The perennial problem of health workers refusing to accept postings to remote areas across the country remains a huge challenge in the Ashanti region.
This is because over 80 percent of doctors posted to the region are currently working in Kumasi and its adjoining districts, leaving the facilities in other parts of the region short of qualified medical staff.
Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang, the Regional Director of Health Services, told the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of the annual performance review meeting in Kumasi, that the situation was affecting quality healthcare delivery in the rural and hard to reach communities.
“Out of the over 900 doctors in the region, about 800 are in Kumasi.
The challenge we have is that sometimes, posting doctors to very difficult to reach areas becomes an issue,” he bemoaned.
To help address this challenge, Dr. Tinkorang said there was the need to improve living conditions in rural areas and provide incentives to entice doctors to accept postings to these areas.
“So, there is the need to improve the incentives so that the doctors will not concentrate only in Kumasi so we can have them in other areas to improve the referral system,” he emphasised.
He said there were some districts in the region such as Amansie Central and Sekyere Afram Plains that had no single doctor as most of them preferred to stay in the capital.
“Unless we improve the general outlook of those districts and increase the number of hospitals, which I believe the “Agenda 111” can address, the problem will persist,” he said.
The review meeting, which was held on the theme, “Continuity of Service in the Midst of COVID-19″ was to review the 2021 performance of health facilities in the region and strategise the way forward to improve health outcomes.
It was attended by representatives from the 43 districts, head office of the Ghana Health Service, development partners and other stakeholders.
On the COVID-19 situation, Dr. Tinkorang said the cumulative cases stood at 22,295 out of which 21, 903 had recovered with 389 deaths recorded so far.
He said the region currently had only three active cases and praised all health workers and relevant stakeholders for their efforts in bringing the pandemic under control.
Dr. Tinkorang said the vaccination exercise was on-going in all the 43 districts and urged the public to avail themselves, saying that immunising the larger population was the surest way to overcome the pandemic.
Dr. Aaron Offei, a Former Regional Health Director, who chaired the meeting, said COVID-19 had exposed the ability of the health system to withstand the shock of pandemics.
He said non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart and renal diseases were the key drivers of COVID-19 fatalities and urged that attention be paid to such diseases even amid COVID-19.
He applauded health workers for their resilience and dedication towards the fight against COVID-19 at the peril of their lives.