High rate of attrition hits Ghana Health Service loses in Upper East

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Ghana Health Service

Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has expressed concern about the high rate of attrition of health workers in the region.

He mentioned that a total of 186 health professionals left the Region in 2022.
“There is very high attrition rate of health workers, some have stayed in the Region for more than five years, and they want a change of environment, and per the policy, if they stay more than five years, we have no reason to keep them, so they leave,” he said.

Dr Dzotsi who was speaking at the 2022 annual performance review meeting of the Upper East Regional Health Service, in Bolgatanga, said most of the professionals were nurses and midwives who left for other regions after they served for more than five years.

The review meeting, Chaired by the Paramount Chief of the Sakoti Traditional Area in the Nabdam District, Naba Sigri Bewong, was on the theme; “The role of quality data in improving service delivery outcomes.”

Dr Dzotsi said the Bawku conflict partly contributed to the attrition rate in the Region, and indicated that to prevent more attrition; management of the GHS took the initiative to redistribute staff in the Bawku Central Municipality who felt unsafe, to other surrounding health facilities.

He said they would return to their former places of work if calm returned to the area, noting that it was only the central part of Bawku that was most affected by the conflict, but health service delivery was ongoing in surrounding communities within the Municipality.

Dr Dzotsi said even though government had given financial clearance for employment of nurses and midwives, the major challenge was how to retain them, “So are working with the Regional Coordinating Council to ensure that we retain staff that are posted to us.”

Dr Dzotsi said for the Region to improve on quality and accessible health care services, it was critical to tackle the acute shortage of critical human resources such as Medical Doctors, Physician Assistants, Midwives and Laboratory Scientists among others.

“As a Region, we have only four Specialists at the Regional Hospital, so most conditions and cases that need Specialist care have to be referred to Tamale or Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals which is far from Bolgatanga,” he said.

The Director said apart from the high attrition rate, new entrants, especially Medical Doctors posted to the Region failed to report, “Most of these new recruits regard the Region as unattractive.”

Dr Dzotsi called for more Doctors to the Region and said apart from availability of accommodation, the GHS in the Region initiated non-monetary incentives, “If you work with us for a minimum of two years, we give you study leave with pay to specialise.

“For example, if you are a medical officer and want to specialise, after two years, we allow you to go and specialise in any area of choice. That is the non-monetary condition we have put in place,” Dr Dzotsi said.

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General (DG) of the GHS in a speech read on his behalf, noted that performance reviews were organised by the GHS to demonstrate its willingness to hold itself accountable to various stakeholders.
The DG also expressed concern about the high attrition rate in the Service, saying “We are also losing our skilled staff as they leave for greener pastures, exacerbated by the poor uptake of postings to less endowed areas.”

He congratulated and thanked staff who, in spite of the challenges in the Region, still stayed and worked over the years, and urged them to continue to work to uplift the image of the GHS.

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