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22.02.2007 General News

Brong Ahafo faces acute shortage of doctors

By : The Ghanaian Times

The Brong-Ahafo Region faces an acute shortage of doctors and nurses, with the current doctor/patient ratio hitting a disturbing one to 31,000 while that of nurses is one to 1,700 patients.

The Ghanaian Times newspaper reported on Thursday that with a population of about 1.82 million, the region had only 68 medical doctors, one specialist (physician) and two retired surgeons.

Alhaji Dr. Mohammed Bin Ibrahim, Regional Director of Health Services, disclosed this at the opening ceremony of a three-day regional review meeting.

He said apart from medical doctors, many of the health staff were also old and "this is a concern for the health sector in the region."

Dr. Ibrahim explained that to avoid a crisis, the regional health directorate had put in place a human resource planning scheme to lure health personnel to the region, but added that that was a long-term measure.

He said if care was not taken, there could be shortage of nurses, laboratory technicians and medical assistants in the short run.

The Regional Director therefore appealed to some specialists at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital where according to him "they are over concentrated" to accept posting to other regions.

With regard to HIV/AIDS situation in the region, Dr. Ibrahim said the prevalence rate decreased from 4.5 percent in 2004 to 3.3 percent in 2005 and expressed optimist that the rate could further go down.

He said the Sunyani Regional Hospital had started treating people living with HIV/AIDS with antiretroviral drugs since April last year.

He said the region continued to record cases of guinea worm diseases particularly in Atebubu/Amantin, Pru, Sene, Kintampo South, Kintampo North and Nkoranza districts, adding that 204 cases were reported in 2006 as against 293 in 2005.

Dr. Ibrahim, however noted that one area where the region chalked success was in the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), saying all the 19 districts had functional NHIS.

The percentage of the population covered by the scheme increased from 27 percent in 2005 to 40 percent in 2006, making the region the highest covered in the country.

The Regional Minister, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, said the region could not be proud of its record of guinea worm diseases and had therefore tasked the health sector to ensure that the disease was eradicated by the end of the year.

Source: The Ghanaian Times