The staffing position of health personnel with critical skills such as medical doctors, midwives, pharmacists, physicians and anaesthetists which used be a challenge in the Upper West Region has improved.
“With concerted efforts from District Assemblies, Regional Coordinating Council, Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health among others, the staff availability in the region is steadily improving”, Dr. Winfred Ofosu, Upper West Regional Director of Health Services has said.
He said the region had a total of 47 permanent medical doctors at post, which is an increase from 38 medical doctors in 2015 and 33 in 2014.
Dr. Ofosu made this known at the end of 2016 annual health performance review meeting in Wa.
He said the doctor-population ratio had improved from one doctor to 22,940 people in 2014 through to one doctor to 20,300 people in 2015 to one doctor to 16,862 people in 2016.
Similarly, the total number of midwives increased from 113 in 2014 to 219 in 2015 and 375 in 2016, meaning midwives to women in fertility age ratio improved from one midwife to 1,608 in 2014 through to one midwife to 845 in 2015 and one midwife is to 312 in 2016.
Dr. Ofosu made this known at the 2016 annual performance review session in Wa on the theme: “Child survival in the Upper West Region, successes, challenges and the way forward”.
He said other critical staffs had experienced similar trends indicating that the region’s fortunes were changing with respect to acceptance of posting by critical health personnel in the health sector.
The Regional Health Director urged health managers in the facilities to ensure the retention of those personnel through appropriate motivational packages within the confines of policy without endangering service delivery, while appealing to municipal and district assemblies to continue their support in that direction.
He said one other area of challenge to quality health service delivery had been poor access to many communities and settlements especially in the Sissala East, Sissala West, Wa East and Wa West Districts, located in the eastern corridor due to poor access roads, floods and dispersed and nomadic nature of population.
Dr Ofosu said with support from development partners especially JICA since 2006, the health sector built skills, infrastructure and developed tools for the implementation of CHPS strategy to help improve access basic essential health care.
The sector also increased the number of functional CHPS zones mainly located in remote areas of the region to 218 out of 258 demarcated zones, covering a population of more than 50 per cent.
On maternal and child health, Dr Ofosu said the health directorate had achieved modest increase in antenatal care coverage from 83.1 percent in 2015 to 85.4 percent in 2016 with 69.7 percent of the pregnant women making at least four visits in 2016.
Skilled deliveries at health facilities increased from 63.1 percent in 2015 to 66.3 per cent in 2016, helping to reduce maternal deaths from 30 in 2015 to 24 deaths in 2016 with maternal mortality ratio standing at 118.6 to 100,000 live births.
He attributed the unacceptable high maternal deaths in the region to anaemia, infections, inadequate blood availability, late reporting at health facilities and weak emergency response systems at health facilities.