Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has called for an upgrade of one Health Centre in the Bolgatanga Municipality to a Polyclinic to handle minor health conditions.
This, he said, would ease the pressure on the Regional Hospital and allow it to concentrate as the main referral centre and the major COVID-19 treatment centre in the region.
“As it is now, anybody moves in with minor ailments like malaria, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and so on. If one of the health facilities in the Municipality could be upgraded to a Polyclinic, a Doctor will be posted there so that the regional hospital will serve as a referral centre for the Municipality.”
Dr Dzotsi made the appeal when Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, met with the hospital management as part of a working visit to institutions in the Region.
He said, “The upgrade will prevent all patients from trooping to the Regional Hospital. They will first visit the Polyclinic, and if they cannot manage, then they refer to the Regional Hospital so that they perform their duty as a referral Hospital.
“The way they are operating now, they are just managing as any other District Hospital. With such initiative in place, we will move staff, especially the Physician’s Assistants to boost up all the Health Centres to run 24hour services,” he said.
He also called on the Minister to intervene in the delay in reimbursement of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“We agreed that within three months of submission of claims the reimbursement should be done but at times it gets to six or even a year before payments are made.”
Dr Dzotsi said the delay in reimbursement was a major challenge for the health facilities in the Region as it made it difficult for them to pay suppliers for medicines and other consumables.
The Director also identified land issues as a problem and the reason most of the health facilities across the region, including the Regional Hospital were not fenced even though documents to hospital lands were available.
“Getting the landowners, to sign them is the problem. Some of them say they need compensation, which has not been paid. The land litigation we face here is too serious, we need to work on it.
“Minister, I think you need to intervene. I am worried because a hospital that you can enter from any angle is not safe,” he said.
In response to the Director’s appeal for the upgrade of a Health Centre to a Polyclinic, Mr Yakubu said it was done in other places and could be done in Bolgatanga as well so that the Regional Hospital could concentrate on its core mandate as a referral facility.
“I am even looking at the Hospital becoming a Teaching Hospital to support the various Nursing Training Colleges. I have asked them to push so that we can run degree courses.”
On the land issue, Mr Yakubu noted that the Bolgatanga Nursing Training College also had the same issue and called for a scheduled meeting with the Chief of Zaare, where both the Hospital and the College are located, owners of the land, management of the Hospital, and officials from the Regional Land Commission, among other stakeholders, to deliberate on the issue.