Government is to initiate a differentiated salary and allowance scheme for medical doctors and other health professionals who accept transfers to rural and deprived areas of the country.
President J. A. Kufuor announced this in Accra yesterday and explained that such a deal had become necessary following the refusal of many medical personnel to accept postings to rural areas in spite of persistent appeals and promptings.
The President was speaking at the 50th anniversary Annual General Conference of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA).
The week-long celebration is on the theme, '[email protected]: Ghana's Health.'
President Kufuor noted that human resource shortage continued to plague the Health Service.
He said while the doctor-patient ratio currently stands at 1:13,000 countrywide, it is 1:29,000 in the Upper East; 1:44,000 in the Upper West and 1:90,000 in the Northern Region.
That acute disparity, he said, was further compounded by refusal of many qualified personnel to accept the postings to those regions.
He asked the GMA to constantly remind its members of the fact that their calling was a missionary one which should commit them to be vanguards of national development where duty called.
“Let us look forward to a future devoid of chronic industrial tension,” the President told the doctors.
He said judging by conditions of service as prevailed in some better endowed economies, Ghanaian doctors might certainly find their earnings inadequate.
However, he urged them to appreciate what the government had been trying to do in that regard, even in the current circumstances of the national economy.
“Henceforth, even as one shows faith and commitment to respecting negotiated settlements on salaries and allowances, we should never allow suspicion to get the better part of the humanitarian considerations for our society generally,” he said.
On the December 7 general election, he said Ghana had achieved so much that nothing should be allowed to compromise the bright future beckoning her.
He urged the doctors to add their voices to the call for good conduct by all stakeholders, before, during and after the election to guarantee credible and acceptable election across board.
The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Wood, asked the government to ensure adequate funding for the College of Physicians and Surgeons so as to improve on the human resource capacity of the health sector.
The Minister of Health, Major (rtd) Courage Quashigah, stressed the need for the general public to adopt preventive health care since that was the best form.
He called on the GMA to support the publication of pamphlets of various parts of the human body.
The president of the GMA, Dr E. Adom Winful, described the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as laudable but urged the government to reimburse promptly the hospitals that operate it to ensure its sustainability.
He asked the government to endeavour to abide by the agreement reached with the GMA on salary review since reneging on it was putting doctors in a tight corner.