Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare
Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director- General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has expressed worry about the inequitable distribution of health workers across the country.
According to him, the distribution of health workers is skewed towards urban areas to the detriment of rural and deprived communities.
He said Greater Accra alone has about 42 per cent of all medical doctors, with the rest of the country contending with the remaining, something that impedes inclusive health service delivery.
Dr Nsiah-Asare was speaking at the 51st congregation and oath-swearing ceremony of the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences (UCCSMS) on Saturday, where a total of 56 students made up of 35 males and 21 females were awarded Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees after the successful completion of their six-year programmes.
He added that the anomaly must be tackled with the seriousness it deserves in order not to undermine the achievement made in the health sector over the years and outlined efforts the GHS was preparing to help address it.
It included the developing of human resource information system to track health worker availability and distribution.
Again, he explained that the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has developed human resource measures to guide the recruitment and redeployment exercises in the service.
The GHS, he indicated, was also considering the decentralisation of recruitment at the regional level whereby health facilities would be given recruitment quotas to advertise and manage.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said a deprived area retention scheme would be developed to provide the necessary support to enable staff accept the challenge of working in the underserved areas of the country.
He revealed that the GHS needs about 105,440 health workers but can only boast of 61,756, leaving a vacancy rate of 41 per cent, which is greatest among specialist health professionals such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses and para-clinical staff.
Dr. Nsiah-Asare called on the young doctors to accept the challenge of serving Ghanaians in the deprived and underserved areas where their services would be most needed and challenged them to exhibit professional standards and show commitment to the provision of quality and accessible health services.