Cabinet has approved a US$20 million loan facility for the completion of the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga to help improve healthcare delivery in the region.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, disclosed this in Bolgatanga yesterday at the start of his three-day working visit to the Upper East Region.
He explained that the loan facility which would be used to furnish and complete the regional hospital had been approved by cabinet, and has been presented to parliament for consideration.
“The contractor had to leave site because there was no money to pay him to continue work. They have finished with phase two, but what was in process now was phase three because some more civil works had to be done, however, you could clearly see from where we have visited that, the rooms had no beds, no equipment, nothing,” he said.
Mr Agyeman-Manu indicated the completion of the regional hospital was among government’s priorities to help improve health service delivery in the country.
He noted that the facility, when fully furnished and equipped with the necessary equipment, would also help decongest the overcrowding nature of the hospital and boost quality healthcare in the region.
On the issue of doctor shortage in the region, the minister disclosed that government was devising strategies and appropriate policies, including proper incentives, to deal with the issue especially in the rural areas such as the northern parts of Ghana.
“We are training and coming out with a lot of doctors, our only problem is that they still want to concentrate themselves in the southern parts of the country. So we need to do engineering, and we are working on our human resource policy to see what packages we can use to attract more doctors to the northern parts to beef up the numbers here, “he stressed.
The Regional Director of Health, Dr Winfred Ofoso, explained that the doctor-to -patience ratio in the region was one doctor to about 23,000 patients, and that was negatively affecting healthcare delivery in the region.
The regional director complained that under staffing, especially with regards to medical doctors, was a major issue in the region, and disclosed that the hospital currently has four doctors who are not employed, but are engaged by the regional hospital and paid from the hospital’s internally generated funds.
The minister, who was accompanied by some staff of the ministry, as part of the tour, visited the Upper East Regional, Bongo, Bawku, Fumbisi hospitals, among others, and other health related agencies such as the National Health Insurance Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, the Pharmacy Council and the Ghana National Ambulance Service.
The visit was aimed at monitoring the performance of healthcare delivery in the region as well as finding solutions to tackle the challenges confronting the sector.