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23.07.2003 General News

Brain Drain Looms At Kids' Hospital

By Chronicle
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The Children's Welfare Clinic (CWC) in Kumasi might soon lose two of its most active and dedicated doctors due to the inability of the regional health administration to provide them with decent accommodation.

The two junior doctors who completed their housemanship three years ago have no decent accommodation and have threatened to leave sooner than later, to join colleagues seeking greener pastures outside.

Dr. Mariah Mahama and Chris Debre, who have sacrificed to remain and serve while others left the country, said they might be compelled to join the exodus bandwagon by the circumstances confronting them.

Chronicle enquiries showed an apparent lack of interest by the Regional Directorate of Health Services to the plight of the two doctors. The directorate has shifted responsibility to the head of CWC to find accommodation for the doctors. It has directed the CWC to use part of the Hospital's Internally Generated Funds (HIGF), which is basically meant for the procurement of drugs, to provide accommodation for the doctors.

The two doctors have been shuttling between Old Tafo (a suburb of Kumasi noted for heavy traffic) and the clinic located in the city centre all these three years.

Meanwhile, a former head of the CWC, Dr. (Mrs.) Irene Debordes, who retired in 1999, is still occupying the official bungalow, spacious enough to accommodate the two young doctors.

The continued occupation of the duty post (bungalow) by Mrs.Debordes has already displaced the current head of CWC who has not been able to move in.

This is seen as discriminatory since another officer of the CWC was ejected from his official bungalow recently, a month after retirement. "They set the rules and turn round to break them," a staff at the CWC commented.

Dr. Yacub Ahmed, head of CWC, told The Chronicle that he was in constant touch with the regional directorate to solve the problem.

He has however kicked against the directive by the regional health director that CWC use part of the HIGF to provide accommodation for the staff.

The estate officer of the Regional Health Administration, Nii Okai, explained that Mrs. Debordes was still occupying her bungalow because she is on contract at the Manhyia Hospital.

Okai said that Mrs. Debordes was being considered on humanitarian grounds having served the region for about 35 years.

The estate officer said that the Manhyia Hospital had been asked to rent a place for one of the doctors adding that there is a problem with accommodation for health staff generally and that is the reason for the directive to CWC to use part of its internally generated fund to get a place for the two doctors.

The regional health administrator, Mr. Addai Donkor, also said Dr. Debordes is not the only retired doctor occupying an official bungalow. He mentioned people like Dr. Larry Ashon and Dr. Ashitey who are also currently serving on contract. "These people are not supposed to occupy the premises but morally considering their service to the nation they cannot be evicted just after they retire," he said.

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