading to needless deaths among the poor and vulnerable in these and many other districts? Should they be held responsible for these deaths? 3. When is this disregard for laid down procedures going to stop? 4. To the Ghana Medical Association: Why are your members refusing postings to these and other deprived districts, even though Ghanaian teachers and Cuban doctors live and work there? 5. Why should they continue to receive their salaries when they have failed to manage the deployment of health professionals especially the trained medical doctors to districts that need them most? We acknowledge there are not enough trained medical doctors in the country but the Campaign believes it is possible to have at least one medical doctor, in each district if the said Directorates do their work well. The Campaign is also of the view that, achieving Universal Health Coverage is key but one important step is equity in the distribution of human resource for health. SIGNED Sidua Hor National Coordinator Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign 020 770 8938/ 0244 419 713