More than nine months after the inauguration of the new Upper West Regional Hospital, the facility is still operating under capacity, the Medical Director of the facility, Dr Robert Amesiya has lamented.
The hospital which began operations in January was currently running on staff strength of 200 which is far below the capacity of 600 work force required.
Dr Amesiya made this known when the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye visited the facility to interact with staff and also acquaint himself with operations at the hospital, as part of his two-day working visit to the Upper West.
According to him, even though the hospital when operating at full capacity could admit all referral cases from the various health centres across the region, it was unable to do that because it was heavily understaffed.
Dr Amesiya indicated that if given the right number of staff, the Upper West would not refer cases to other regions, but would be able to contain and treat most diseases, since the hospital was equipped with very good facilities for treatment.
“This is a special facility stocked with modern equipment; hence if adequate personnel are provided we will be able to run the place and will not need to refer any case to any other hospital outside the region. It will not be fair that this big facility will be here in the region and we will still be sending patients outside for treatment”, he stated.
Dr Amesiya also stated that the hospital usually experienced power outages which in his opinion could affect the longevity of the lifesaving machines as well as other health equipment.
“We will therefore appeal to your office to facilitate processes to ensure that the hospital is given a dedicated line that will supply electricity to this facility only, in order to avoid the regular power cuts,” he added.
He also appealed to the Ministry of Health to expedite action on making available a seed capital for the hospital to run successfully without challenges.
Responding to the issues, Dr Oko-Boye stated that the issue of inadequate personnel at health centres across Northern Ghana and deprived areas of the country was a structural problem that had to be addressed gradually by the ministry with the introduction of incentives that would attract the staff to the area.
“When they are in the bigger towns, the health workers are able to work at other private facilities for extra income but those opportunities may not be available in other parts of the north where private facilities are inadequate and that is why sometimes they feel reluctant to accept posting to such places so we have to put some measures in pace to get them to these areas”, he explained.
Dr Oko-Boye stated for instance that he was reliably informed that over 50 doctors were posted to the region last year but only five of them accepted the posting and reported, adding that the problem was beyond posting personnel to the region, hence the ministry would work closely with the region to prescribe lasting solution.
He added that the ministry would work together with the directorate to upgrade the hospital from the recent 20 per cent it was operating at to a 50 per cent capacity within the next six months and also work on the seed capital to be released to enhance healthcare delivery at the hospital.
Filed by: The Ghanaian Times