The Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare insists that the deficit in the patient-doctor ratio is not the shortage of doctors but the distribution of the qualified doctors to the various regions in the country.
Speaking on Happy FM’s ‘Epa Hoa Daben’ show with host Kwame Afrifa-Mensah, he said ‘’the distribution of doctors is the problem here in Ghana as 48% of doctors are deployed to the Greater Accra region; majority of them based in Korle-bu teaching hospital. In the Ashanti Region also, those posted to there are saturated in Okomfo Anokye hospital and the rest are unevenly distributed to the other regions’’ he revealed.
According to him, there are five universities in the country training doctors–the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS) in Accra, School of Medical Sciences (SMS) in Kumasi, University of Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale, Cape Coast Medical School and the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho. “So there is a considerable number of doctors in the country.”
He also admitted that in bridging the inequitable distribution of doctors in Ghana, there is a need to give special incentives like (study leave before the stipulated time, comfortable accommodation and quality educational facilities for their wards) to doctors who accept postings to rural and deprived areas.
However, the World Health Organizations (WHO) recommends one doctor to 1,320 patients as the standard for a lower middle- income economy like Ghana.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, there are 79 districts hospitals with no doctors, and 82 districts without a hospital in the country. Out of the 7,724 hospitals in the country, over 5000 are managed by the Ghana Health Service.
By: Bridget Mensah