Accra, Nov. 28, GNA - Maj. Courage Quarshiegah Rtd., Minister of Health on Friday said the hardworking health staff in the country deserved an annual award of a national status in the like of farmers and teachers' awards.
He has therefore, promised the health workers that, he would work hard with his colleagues in government, sponsors and other stakeholders to turn the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Annual Excellence Awards scheme into a National Health Awards Scheme (NHAS).
Maj. Quarshiegah made the promise at this year's GHS awards night, in which a total of 12 health institutions and 22 individuals were presented with various awards for excellent service within the year, 2004.
He noted that, while the brain drain continued, in which many health workers left the country for greener pastures, those health workers who stayed and rendered selfless service to their fellow Ghanaians for meagre remunerations needed to be recognised. Maj. Quarshiegah said government would continue to work towards making life bearable for health workers in the country and expressed the hope that the proposed NHAS would be one of the ways to reward health workers for their selfless service.
He, however, cautioned the few lazy health workers, whose irresponsible attitude to work placed a burden on their diligent colleagues and sometimes resulted in loss of life, to take a cue for the hardworking staff and live up to the task.
The Minister noted that the launch of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) coupled with the new "Close to Client" strategy adopted by the GHS, health workers would have to do more education to ensure that citizens understood the need for living a healthy life style, instead of using the hospital always.
"The solution for a healthy people is not in the constructions of more hospitals and health facilities, but in ensuring environmental sanitation and in making the individual responsible for his/her own health," adding that, "In that regard, the health workers role is that of education."
He said health workers must also lead the way in living healthy life styles by eating well at the right time and exercising regulars.
Professor Akosa noted that GHS staff did not receive the praise they deserved for the hard work they did for the country. He said GHS staff travelled the length and breadth of the country delivering health services, immunizing children against killer diseases and yet they were not given the due recognition and respect. "On the contrary, anytime something goes wrong in the health delivery system in the country, everybody blame the GHS staff and we think that is not fair to the GHS," he said.
Prof. Akosa noted that GHS staff had fixed several problems in the health delivery system but had not been duly acknowledged for their work, saying that, "if GHS staff sneezes the whole country paralyses and that alone should tell us how important health workers are."
He urged award winners to continue to work harder and motivate their colleagues to also do same, saying that, obviously no one was willing to motivate the GHS staff, so they had to motivate themselves. Dr. A. J. Boohene, Chairman of the GHS Council, who presided, also reiterated the Minister concern saying that, whiles the President himself presented awards to Teachers and Farmers in the country every year, the same could not be said about the GHS awards scheme.
He expressed the hope that, subsequent awards' nights would be graced by the President of the country to do the hardworking health workers the necessary honours.
The awards were divided into four categories of institutional awards, six in categories of individual awards and seven special awards under the Director-Generals' Special awards categories. Fifty-one-year-old Ms Matilda Mamuna Soale, Midwifery Superintendent at the Daboya Health Centre in the West Gonja District, Northern Region and 49-year-old Mrs. Victoria Owusu, a Community Health Officer (CHO) at the Amasaman Health Centre, emerged the Best Midwife and Best CHO of the year, 2004 and they each took home a Fiat Palio Car and 20 million cedis.
Aflao District Hospital emerged the Best hospital and Princess Marie Louise Hospital was adjudged the best special hospital. The best Regional Health Administration was won by Northern Regional Health Administration and the Jirapa District Health Management Team was adjudged the best District Health Management Team. For each category, except the D-G's special awards, there were three award winners, a champion and two runners-up.
The champion in each category took home a cash prize of 50 million cedis and the first and second runners-up took 25 million cedis and 10 million cedis respectively.
Most of the award winners emerged from Northern Ghana and there were more female award winners than males. Nov. 26, 05