Healthcare delivery is in danger in the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa District of the Upper West Region where lack of medical personnel, mostly physician assistants has led to the downgrade of four of the five health centres there.
The district, carved out of the Nadowli District in 2012 has no hospital or polyclinic and people in the area have over the years been relying on the only five health centres for healthcare, particularly during emergency cases.
There are currently 5 health centres and 14 CHPS compounds operating in the district with no ambulance.
But a National Health Insurance Authority team upon inspection in 2017 downgraded the four out of the five health centres to CHPS Compound on grounds that they had no physician or medical assistants to man the facilities.
In view of the downgrade, the four health centres – Bussie Health Centre, Fien Health Centre, Issa Health Centre and Kajokperi Health Centre – are unable to charge rates of Health Centres despite using more consumables.
The situation, according to the District Health Director, Emmanuel Sanwok, is affecting the revenue generation at the facilities.
He was speaking at the launch of one of the 14 CHPS compounds in the district at Sazia.
He said after several efforts, they managed to get three physician assistants to the district but said one year on, they have still not been able to get the National Health Insurance Authority team to return to access the facilities again.
This poses a major health threat to residents who do not have any nearby hospital to access healthcare apart from the Nadowli, Jirapa and the Regional Hospital in Wa.
Member of Parliament for Daffiama-Bussie-Issa constituency, Dr Sebastian Saandaari who is also a medical doctor said the only medical assistant as at the time of the assessment was in DaffiamaHealth Centre but added they now have a physician assistant at Bussie Health Centre and FienHealth Centre through his effort.
He accused the National Health Insurance Authority for deliberately downgrading some health facilities to favour the Authority, describing it such act as unfortunate.
He called on the Authority to return to the district to reassess the facilities and upgrade those CHPS compounds to their original status as health centres.
District Chief Executive for the area, Nadi Imoro Sanda, said the assembly is collaborating with the District health directorate and other relevant stakeholders to provide the needed infrastructure at Issa Health Centre as parts of efforts to upgrade it to a District Hospital next year.
He said they have constructed a GHC177,000 medical laboratory there, adding work has commenced on the construction of the doctors bungalow at the cost of GHC201,000