The Deputy Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr George Amofa, has said that doctors who refuse posting to the rural areas would be sanctioned.
The Director said this in Bolgatanga on Tuesday during the Upper East Region Health Sector Performance Review Meeting for 2008.
Dr Amofa said the sanctions could include forfeiture of their salaries.
He directed the Regional Director of Health Services to compile the names of doctors who had been assigned but had refused to do so.
He said the Health Directorate would not allow the situation where doctors opt for the urban areas such as the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra Regions at the expense of other areas, where their service were in high demand.
He stated that the posting Committee and Management of the Human Resource Development of the GHS have earmarked strategies towards ensuring that doctors report at assigned areas.
Dr Amofa said plans were far advanced to bond student's doctors and nurses so that as soon as they complete their courses they would be assigned directly to work.
He appealed to opinion leaders in the region to play a role by ensuring that there was peace in the area to enable health workers to undertake their duties effectively, saying that, without peace no health activity can take place.
He appealed to the leadership of the Regional Directorate of Health to nurture team building to enable them to achieve their vision.
He urged the participants to take the meeting seriously and also share experiences of their areas.
The Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Koku Awoonor-Williams said the Region lacked health service personnel of all grades and said each of the five district hospitals in the region, was manned by a single doctor, apart from the Cuban Medical Brigade.
Dr. Awoonor-Williams said whilst most people were not accepting posting to the Region, others too were applying on daily basis to leave the there to other areas, particularly, the Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra Regions.
He said none of the eight newly qualified doctors who were posted to the Region, reported to resume work, during last year,
He said over the past three years, out of the 13 doctors posted to the Region, only one reported, adding that, out of the total number of 35 Medical Doctors in the Region, 22 were above 54 years.
"Out of the total number of 24 nurses in our hospitals, 74 (33 Per cent) are between the ages of 55 and 60 years. Over 70 per cent of newly qualified nurses from our health training institutions do not want to serve the region that trained them," he said, adding that these are worrying trends.
He said other major challenges facing the Regional Health Directorate were poor and inadequate health infrastructure, dilapidated health facilities, inadequate staff and residential accommodation and several major uncompleted projects.
He was not happy that Bolgatanga as a Municipality, had no Municipal Hospital and the current state of the Health Centre serving the area did not befit its status.
He said a project, which started in the 1970s to construct a municipal Polyclinic, has since been abandoned and this had resulted in unnecessary pressure on the Regional hospital.