Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), who made this known at a three-day second Senior Managers Meeting (SMM II) in Accra, said the new directive was part of efforts to address the presently skewed human resource challenges of the health sector that favoured urban areas.
He explained that with the decentralisation of recruitment at the regional level, health facilities had been given quotas to advertise and manage the recruitment process for those granted financial clearance to compete for available vacancies in their preferred regions.
Human Resources (HR) Management, has become one of the major challenges facing the health sector, and these ranged from mal-distribution of staff, poor skill mix, and even staff refusal of posting to certain parts of the country, effective management decisions, as well as inappropriate staffing norms.
The anomaly he said, if not tackled with all the seriousness it deserved, could undermine the achievements made in the health sector over the years.
Dr Nsaih-Asare said the new recruitment process would therefore address the inequitable distribution of health workers between rural and urban communities, and ensure that placements and postings of staff were done based on existing gaps within facilities across the country.
He also outlined some efforts being made to address the challenges, saying the GHS has completed the development of a Human Resource Information System, to track health worker availability and distribution, and has also conducted an HR gaps analysis for all health facilities in the country, which was being used to guide recruitment and redeployment exercises in the Service.
The Director-General commended the Human Resource Development Division (HRDD) of the GHS, for having recently completed the staffing norms for the Service.
“We shall put in the pull and push factors to attract staff to deprived and underserved areas”, explaining that various deprived area retention schemes were also being developed to provide the necessary support to enable staff accept the challenge of working in the underserved areas of the country.
Currently, the GHS was currently working on a collaborative scheme with some housing companies to put up accommodation for health facilities on unencumbered lands, he said.
In addition the GHS Council has approved for a Reinsurance Scheme named the “Health +”, to cater for healthcare not covered by NHIS, and also for staff on retirement, and urged all Regional Directors to discuss these with their staff.
Dr Nsiah-Asare also promise to soon engage with all Union Leaders to encourage them to bring their members on board so as to initiate the “Health +” by the first quarter of 2019.
He said the implementation of the Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS), remained a major cornerstone of Ghana’s health systems improvement, and served as the first point of contact and lowest level of service delivery for maternal and reproductive health, neonatal and child health services, management of minor ailment, health education, follow up on defaulters, discharged patients and emergency referrals.
He stated that that was the main reason why there should be equity in the distribution of skilled HR to these primary points of contact to address the enormous health needs of the larger society.
He however said despite the gains made over the years, the declining donor funding support amidst the transition of some health partners imposed a challenge to sustaining the gains made, which calls for effective domestic resource mobilization, new initiatives and innovations in resources mobilization and prudent use of resources through efficient procurement.
Dr Yao Yeboah, the Chairman of the Ghana Health Service Council, on his part, said a lot of work ought to be done in order to propel Ghana to achieve Universal Health Coverage in the shortest possible time.
This would require strengthened collaboration and building of synergies as it was impossible for the GHS alone to handle the enormous task.
Dr Yeboah therefore called for visionary leadership, team-work, the judicious use and management of all forms of resources to achieve the expected quality health outcomes.