Accra July 16, GNA - The Health Service Workers Union (HSWU) of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Friday re-echoed its call on government to expedite action on the provision of better remuneration packages and conditions of service for health workers. This the Union said would reduce "the unfortunate brain-drain syndrome that has hit the health profession as large numbers of health workers leave the country in search of greener pastures." A statement issued by the Union in Accra on Friday said its demand was based on the rapidly growing health care system, which was being hampered by the acute shortage of certain health professionals due to the brain drain. The concern was contained in a resolution adopted at the 8th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference held in Kumasi under the theme: "Successful implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme - the challenges facing the health worker" attracted over 350 delegates and local and foreign observers.
The resolution noted with concern the canker of the increasing exodus of the health professionals, which was negatively affecting the entire health needs of the people.
Touching on the problem of the health needs of the deprived areas, the delegates urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to implement the special incentive package scheme to encourage qualified health personnel to accept posting to such areas to offer the needed health care to the people.
As regards the health workers' own Mutual Health Insurance Scheme, the delegates urged the MOH and the GHS to as a matter of policy, ensure that their free medical care which they currently enjoyed, but which was being wrongly channelled through the Civil Service should be immediately re-located directly to the GHS for all such monies to form part of the health workers' contributions towards the NHIS.
The resolution urged the government to enact a legislative instrument to back the restoration of the end of service benefit so as to compel employers who were reluctant to address the issue to do so for the benefit of their workers.
In his welcome speech at the opening ceremony, Mr John Gameli Akoto, who was re-elected General Secretary, reminded the delegates that there would be some initial teething challenges with the new NHIS, gave the assurance that those challenges were not insurmountable. He said a truly determined nation with a felt need should be capable and willing to play a decisive role.
Mr Akoto urged the authorities to embark on massive training and re-training programmes to adequately build the capacity of the health workers to enable them to face the new challenges effectively. On the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the General-Secretary expressed regret that despite the campaigns and other educational programmes, the pandemic continued to rise in the country.
He advised all Ghanaians to change their sexual lifestyles to avoid the spread of the deadly disease.
Other officers elected were Rev. Richard Yeboah, National Chairman with Brother Richard Azumah, as First Vice National Chairman, Sister Edith Abutiate, Second Vice National Chairperson.
The rest were Mr. A.D Kuntulo, Deputy General Secretary, Mr. A Amoako-Attah and Mr. John Nyame Darko First and Second trustees, respectively.