Five medical officers have accepted posting and reported to work in the Upper East Region.
This is a departure from last year when the 10 medical officers posted to the region in 2021 refused to report to work.
The Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, disclosed this last Wednesday at the 2022 half year performance review meeting of the regional health services in Bolgatanga. The mid-year review was on the theme: “The role of quality data in improving service delivery outcomes”.
He said the implementation of the Ghana Health Service incentive package, which included early promotion after serving for two years in a deprived area, the provision of early study leave with pay after three years of service and early transfer from deprived area after serving two years accounted for the success.
Dr Dzotsi further called on the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) and other stakeholders to put in place office accommodation to attract more medical officers.
“Additionally, I urge you to put in place incentive packages and comfort items to motivate and attract newly posted medical officers and specialists, as well as retain them for many years in the region,” the regional director said.
As of the end of last year, the region had nine specialist doctors, 42 general medical staff, two dental medical officers and 721 midwives.
A near ideal situation should be eight medical officers (consultants), about 16 dental medical officers, about 140 general medical practitioners and 28 medical specialists, the director of health services said.
“As of half year this year, the doctor-to-population ratio is one doctor serving 23,724 people and that of the nurses is one nurse serving 290 people,” he said.
He expressed gratitude and appreciation to the doctors for defying all odds to accept to come and work in the region which many of their colleague doctors saw as unattractive.
Turning to some gains, Dr Dzotsi said progress had been achieved in the area of Community Health Planning Services (CHPS) implementation, containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare utilisation, as well as maternal and health services.
He indicated that the directorate recorded marginal reduction in maternal death cases which fell from 24 per 1,000 births half year in 2021 to 15 deaths in the same period this year.
Dr Dzotsi explained that the stillbirth rate declined from 14.8 per cent in 2021 to 12.4 per cent half year, while there was improvement in tuberculosis case detection and treatment success rate from 34.4 per cent to 35.3 per cent and 90.6 per cent to 96 per cent respectively.
“We saw a dramatic reduction in mother to child transmission of HIV infection from four per cent to 1.8 per cent, while institutional malaria under five years fatality remained zero,” the regional director said.
Sponsoring of doctors
The Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, said as part of efforts to increase the number of doctors in the region, the RCC had directed the 15 Municipal and District Assembles (MDAs) to identify and sponsor medical students in their localities to compel them to come and serve in those areas.
“This is particularly important in view of the ongoing construction of seven agenda 111 hospitals in Binduri, Bolgatanga East, Garu, Tempane, Nabdam, Builsa North, Builsa South and Paga in the region," he said.
He added that to minimise the effects of the spread of infectious diseases, an ultra-modern infectious disease treatment centre had been built in Zebilla, the capital of the Bawku West District.