General News of Mon, 26 Jan 20040
MOH introduces housing scheme for health workers
Accra, Jan 26, GNA- The Ministry of Health (MOH) is developing a housing scheme as part of an improved conditions of service package for health professionals to stem the high exodus abroad.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health who announced this in Accra on Monday, explained that beneficiaries would have a free hand to choose any of the 10 Regions where they wanted their preferred houses to be built under reasonable terms and conditions.
The sector Minister announced the scheme in a speech, read on his behalf by Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) at the opening of a four-day international workshop on the Development of Strategies and Systems for the Management of 'Human Resource for Health'.
Dr Afriyie said the Ministry had also acquired five million dollars to operate a Vehicle Revolving Fund and would take delivery of 415 vehicles under a hire purchase agreement for distribution to those who qualify from next month.
The workshop organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat International in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the MOH and is being attended by 30 participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.
Dr Afriyie said the package was the outcome of discussions between the government and representatives of health professional groups. He said an incentive package to encourage health personnel to deprived areas had been developed.
The sector Minister said health delivery was labour intensive hence the need for health programmes that would focus on the quality and quantity of its manpower.
"The Ministry is giving attention to the acquisition, deployment, utilization and development of appropriate human resources", he said. Dr Melville O. George, WHO Country Representative expressed dissatisfaction about the crises in human resources in the health sector in Ghana.
In a speech read on his behalf, Dr George said on the average, Ghana was losing six doctors, six pharmacists and 18 nurses every month and there was no indication that the migration would slow down immediately. He said reports indicated that Ghana lost about 12,365 health professionals during the last decade.
Of this figure, 630 were medical doctors, 410 pharmacists, 83 laboratory technicians and 11,325 nurses including auxiliaries. Dr George said the exodus of health professionals in 2002 alone was 70 doctors, 77 pharmacists and 215 nurses.