565 Vehicles For Doctors, Others
THE government has handed over 565 motor vehicles to the Ministry of Health for distribution to health professionals and institutions throughout the country.
Among the health workers who will benefit from the package are doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and laboratory technicians in the public sector who will acquire the vehicles on hire purchase.
The package also includes 46 saloon cars for private health professionals and 50 ambulances to be used for the proposed Ghana Ambulance Service.
The acquisition of the vehicles, at a cost of $5,426,858, is being financed through a revolving fund under the management of ECOBANK, which is also responsible for its recovery.
The provision of the vehicles forms part of the government's efforts to improve the conditions of service of health workers and particularly stem the tide of their exodus abroad.
President J. A. Kufuor, who presented the keys of the vehicles to the Minister of Health, Major Courage Quashigah (retd), at a ceremony in Accra yesterday, said “the government is truly committed to improving the conditions of workers in all sectors of the economy but we must work steadily and methodically, step by step and sector by sector”.
The exodus of health professionals has been a major concern to governments and the general public over the years.
As part of measures to address the issue, the government, in 1997, started a programme to provide incentives to health workers.
In line with that programme, the government purchased 100 vehicles for distribution to health professionals throughout the country and in 2000 increased the facility to 200.
When the current government came to power, it modified the programme through the establishment of a revolving fund with an initial capitalisation of about $3.3 million in 2004, which enabled it to purchase 415 vehicles for health workers on hire purchase.
This year, the revolving fund has been recapitalised to about $5 million to support the purchase of the 565 vehicles.
President Kufuor said although the country's economy was registering impressive growth, it was still not strong enough to support conditions which medical staff in developed economies enjoyed.
“The government is starting with the health sector and in due course, when things improve, it will spread the goodies to all the other sectors", President Kufuor promised.
President Kufuor promised that the next consignment of vehicles would be more than 600 and appealed to the beneficiaries to pay back promptly to enable others to also benefit from the facility.
Major Quashigah expressed the hope that the vehicles would encourage health workers “to stay with us and show their patriotism to help the people of this country.