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General News of Thursday, 20 August 2009

Source: GNA

Health Ministry to decentralize administrative processes

Accra, Aug 20, GNA- Dr. Benjamin Kumbour, Deputy Minister of Health on Thursday stated that a ministerial directive had been instituted to decentralize all administrative processes that had over the years compelled health workers to travel to Accra. As a result, he said, activities such as promotion interviews, processing of papers for retirement benefits and other administrative processes would no longer be done in Accra, but in the regions where workers are.

Dr. Kumbour said these when he appeared before a 25-member Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to answer questions on how the Ministry of health was handling its challenges across the country. The Deputy Minister said it was regrettable that workers over the years had to travel and spend so many years in Accra in order to work on what he termed "petty transactions", and that some of them even died. On checking the brain drain of health professionals in the country, Dr. Kumbour said the problem needed a holistic approach to retain health professionals in the country and most importantly deprived communities. He said effective transport, accommodation, good roads and water as well as good schools for the children of professionals were some of the basic facilities that could easily entice them to the deprived communities, rather than money and cars.

He stated that it was difficult to bond most of the professionals, especially doctors, as a check to brain drain, because the doctors were trained by the Ministry of Education, unlike most Nurses who were trained by the Ministry of Health and could easily be bonded. Dr. Sylvester Anemana, Director of Human Resource Development of the Ghana Health Service said it was impossible to allow non-Doctors to be Administrators of various Health facilities since an Act establishing it was not reviewed.

He said the mass exodus of health professionals to other countries had reduced due to the economic crunch worldwide and hoped that in the coming years more professionals would return to the country to offer their services to Ghanaians.

Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee commended the Audit Service for their meticulous investigations which enabled them to come out with serious challenges affecting the health sector.