Only 60 doctors for about 800,000 residents in UW Region – Regional Minister reveals

Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih.

The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih has bemoaned the inadequacy of qualified medical doctors in the Upper West Region.

Dr. Bin Salih disclosed that there are only 60 medical doctors for the over 800 thousand people resident in the Upper West Region.

He added that the recently commissioned Upper West Regional Hospital which is the biggest health facility in the region and is supposed to serve as a referral centre has only 2 doctors.

Dr. Bin Salih said these when a Deputy Health Minister paid a courtesy call on him in his office at Wa.
The Hospital is a 52 million dollar facility with a 160 bed capacity.
The Hospital is part of 9 projects awards to the Egyptian construction company, Euroget De-Invest.
It is a state of the art facility with an Out Patient Department, (OPD), Physiotherapy Unit, Radiology Unit, Medical Gases production unit among others.

The facility is expected to serve the entire region and even serve as a medical tourism centre due to the region’s proximity to La Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Bin Salih in the short meeting with Deputy Health Minister, Alexander Kodwo Kom Abban described as unfortunate the shortage of medical doctors in the region.

Dr. Bin Salih said he could not understand why trained doctors continued to refuse postings to the region.
He encouraged health professionals to take up postings to the Upper West Region describing the region as peaceful, thus providing a good atmosphere for work.

“The health sector in the region is peaceful. The atmosphere is good and I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to all those people who think the Upper West Region is not open. It [the region] is open, it is developed. We have good schools here.

Most of the people tend to refuse postings here because they think that when they come here, their wards will not have the benefit from good schools. We want to assure them that there are very good schools in the Upper West Region,” Dr. Bin Salih assured.
To operationalize the recently commissioned Upper West Regional Hospital, Dr. Bin Salih mentioned that selected health professionals are being trained to enable them use the state of the art machinery installed in the facility.
He appealed for seed capital from the Health Ministry to enable the hospital start operations.

The Minister mentioned to the Deputy Health Minister that he had “indicated and announced to the people of the Upper West Region that all things being equal, in December, they [the new regional hospital] will start receiving patients in that facility and I do not want to bow my head in shame” thus the need for quick interventions to get the facility running.
The Deputy Health Minister, Alexander Kodwo Kom Abban who doubles as the MP for Gomoa West assured the Upper West Regional Minister that his requests would be given the necessary consideration.

He admitted that more needs to be done to encourage medical doctors to take up postings in places outside the national capital.
“No part of Ghana is too far, no part of Ghana is too remote, no part of Ghana is too deprived. It is disheartening that doctors and health workers who themselves come from the villages and on top of it have received the benefit of using the tax payers’ money for their education would at the end of their training decide not to go and offer their services to the very people whose money has been used in training them,” he lamented.
Mr. Kom Abban told the Upper West Regional Minister that “the call you have made is in the right direction. If affords us the to take very firm stance on distributing health workers equitably in the country and probably to move the next step in making sure that those who accept postings in places that we allegedly call deprived areas are properly incentivized”.
The Deputy Minister of Health after his courtesy call on the Regional Minister attended the induction ceremony of nurse assistants, nurses and midwives who qualified in 2019.

Story filed by Mark Smith

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