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34,000 more health pros to be recruited by close of year — Health Minister

 The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has urged health professionals who are yet to receive their appointment letters to exercise restraint as government works to clear the entire backlog which has been outstanding since 2012.

According to the Health Minister, government over the last two and half years had provided  the needed financial clearance and it was expected that by the close of this year, a total of 54,892 health professionals, comprising medical doctors, nurses and other ancillary staff  would  have been cleared.

“You all remember that between 2012 coming up until 2017. There was a ban on the recruitment of nurses-those who were bonded and those who were not bonded, none of them was recruited. Even though they were recruiting medical officers and housemen on limited basis in most instances for two years after recruiting, they couldn’t process them to be paid, so these are the backlogs we are dealing with,” he emphasized.    

Mr Agyeman-Manu who was taking his turn at the Meet-the-Press Series organized by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday said the process of recruitment was an ongoing exercise meant to clear the backlog and for 2017 and 2018 a total of 20,892 were recruited.

He explained that for this year alone, clearance had been given for 34,000 health professionals to be recruited, adding that “The 54,892 is a cumulative figure from 2017, please get me right! 2019 alone is when we got the highest about 34,000 so 54,892 minus 34,000 were recruited in 2017 and 2018 that are still in the field.” 

The Minister explained that the clearance for the recruitment of 34,000 health professionals for this year included, but not limited to only bonded nurses and medical doctors, but also non-mechanized staff in the various hospitals.

He explained that the non-mechanized staff were those employed by the various health facilities to work at their facilities but were not on the payroll.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu said as part of the process, the ministry had launched an electronic platform to facilitate recruitment and placement of staff at health facilities.

On the nursing training allowance, he said 57,000 trainees were currently benefiting from the restoration exercise at a cost of GH₵20, 400,000 per month, adding that “100 per cent of total commitment amounting to GH₵210million for 2017-2018 academic year has been paid; the government has also paid the first seven months of the 2018/19 academic year and GH₵57.8million warrant has been released for the payment of the rest of the months.”

He noted that as part of government’s aim of ensuring universal health coverage, a number of reforms had been undertaken in the areas of service delivery, supply chain reform, human resource, healthcare financing and in the area of providing the needed infrastructure.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said the quality governance structures had been strengthened to coordinate implementation of all quality initiatives in the sector — a national healthcare quality strategy developed to guide the process and emphasis on various tools to ensure accountability and responsiveness , for example, community scorecard to empower communities to take active part in the monitoring of health services in their communities by giving feedback to health authorities.

On some achievements, he said the country’s immunization coverage had improved over the years with an attainment of 97.47 per cent recorded in 2018, stressing that “No polio case has been reported in Ghana since 2008, no documented measles death since 2003.”

By Cliff Ekuful

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