Mr Stephen Sumani Nayina, Northern Regional Minister, has warned health personnel to stop staying in Tamale and commuting daily between their workplaces in the villages in the Region.
He said the habit was impacting negatively on their output since most of them report to work late and sometimes returned to Tamale well before closing time.
Mr Nayina gave the warning when addressing the 2008 Annual Performance Review Meeting of Ghana Health Service (GHS) in Tamale on Friday.
The three-day meeting would review the successes and shortcomings of service delivery of GHS and institute measures to improve on its performance.
Mr Nayina expressed concern about the high rate of maternal deaths in the Region noting that pregnant women were often conveyed to the hospitals in rickety vehicles, which in most cases arrived at the health facilities late.
However, he commended the hardworking health personnel in the Region but warned to deal ruthlessly with those who were negligent in their duties.
“Health issues are very dear to me and you would have my full support and cooperation but I would also be on you to ensure that you provide the people the needed health services,” Mr Nayina said.
Dr Akwasi Twumasi, Northern Regional Director of GHS said there was a critical shortage of medical practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and midwives in the Region.
He pointed out that none of the 10 medical practitioners posted to the Region had reported while one out of the 11 pharmacists posted to the Region was at post.
Dr Twumasi said financial and logistics inflows to the health service last year were not the best and GHS was heavily dependent on donors, a situation, which had prevented it from providing adequate interventions to some of the health facilities in the Region.
He said since 2007, GHS was faced with the problem of provision of adequate vehicles until late last year when it received 90 motorcycles and 19 pick-ups from the World Bank to support nutrition and malaria control programmes for child survival.
The Nalerigu and Bole Hospitals, he said, had no means of transport.
On Guinea Worm eradication, Dr Twumasi said in 2008 the Region recorded about 479 cases as against 3,227 in 2007, representing 85 per cent reduction in a single year.
He noted that GHS was determined to stop Guinea Worm transmission in the Region by 2009 and last year contained an outbreak of Cerebo-Spinal-Meningitis (CSM) and Cholera in the Region.
Dr Twumasi said with the assistance of Ghana National Red Cross (GNRC), an eye clinic had been provided at Yendi Hospital and polyclinics would be built at Karaga, Janga and Daboya.