President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appealed to doctors and other healthcare professionals to accept postings to deprived communities in the country.
He said it is distressing to hear news about the refusal of doctors to go move to these areas particularly in the newly-created regions and districts.
Speaking at the 60th celebration of the University of Ghana Medical School in Accra on Friday March 25, Mr Akufo-Addo said “We currently do not have the right number of doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals with the right mix of skills and expertise in our regions, districts and deprived communities especially for the new-created regions and districts.
“The news of doctors refusing postings to these areas is particularly distressing. I encourage all medical practitioners to follow the warning example of your great forbearer’s who readily accepted positing in their early years at a tie when the national infrastructure was even more harrowing than it is today.
“They did so because they believe the oath they took imposed a duty on them to offer their services especially to the most needy. It was their work that helped build the nationwide health system for which we are all benefiting.”
He further indicated that as part of efforts to meet the healthcare needs of Ghanaians his administration has initiated a number of policies in the health sector.
Good health is fundamental, the president said adding that t is the reason access to quality healthcare is a right that is enshrined in the constitution.
“This constitutional right can best materialized if health institutions like the University of Ghana Medical School , nursing training schools, and other allied health training institutions produce the required numbers of competent personnel who enjoy the confidence of the population.
“it is on this basis I believe that the theme for this celebration ‘ Building 60 years of quality medical education, the role of technology’ is so apt in the times in which we find ourselves.
“Many of us here are aware of the commitments made by the government since January 2017 when I took office in the areas of education, health and technology.
“Over the last five years we have pursued policies in these sectors of national life to improve this quality and help place our nation on the path of sustained development progress and prosperity.”
“This commitment to improving our healthcare system is evident in the Agenda 111 initiative. This project will provide 111 standard 100-bed district hospitals with accommodation for doctors and nurses in districts without district hospitals , six new regional hospitals for each of the six new regions, rehabilitate the Efia Nkwanta hospital in the Western Region , one new regional hospital for the Western Region and three psychiatry hospitals for each of the three zones of the country ie. the North, Middle and the Coastal. The entire package at an estimated cost of US$1.765billion,” he said.
He added ” Such a development will help make Ghana a center of medical excellence and a preferred destination for medical tourism in West Africa. A great deal of the preparatory work for the execution of this ambitious project has been completed. It is my determination that the entire project will be completed before I leave office on 7th January 2025.”
President Akufo-Addo on Tuesday August 17 201 commissioned the Agenda 111 project which will ensure the construction of 111 hospitals across the country.
During the commission of the project in Trede in the Ashanti Region the President said among other things that the project will be providing 20,000 jobs for health professionals when completed.
He said the Ministry of Health is going to recruit more doctors, nurses and pharmacists when the project is done.
He also said that more indirect jobs are also going to be created by the project implementation.
The president further indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed years of under investment in Ghana’s health sector.
To that end, he said his administration is improving on the investment in the health sector of the economy.
He said “I am glad that the biggest ever investment in the nation’s healthcare is being made .We have met this morning because of the ravages of Covid 19 which has affected every country on the planet . For us in Ghana not only has the pandemic disrupted our daily lives, but it has also exposed the deficiencies with our healthcare system because of the years of under investment and neglect
Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said during the event that the surest way for the government to improve on the healthcare delivery is to provide infrastructure.
To that end, he said the government is committed to providing the needed health infrastructure.
He said “As you know, a healthy people guarantee a healthy nation and government being mindful of this fact has proved to show to the people its commitment to improve the health status of all residents in the country.
“The surest way to improve healthcare sis through providing new infrastructure or improving just existing ones across the length and breadth of the country.”