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General News Wed, 3 Dec 2003

Exodus Of Health Professionals: Ghana Seeks WHO Assistance

Ghana is seeking assistance from the World Health Organization (WHO) to stem the exodus of health personnel from the country.

Already, she has raised the issue with the Executive Board of the World Health Organization and asked that it should be put on a special agenda at the World Health Assembly.

Dr Kweku Afriyie, Minister for Health, announced these at the opening of the annual Health summit between the Ministry of Health and its partners in Accra yesterday. The summit formed an integral part of the process of reviewing the progress of the health sector for this year and to chart the way forward.

The Minister said the government’s efforts at providing quality health service to the people had been heavily constrained by the exodus of health workers, disclosing that over 3,000 health workers had left for greener pastures in the last 30 years.

This year, he said “we sustained the additional duty hours allowance, procured over 400 vehicles for our staff and provided other incentives in spite of the high cost, adding that government’s interventions had been unable to match “the pull factors” from the developed countries”. He said the government had increased the proportion of recurrent budget allocated to health from 11 per cent in 2001 to about 14 per cent this year.

Ms. Sandra Baldwin of the Danish International Fund for Development (DIFD), said “reaching the poor must remain upper most in our approaches”. She stressed that the rapid increase in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Ghana over the past two years gave the health sector enormous challenges. “We need to do a lot more to combat this menace.” she said.

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