Health experts at a strategic health meeting in Tamale have expressed worry about the unavailability of hospitals in 17 out of the 63 districts in the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) zone.
They therefore called for the commitment of government to address the problem immediately to save lives.
They also expressed the need for measures to be put in place to upgrade hospitals in the Northern, Upper East and the Upper West Regions to regional hospital status to improve healthcare delivery.
The experts who are made up of current and former regional directors of health services in the Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions raised these concerns during a two-day meeting organised by the Ministry of Health and SADA to develop a health framework for SADA’s Health Strategic Plan.
The health experts decried lack of ambulances in 33 districts out of the 63 while there are only 130 doctors manning the 63 hospitals.
They described the number as woefully inadequate, adding that for effective health delivery at least four doctors are required in each hospital.
The SADA zone is the most impoverished and deprived area of the country for which the authority was established to develop a master plan, mobilise and coordinate resources and efforts to ensure its accelerated development.
The health component of the strategic plan is in its developmental stages and is being coordinated by the Ministry of Health and development partners.
Mr Charles Abugre, Chief Executive Officer of SADA speaking remotely at the meeting through video, said the authority would continue to work with experts in various fields to develop the master plan.
The health experts discussed among other things clear vision and strategic direction, comprehensive integrated health delivery system, collaborative mechanisms and capacity building of assemblies, resource mobilisation for health investment in the SADA zone, prioritised strategic health investment and monitoring and evaluation.
The problems they identified were said to be due to inadequate infrastructure, low standards of existing facilities, poor motivation, wrong perceptions of the zone’s climatic conditions and limited educational facilities compelling more people to relocate their wards to the south for education.
Dr Awudu Tinorgah, Board Chairman of the Tamale Teaching Hospital who facilitated the meeting called for effective collaboration between SADA and its development partners and experts in other fields to develop the strategic plan.