More than 80 per cent of Ghana’s medical doctors work in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions, Health Minister-designate Kweku Agyeman-Manu has revealed.
“All I can say is that close to about 82 per cent of our doctors are in Greater Accra and Ashanti Region”, the Dormaa Central lawmaker disclosed on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 during his vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
The remainder of 18 per cent is distributed across the 14 other regions of Ghana.
Mr Agyeman-Manu’s answer was a response to a question by Ododiodoo MP Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, who demanded to know the exact figures of all the various categories of health professionals working in various parts of the country.
The Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu described the distribution as “unfair”.
During the vetting, Mr Agyeman-Manu also revealed that a lot of Western countries, among others, are chasing Ghana for nurses.
The Health Minister in President Nana Akufo-Addo’s first term made the comment after another member of the committee, Mr James Agalga, demanded to know why Ghana, despite not having enough health professionals, exported some nurses to Barbados.
“I will say bilateral relations for diplomacy, just like we receive Chinese and other foreigners, I believe our President stretched his hand to also help our neighbours who needed some support. That is the significant thing”, Mr Agyeman-Manu mentioned as the primary reason.
According to him, Ghana “took inventory of the types of nurses they needed and we said to ourselves: ‘we can let go some quantity that will not harm the system that we have”.
Secondly, he said, “the ministry itself, in our new HR policy, we are thinking of retraining some of our young people to even export them to help run the facilities and the type of human resource that we have”.
“We have close to 90 health training institutions that churn out 22,000 young people as nurses, certificate and diploma students. We have to employ them into our system. If we continue that way for the next five years, our hospitals may be full with nurses that we don’t need”, he warned.
“As I sit her, when we were talking about doctor: patient ratio, we didn’t talk about nurse: patient ratio. We have exceeded the WHO limits. Then, I ask myself: can Finance Ministry continue to provide financial clearance? Can the budget soak it for the numbers that we train? So, if we are talking about Ghana Beyond Aid, why don’t we retrain and meet the demands of those outside so that we can probably support some of them to go and work outside and bring home foreign currency?”
“It’s one of the things we are trying to test to see how viable that can be, which is the reason why we tried to stretch our hands to Barbados. And there are demands; immediately we finished the Barbados thing, Jamaica, Germany, The Netherlands, UK; all of them are even coming but we’ve held back because of the fear that we may deplete our resources unnecessarily until we train and retrain and we get larger numbers that will make us export without causing any serious harm to our system”, he told the committee.