Ghana improves on doctor, nurse-to-population ratio

• Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Health Minister

• Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Health Minister

Ghana’s nurse-to-population ratio has recorded significant improvement that has exceeded the World Health Organisation (WHO) specifications, says the 2015 Annual Progress Report of the National Development Planning Commission.

The ratio has improved from one nurse to 935 persons in 2014, to one nurse to 739 persons in 2015, thus exceeding the WHO threshold of one nurse to 1,000 persons for developing countries.

The Upper East Region recorded the best nurse population ratio of one nurse to 449 persons, while the Northern Region has the worse nurse-population ratio of one nurse to 946 persons.

The total number of nurses on government payroll was 38,228 in 2015 representing 34.4 per cent, as against 28,437 in 2014.

This is contained in the 2015 Annual Progress Report of the status of the implementation of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) (2014-2017), country’s medium term development agenda, published by the National Development Planning Commission.

The report attributed the achievement to the general improvement in the nurse population due to the increasing number of nurses produced annually as well as the implementation of policies leading to equitable distribution of nurses.

On midwives, the report said the average national standard workload for a midwife improved by decreasing from 132 in 2014 to 112 in 2015, thereby exceeding the WHO recommended for a midwife of 170 deliveries per year.

It said at the regional level, the average annual number of delivery per midwife ranges from 156 deliveries per midwife in the Central Region, to 87 per midwife in the Upper West Region.

The report said in 2014, the Ministry of Health introduced measures to monitor the number of midwives per delivery to ensure that at least, it conforms to the WHO standard.

The Annual Progress Report for 2015 stated that the number of doctors increased by 4.8 per cent from 3,016 in 2014 to 3,160 in 2015 for the second consecutive year to meet the target of one doctor to 10,000 population.

It said the doctor to population ratio improved from one doctor to 9,043 persons in 2014 to 8,953 persons in 2015, although it fell short of the target of one doctor to 7,500 persons set in the GSDGA (2014-2017).

The report stated that Greater Accra Region had the lowest doctor to population ration of one to 3,186, while the Upper west region had the worse doctor to population ratio of one doctor to 30,601.

BY SALIFU ABDUL-RAHAMAN

 

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