The Ghana Health Service (GHS) 5th Governing Council has as part of its programme of work for its first year, planned regional tours meant to touch base with the real issues affecting service delivery in the regions, districts and sub-district levels.
The aim is for the council to get closer to the service delivery points to interact with health managers and staff, patients and other key stakeholders, to have first-hand information and practical experiences of the challenges associated with the day-to-day delivery of healthcare services at all levels of the Service, and help find lasting solutions to address them.
In line with the above, the council embarked on a three-day working visit to Western Region, from June 17 to 19, 2018. This is the fourth region toured by the council. The first, second and third took the council to Eastern, Central, and Volta Regions respectively.
The council had its meeting on Sunday June 17, in Western Region and started the working visit, June 18 to 19. The following health facilities were visited : Dixcove Municipal Hospital, Agona Nkwanta Health Centre, Fasin CHPS compound, and Western Regional Hospital, Effia Nkwanta. The council had a meeting with Regional Health Management Team, Municipal and District Directors of Health Services, Medical Superintendents and Medical Directors in the region. The council also paid courtesy call on the Deputy Regional Minister, Hon. Eugenia Gifty Kusi to discuss the health issues in the region.
Among concerns raised by the management and staff in the region were poor state of health infrastructure in the region particularly the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital, inadequate ambulance vehicles, lack of staff accommodation, non-mechanization of casual workers, inability of some patients to settle medical bills, inadequate anti-rabbies vaccines, indebtedness to utility companies (electricity and water) and the continuous threat by the companies to cut services to the health facilities and few others.
The council commended the health workers for putting up their best in the provision of health care to their clients in spite of the numerous challenges confronting them. The Chairman of the Council, Dr. Yao Yeboah advised the management of the health facilities to ensure effective team work in their facilities. He also urged the facility managers to ensure judicious use of their Internally Generated Fund (IGF). He cited Eastern Regional Hospital, Koforidua, as a hospital that has so far amazed the council in terms of IGF management. He asked managers of other hospitals to emulate the example of Koforidua Regional Hospital in the use of their IGF. He again advised healthcare providers in the region to strengthen their quality assurance system and ensure good customer care.
The Director-General of GHS, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare advised management and staff to desist from charging unapproved fees from patients. He revealed that NHIS claims for 3 months had been paid to some health facilities, of which Dixcove Municipal Hospital and few others confirmed. He asked the management to let staff be aware whenever they receive payment from NHIS and other inflows to ensure transparency and accountability. He stressed the need for the service providers to foster closer collaboration with other stakeholders to improve indicators for nutrition in the region. He also encouraged mangers to sponsor staff particularly for specialist programs to address the issue of lack of specialists and other critical health professionals in the facilities. Again, he advised District Health Directors to ensure timely release and the use of the MCHP fund for its intended purpose and not to misapply it. He added that measures are being put in place to address the ambulance service issues, and other concerns raised.
The Council is mandated to have general control of the management of the Service and to also ensure, among other things, the implementation of the functions of the Service.
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