Ghana Health Service (GHS) has assured that the mass exodus of nurses and other health professionals from Ghana for better income and compensation packages abroad has not negatively impacted the provision of healthcare services in the country.
GHS recruited 33,625 new staff in 3 years
Director-General of Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, who gave the assurance at the Minister’s news briefing in Accra said the Service had recruited 33,625 new staff over the last three years to boost its capacity to deliver primary healthcare to Ghanaians.
120,000 GHS workforce
According to him, in the first six months of 2023, GHS increased its staffing capacity from 86,000 to 120,000 and taking steps to replace those who had left through further training.
Over 8,000 nurses and midwives travel abroad
Over 8,000 nurses and midwives trained in Ghana have left the country between January 2022 and June 2023.
Data from the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) shows that about 4,000 nurses and midwives left the country in 2022 to seek greener pastures abroad.
Between January and June 2023, another 4,000 Ghanaian nurses and midwives left Ghana in search of greener pastures abroad.
10,209 apply for clearance to travel abroad
GRNMA data also shows that from January to July 2023, a total of 10,209 nurses and midwives sought clearance with the association to travel outside the country.
A study has revealed that 59.9% of nurses in active practice have immigration intentions
A recent survey of 360 doctors currently practicing in Ghana showed that about 905 have ever considered leaving the country to move to more developed countries.
40,000 trained nurses not employed
The unemployed Nurses Association estimates that backlog of between 25,000 and 30,000 general nurses trained by public nursing training colleges from 2020 and 2021 are yet to be employed.
According to the association, this number excludes nurses trained by accredited private nursing colleges and universities.
Also, the referral batch for 2019 has not been engaged by government.
The association estimates that when those trained by private nursing training colleges and universities are added to those trained by public nursing training colleges, the number of unemployed nurses could hover around 40,000.
Nurses who pursued two years certificate programmes for the past four years have also not been employed.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye stated that the Service is rolling out innovative strategies and programmes to expand access to primary healthcare at the sub-district level under its Network of Practice (NOP).
The NOP is a model of care where the GHS deliberately builds networks of health facilities at sub-district level and support them to work optimally to strengthen primary health care.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said between 400 and 500 health centres will be upgraded into model ones with new infrastructure, equipment and human resource to deliver quality healthcare.
$150m to upgrade about 500 health centres
He announced that Parliament has approved $150 million World Bank facility to support the implementation of the Networks of Practice project.
He encouraged Ghanaians to appreciate the efforts of health professionals who were patriotic enough to stay in the country to serve their motherland.
On his part, Dr Alberta Biritwum-Nyarko, the Director in charge of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at GHS, said the NOP project would involve a group of public and private health facilities deliberately interconnected through an administrative and clinical management model to offer better health services to clients.
The project will increase access to quality healthcare and population-based services for all by 2030.
It will provide 24-hour services, rapid response to clinical and public health emergencies, better feedback from the community and improve the provision of medical equipment and logistical management to clients.