Inadequate human resource for the health sector remains a challenge in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the 42nd annual general meeting and continuing professional education programme of the Association of Health Services Administrators at Abesim, near Sunyani.
Under the theme “Achieving Universal Health Coverage: The Role of Health Services Administrators”, the programme was designed for participants to deliberate on the challenges impeding the attainment of quality health care delivery and identify ways to overcome such challenges.
He cited that the GHS needed about 105,440 workforce as against 61,756 currently at post, saying that had left a gap of over 41 per cent vacancy rate, which was greatest amongst specialist health professionals, clinical support staff and some administrative and support service staff, including Health Services Administrators.
Dr. Nsiah-Asare added that the GHS again faced the challenge of inequity “which is skewed towards urban areas to the detriment of rural and deprived areas” as records indicated that 42 per cent of all doctors in the country were based in Accra and Kumasi whilst the rest of the country contented with the remaining 58 per cent.
He called for a concrete effort to tackle that manpower challenge and announced that the GHS was in the process of developing deprived area incentives scheme to attract and retain staff at the under-served areas.
Dr. Nsiah-Asare said the GHS governing Council was concerned about the poor quality care in some of the health facilities in the country as a result of poor staff attitude, stating such situation militated against the achievement of UHC.
He cited that the country could not achieve UHC if health workers continued to be rude and demonstrate uncaring behaviours such as over invoicing, extortions and patients waiting for hours in long queues.
Dr. Nsiah-Asare noted that those attitudes and negative practices were unethical and unprofessional, which tended to drive away clients from patronising the services of the health facilities.
He therefore entreated the participants to be fully abreast with the patients charter, code of conduct and discipline procedure, customer care manual, national policies for quality care to improve on customer care and client satisfaction in their facilities.
Mr. Evans Opoku-Bobie, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister urged health professionals to collaborate with the Food and Drugs Authority, the Pharmacy Council and civil society organisations to come out with a bill that could regulate the use of essential drugs in the system.
He observed that efforts being made in achieving better health care delivery would not be fruitful if measures were not introduced to prevent the abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, heroin, marijuana and tramadol by the youth of the country.
Mr. Opoku-Bobie expressed worry that the youth in such immoral acts most often engaged in robbery and uncontrolled sexual behaviour which contributed to the spread of HIV/ AIDS.