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Health expert urges legal framework on human resources in health

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Dr Sam Adjei, Former Deputy Director-General of Ghana Health Service has called for a comprehensive legal framework for the development of human resources in health.

He said though there were some existing laws, they were scattered, covering different aspects of human resources and were not quite effective.

“If we have a comprehensive legal framework, training of health care professionals could be done at the periphery, which is the community based training instead of being trained only at the facility, which most of the time could be found in the city.”

Dr Adjei made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, after a health think tank forum in Accra to discuss issues on human resources in health.

The forum was attended by stakeholders in health, universities, civil servants and NGOs.

He noted that if Ghana was successful in developing a comprehensive legal framework, there would be no repercussions such as suing for a mistake committed by a health professional.

Dr Adjei, who is also a co-founder and Chief Executive of Centre for Health and Social Services, explained that the state of the health workforce was not encouraging and needed to be addressed with all urgency.

Reading from the Human Resource for Health Division 2011 Annual Report, the total staff strength was 56,119, with health staff comprising 35,058 and supporting staff, 15,368. Those occupying management positions were 329.

With the regional distribution as at 2011, Greater Accra Region had the highest of 1,110 medical doctors while Ashanti Region followed with 653, Eastern Region has 177 doctors, Brong Ahafo Region, 156, Northern Region, 135, Central Region,118, Western Region,101, Volta Region, 98, Upper East Region, 35 and Upper West Region with the lowest figure of 23 doctors, bringing the national total to 2,606.

For nurses, Greater Accra Region had the highest of 4,506 followed by Ashanti Region with 3,109, Eastern Region, 2,262, Northern Region, 1,647, Brong Ahafo region, 1, 566, Volta Region,1,734 Western Region, 1,715, Central Region, 1,658, Upper East Region,1,143 and Upper West Region, 727 nurses, bringing the national total to 20,067.

The doctor to patient ratio as at 2011 stood at 1:8,529, while that of the nurses stood at 1:1,28 as against 1:11,494  doctors and 1:6,408  nurses in 2010.

Dr Appiah Denkyira, Head of Human Resource Division, Ministry of Health said it was unfortunate that the country produced only 230 medical doctors annually and described it as inadequate and cited the situation in Cuba where training was done even at the periphery where health professionals were trained in different disciplines resulting in the influx of Cuban doctors into the country, especially in the three Northern Regions.

He called for a strong collaboration with the universities and polytechnics to produce the manpower resources, especially medical laboratory technicians, to fill the gaps created by the brain drain.

Source: GNA

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