31.05.2005 General News

Ghana spends 720 billion cedis on AHDA

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Kumasi, May 31, GNA - Ghana is currently spending 720 billion cedis annually on Additional Hour Duty Allowance (AHDA) for doctors and other health workers in the country.

The AHDA, started instituted in 1997 to help bridge financial gap of health workers with an initial amount of 14 billion cedis is therefore, not likely to be sustained in future budgets. Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health, who stated this, said the Ministry had engaged consultants to look into the AHDA and help find a sustainable package for health workers.

He was speaking at the opening of the 13th general conference of District Directors of Health Services (DDHS) in Kumasi on Tuesday. The week-long conference was under the theme: "Improving child survival at the district level: the role of the DDHS. Major Quashigah said the country had lost about 142.5 million dollars over the last decade as a result of the exodus of health professionals to the developed countries adding that, Ghana loses 150 billion cedis annually to the brain drain.

He said the amount could have been used on important projects to move the nation forward, stressing that, health professionals could save the situation if service delivery could help save money, keep the workforce productive, strong and active.

Major Quashigah noted that, Ghana was recording low productivity, low Gross Domestic Product (GDP), low incomes and investments that could never raise productivity and incomes largely because of low health status of the people.

He charged health workers to work harder and be patriotic to save the nation from its present woes.

The Minister said occupational safety and health hazards and illnesses constituted a major drain on the resources of the nation and posed a hindrance to economic development. He urged the district directors of health to conduct periodic checks on workplaces in their districts and recommend improvements in safety arrangements.

Major Quashigah advised the DDHS to be proactive and collaborate with other ministries, department and agencies as well as non-governmental organisations operating in their respective districts to solve some of the health problems. Dr Kofi Asare, Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, called for an effective measure to stem the tide of infant mortality in the country.

Dr Agatha Bonney, Chairperson of the DDHS group, mentioned the lack of transportation, communication as well as office equipment as some of the challenges facing the district directors. He called on the government to provide adequate equipment for the district hospitals to enable them to effectively implement the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). 31 May 05

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