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05.06.2008 Health

Ministry to attract health workers abroad

By Daily Graphic
Ministry to attract health workers abroad
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The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have signed a 1.4-million euro four-year project to attract 150 health workers living in three European countries back into the country to strengthen the health system.

The targeted health workers from the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany, will work on a temporary basis.

The Minister of Health, Major Courage Quashigah (retd), who signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of the ministry with the IOM, said the initiative, dubbed 'brain gain', was a health sector human resource capacity-building initiative that sought to attract and mobilise Ghanaian health professionals resident in the Diaspora back into the country to strengthen the country's health system.

The project, which is in its third phase, is under the Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) Ghana Health III Project and is sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

Ending in 2012, the project places emphasis on reproductive and regenerative health issues and concentrates more in the three northern regions and the Brong Ahafo Region.

The project started with a pilot study in 2004 and entered into a second phase in 2005 to 2007 where a total of 65 health professionals temporarily returned to Ghana to work in various hospitals across the country while five Ghana-based health workers also undertook internships in the three countries.

A Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Mrs Gladys Ashitey, in an address said the Ghana health sector had been a victim of global health workforce migration that in the past saw a respectable number of doctors, nurses and other allied health workers leaving the shores of the country for greener pastures in Europe and America.

She said the government had over the past five years taken measures to address 'brain drain' through health sector salary rationalisation, the establishment of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons for continuous medical training and the provision of incentives to health workers.

The Chief of Mission of IOM-Accra, Mr David Terzi, who signed on behalf of the development partners, said through the capacity building component of the project, a total of 8,264 health service workers including students nurses had benefited.

He said the project was on course to achieve a significant impact on the country's health sector.

The First Secretary for Health and Gender of the Netherlands Embassy, Dr Marius deJong, gave the assurance that the programme was not aimed at reducing Ghanaians living abroad but rather aimed at improving the health system of the country.

He said the project was aimed at seeing an improvement in the health sector of the country especially in the northern part of the country.

The Director of Human Resource at the MOH, Dr Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, said the project would complement the ministry's agenda of Human Resource Policies and Strategies (HRPS) for the health sector for 2007 to 2010.

Source: Daily Graphic

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