The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called on the Government to come up with a clear policy on how to finance the health needs of its members.
The members, in a communique issued after the 65th Annual General Conference, on the theme: “Advancing Universal Health Coverage: Who Cares for the Health Worker?” said the role of the health workforce was pivotal towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
Dr Frank Serebour, the President of the Association, noted how health workers provided care to patients under challenging and risky conditions but no clear policy to safeguard their health.
He said the health of the care giver impacted their ability to deliver quality care with implications for patient safety.
“Our work exposes us to several hazards coupled with long and stressful working hours with its negative impact on our health…we end up suffering from various forms of infectious and non-communicable diseases,” he said.
“Our mental health is not spared in this ordeal. The poor working conditions and the inadequate compensation for our work compound the situation.”
Dr Serebour revealed that health workers essentially continued to pay out of pocket for care, sometimes in clear contravention to what the conditions of service stipulated, stressing the need for their protection from workplace hazards.
“We must be given truly accessible health care, which is unambiguously free, be compensated adequately for all the hazards we face and have our pensions secured.”
He expressed sadness over the inadequacies of logistics or the lack of it in their line of duty.
The GMA proposed the formulation of policies aimed at decreasing the workload on health workers, providing a mental health-friendly workplace, and adequate compensation for the risks they faced.
He urged members of the Association to have adequate sleep, proper nutrition, regular exercise and recreation to mitigate the stresses associated with their work.
To improve the identification and imaging building of the professionals, the GMA had curled out a new designation for doctors and dentists.
That would also improve patient safety and curb the increasing reports of some unscrupulous individuals exploiting the profession and in extreme cases, causing harm to patients.
Effective January 2024, all medical doctors and dental surgeons would use the following designations as prefix to their names: Medical Doctors: Dr (Med), Dental Surgeons: Dr (Dent).
“All medical doctors and dental surgeons are to take steps to amend their titles, name tags and practitioner stamps to reflect the new designations,” Dr Serebour said.
Conference used the opportunity to reaffirm the following as executives of the Association.
Dr (Med) Frank Serebour (President)
Prof (Med) Ernest Yorke (Vice President)
Dr (Dent) Richard Selormey (General Secretary)
Dr. (Med) Selorm Adjoa Kutsoati (assistant general secretary)
Dr. (Med) Elizabeth Esi Crentsil (Treasurer)
Dr. (Med) Dan Anane-Frimpong (Male executive member)
Dr. (Med) Gladys Naa Lomole Lomotey(female executive member)