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Only Better Incentives Will Entice New Doctors To The North

Director-General of Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, says he will adopt a two-pronged approach to getting newly trained doctors to deprived parts of the country.

The Northern Regional Health Service revealed recently that the unwillingness of doctors to accept postings to the regions located in the north of the country after completing their housemanship training was impeding healthcare delivery.

The Region’s Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr John Abenyeri, said no doctor chose to serve in any of the health centres in the Northern Region, Upper East Region, Upper West Region and Brong Ahafo Region.

However, discussing ways the GHS plans to solve the “chronic problem” on nightly current affairs programme, PM Express on Tuesday, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare said the current system of posting the new doctors to the deprived areas and hope that they will accept to go must stop.

“I, as a person, I don’t believe in posting…in this world, everybody looks for a job to do. You may post somebody to maybe Walewale and post [another person] who would love to go to Walewale to Koforidua,” he told show host Nana Ansah Kwao IV.

He said if the new doctors decided for themselves where they want to be posted, during an interview process, the problem would be solved.

“That is why I believe that what we should do is to identify the gaps that we have in the various regions so far as doctors are concerned,” the GHS Director-General said Tuesday on PM Express on the Joy News channel on MultiTV.

He revealed further: “In fact, last year I started conducting interviews in May. All the doctors who were given to us for financial clearance we interviewed them but we gave them a choice. We asked them to choose three places and I realised that most of them were choosing down south but a few of them were bold to write Upper West, Upper East and Brong Ahafo Region. But most of them were writing Greater Accra, Eastern Region, Ashanti Region.

“What I want to do, hopefully, this year, is that if we know that Upper East needs about 20 doctors, Nothern Region needs about 20 doctors, Accra needs about five doctors, we will give these number of doctors to the regions and I am proposing to my council…that we conduct interviews in the regional capitals no more in Greater Accra.”

Additionally, he revealed, there would be incentive packages for new doctors who accept postings to the areas where their peers would typically not want to go.

“Some of the incentives are that when you [the doctors] come there will be accommodation. If you are in Accra, you will have to rent your own house,” he said.

He has also urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo regions and the managers of the health facilities located in these areas to invest in getting doctors to come.