The Upper West Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) says it has seen an improvement in the doctor-patient ratio as a result of using its quota to acquire clearance for doctors willing to work in the region.
The population of doctors increased from 58 in 2018 to 93 in 2022, making it possible for all the districts in the region to have a doctor each, while nine out of the 11 districts could boast of two doctors each as at now.
It commended the Director-General of the Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, for allowing the Directorate to use its quota to acquire more doctors and said if the policy continued, the region could achieve its required number of medical doctors and other critical health personnel in the next few years to augment service delivery.
Dr Damien Punguyire, the Regional Director of Health Services, said this during the 2022 Annual Regional Health Sector Performance Review conference in Wa on the theme: “Maternal, New-born and Nutrition Services Through Quality Initiatives.”
He said in 2022 the region received 20 newly qualified doctors and the doctor-patient ratio improved from 1:12,000 in 2021 to 1:9,897 in 2022.
There was an increase in coverage of primary health care services with proportion of functional Community Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) zones, an important vehicle to deliver primary health care to the region’s scattered hard-to-reach population, he said.
That increased from 79 per cent in 2021 to 91 per cent in 2022.
More communities have access to well-trained community health officers, as nurse-to-population ratio is 1:227.
Dr Punguyire said fair distribution of staff across the region remained a challenge as staff continued to refuse posting to deprived areas, however, the Directorate had put in place some incentive systems to motivate staff working in those areas.
A total of 508 staff of various categories working in deprived areas had been promoted to the next grade ahead of their counterparts in non-deprived areas as part of the motivation, he said.
Also 334 staff serving in deprived area had been given provisional study leave to pursue further training.
The proportion of pregnant women receiving antenatal care before delivery increased from 87.1 per cent in 2021 to 91.3 per cent in 2022, while children receiving the combined diphtheria, tetanus toxoid, and pertussis vaccines increased marginally from 88.9 per cent to 90 per cent.
The proportion of children who received the second dose of the Measles Rubella vaccine increased from 71.8 per cent to 76.3 per cent.