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Regional News of Saturday, 9 October 2021

Source: Ilyaas Al-Hasan, Contributor

Only 12 specialists and 31 medical doctors serve about 1million people in Upper West Region - Dr. Damien Punguyire

Some participants at the 19th Annual General Conference Some participants at the 19th Annual General Conference

The whole of Upper West Region is said to have only 12 specialists and 31 medical doctors serving a population of nearly 1million people, the Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Damien Punguyire has revealed.

According to him, five more specialists are however expected at the end of October this year which he said represents an improvement of the staff situation to the previous times adding that many doctors who decided to work in the region now do not regret accepting posting to the region having realized the rapidly accelerated development in the region.

He, however, lamented the region was currently facing a high staff attrition rate as those who have attained skills on the job regularly leave the region, depriving it of the skills needed for sustainable growth.

According to him, until recently, the region having been tagged as the youngest and one of the poorest, making it very difficult to attract skilled personnel to the region particularly medical doctors.

He revealed that out of the 15 doctors posted to the region this year, only 6 turned up to serve in the region.

"Until recently, U/W/R was the youngest and one of the poorest regions in the country. This makes it quite challenging to attract skilled personnel, particularly medical doctors. Of the 15 doctors who logged unto the regional portal this year, only six reported. All efforts to get the rest come through phone calls did not yield any result.

"The region also faces high staff attrition, depriving it of the required skills as those who have gained skills on the job constantly leave."

He said this in his welcome address at the 19th Annual General Conference of the Medical Superintendents' Group (MSG) held in Jirapa on Thursday, October 7, 2021.

The theme for this year's conference was, "Health Crisis Management; lessons learnt from the COVID-19 Pandemic".

In attendance were: the Chief Director of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, and representatives of the Paramount Chief of the Jirapa Traditional Council.

Others were: Acting Director of Institutional Care Division of the Ghana Health Service, President of the Medical Superintendents' Group, and former Director of Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (PPME).

As well as: the Municipal Coordinating Director of the Jirapa Municipal Assembly, members of SMG, Members of Parliaments and representatives of other professional bodies.

Dr. Damien commended the MSG for its instrumental role in mobilizing not only resources including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the initial pandemic response but also ensuring minimal disruption to the provision of essential health services in the hospitals.

He noted that despite the difficulties the pandemic brought in its wake, "the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has continued to provide essential services at all levels following the developmental of guidelines and training of health workers on continuity of essential service delivery during pandemics.

"He said the Ministry of Health and GHS have continued to procure and deploy equipment and logistics to the regions and districts to fight the pandemic."

He expressed hope that the experiences learnt from the COVID-19 Pandemic response by health workers and industry players would be used to devise effective measures and systems in place to combat future occurrences.