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23.11.2005 Health

No mechanism to absorb returnee health professionals

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Kanvilli (N/R), Nov. 23, GNA - The Ministry of Health has not put in place any mechanism to regularize the appointment of returnee health professionals.

There were also some health professionals who had been appointed for the past three years but had not yet been put on salary. Mr Kwasi Addai-Donkoh, President of the Association of Health Service Administrators of Ghana (AHSAG) made these known at the 29th Annual Conference of the AHSAG in Kanvilli on Tuesday.

The conference was on the theme: "The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) - The Role of the Service Provider". It would offer members of the association the opportunity to take stock of the past year and to plan the way forward for the coming year. Mr Addai-Donkoh said there were other health professionals, though on retirement, had remained in office and working for the past years without salary.

He said even though the factors that had contributed to the brain drain and its subsequent poor staffing in the health institutions had been identified, official reaction to addressing them had been slow. "As a nation, we have not given serious attention to the issue of brain drain and as such, there is no justification to talk about the attrition of health professionals", he said.

The AHSAG President noted that with the implementation of the NHIS, health professionals were faced with a lot of challenges and therefore, appealed to the Ministry of Health to negotiate with the Ministry of Finance to grant the desired financial clearance for the appointment of more health professionals.

Mr Addai-Donkoh called for the expansion of the existing health training institutions to train more middle level personnel to effectively and efficiently man the facilities to provide quality healthcare delivery to the people.

He appealed to the government to come out with a definite decision on whether to continue to grant exemptions for people, who had not registered under the NHIS, saying, "This decision is critical for the survival of the scheme".

The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, in a speech read on his behalf, announced that most districts had reached the benefit package level, while others were at the contract signing stage under the District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme. He called on stakeholders in the health sector, especially service providers to put in their best for the successful implementation of the NHIS.

The sustainability of the NHIS would largely depend on the provision of quality health services by dedicated and disciplined health professionals, who would always give prompt response to clients demands and needs.

Alhaji Boniface appealed to health providers to see it as a moral duty to educate those insured, whose insurance cover was about to expire to re-register, saying, this was the best measure to sustain the scheme and to encourage more people to patronize the scheme. Nov. 23, 05