The Minority in Parliament has urged government to prioritise the employment of trained health professionals ahead of any other category of health workers into the health care delivery system.
The caucus estimates that there are over 30,000 trained health professionals unemployed amidst government’s effort to engage Senior High School (SHS) graduates to assist in health delivery at the basic level of health care – Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound.
The Youth Employment Agency (YEA) a fortnight ago announced that it would recruit some 5,000 SHS graduates as community health workers to serve at CHPS compounds across the country.
This, the Minority thinks is a tool for “cheap political returns.”
At a press conference addressed by the Ranking Member on the Health Committee, KwabenaMintahAkandoh, in Accra yesterday, the Minority said the government must place emphasis on recruiting professionals to fill the yawning patient-to-health professional ratio gap in the country.
“As Minority in Parliament, we are calling on government to as a matter of urgency prioritise the uptake of trained, qualified and licensed healthcare professionals before recruiting any other group of persons into the health service delivery system.
“This is necessary considering the current high attrition rate within the public health sector and also prudent if the objective of protection of the public purse is to remain paramount,” MrAkandoh said.
“If a country working within the limits of scarce resources, has in excess of 19,000 diploma-nurses, 10,729 degree-nurses and 1,000 trained-doctors who have completed their housemanship sitting at home, what logical reasoning warrants the intake of untrained and unlicensed SHS leavers into our healthcare system?” he asked.
The lack of opportunities for health workers, MrAkandoh, MP, Juaboso, said was leading to brain drain on the country’s limited number of health workers.
“In June this year, the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) informed Ghanaians that in the first quarter of 2022, over 3,000 trained nurses and midwives left the shores of Ghana to seek greener pastures abroad.
“The story is not different among practicing doctors in Ghana. Alarmingly, general practitioners, specialists and consultants have all joined a long line of Ghanaian health professionals waiting for clearance or job offers from abroad in order to leave this country.
“The situation has become critical to the point that Ghana is currently experiencing losses of general practitioners and specialists needed to handle cases across the healthcare continuum.”
To the Minority, the exodus of health workers from the country has been exacerbated by government’s lack of concern for public health workers in this “hyperinflationary period.”
He said though previous governments had engaged young unemployed SHS leavers to assist trained staff in the past, those tasks were now mundane.
“During those periods, medical training institutions were fewer with even fewer numbers of trained professionals warranting the additions of GYEEDA/YEA recruits to provide assistance at the basic levels,” he explained.
Any attempt to reintroduce the recruitment of unskilled professionals as hundreds of trained health professionals remain unemployed, MrAkandoh said, amounts to a “misplaced priority” and the country cannot afford to abandon investments in human capital like the many abandoned government projects littered across the country.