Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, has said medical doctors and other critical health staff posted to the Region were refusing to assume work.
He said all efforts to convince them to report to work in the Region had proved futile while there was high attrition rate to other regions such Greater Accra and Ashanti, thereby deepening the already staff deficit in the Region and crippling the efforts to deliver quality health to the people.
Addressing stakeholders at the 2020 annual performance review in Bolgatanga, Dr Dzotsi indicated that the Region was perceived as unattractive and therefore advocated a high level stakeholder approach to addressing the challenge.
"As we are all aware, human resource remains the most important resource in every organization, 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 is not good," he stressed.
The Regional Director noted that since his assumption to office in the latter part of 2020, three doctors had been posted to the Region however, none had reported to 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," he lamented.
Dr Dzotsi disclosed that the Region currently had 45 medical doctors and 505 midwives, which was woefully inadequate to provide the necessary quality health services to the people.
He said, "the doctor to population ratio in the Region is 1:24,124, that is one doctor serving over 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."
The Regional Doctor therefore called for a 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.
Dr Abdul-Razak Dokurugu, the Deputy Director in charge of Clinical Care, Upper East Regional Health Directorate, called for a review of some regulations that would compel health professionals especially medical doctors to work at where they had 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 had 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 had 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, however, "hard-to-reach areas would be defined."