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15.12.2007 Health

Health Ministry Launches Policy Document

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Though Africa has 11 per cent of the world's population and carries 24 per cent of global disease, the continent has only 1.3 per cent of health workers and less than 1 per cent of the world's financial resources for health.

The figure presented a shortage of over 800,000 health professionals, and this is hampering the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals on health, Mr Abraham Dwomoh-Odoom, a deputy Minister for Health said yesterday.

The Deputy Minister made this known at the launch of the Second Human Resource Policies and Plans for health (2007 to 2011) and the Ghana Health Workforce Observatory at Agona Swedru in the Central Region.

The 85-page policy document designed by the Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation and Quality Health Partners is aimed at improving and sustaining human resource in the health sector to meet the health needs
of all.

The observatory is a co-operative network initiative by countries and health partners being promoted by the World Health Organisation to produce information, knowledge and share expertise necessary to improve human resource and policy decisions.

Mr Dwomoh-Odoom said the document had come to find solutions to the brain drain and help strategise policies and goals that would ensure retention and improvement in the health workforce.

According to him, the absence of reliable data on health workers as a result of increase in migration had contributed to poor monitoring, planning, management and other efforts to improve human resource health policies. He expressed optimism that the workforce observatory would help surmount daunting challenges confronting the sector.

Ghana, he said, was the first in Africa to have a website for its observatory among its counterparts, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zambia, saying, 'this effort is
very commendable'.

The Deputy Minister urged stakeholders to fully support initiatives to sustain the workforce.   Dr Aaron Ofei, Central Regional Director of Health Services, Ghana Health Service said the five year sector policy guideline would concentrate on a different orientation through training, retention of workers, and other programmes that would help to attain the MDGs on health and the middle income status.

He also expressed concern on low productivity in the sector, despite government efforts to improve their conditions of service, saying 'we would also ensure that workers work according to what they earn'.

Dr Yaw Antwi-Bosiako, Director, Human Resource for Health Directorate, MOH, said the document would bring on board other professionals such as the Red Cross Society and the ambulance services whose work falls under health in order for them to contribute effectively to health delivery.

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