Management of the Upper East Regional Hospital has engaged the services of six locum doctors as part of strategies to bridge the doctor-patient ratio of about 1:25,000 for quality service delivery.
The 177-bed capacity Hospital, which serves as the major referral centre for the Region, had over the years managed with seven doctors including a paediatrician who is the only Specialist and doubles as the Medical Director.
Speaking at a staff durbar to end a two-day performance review of the Hospital, Dr Samuel Aborah, the Acting Medical Director, said the shortage of doctors at the facility compelled management to engage the locum doctors.
“The total number of doctors we have on our nominal role is 17, but 10 of them are in school, those at post are six,” he said.
Four of the locum doctors are at the Maternity Unit while two are in charge of the Paediatric and Medical wards.
Dr Aborah said even though the initiative had put financial burden on the Hospital, the presence of the doctors reduced maternal mortality from eight to four in 2019.
“Plans are far advanced to commence work again on the Hospital’s rehabilitation project in March 2020,” he said.
“The next phase will involve the provision of equipment, completion of the fence wall, construction of a mortuary, kitchen, laundry and Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD) block.”
He said the facility would also undertake the construction of block of flats for accommodation and completion of the hospital ring road.
Dr Aborah said there would be some discomfort when work begun on the project and called on staff and the public to bear with the situation.
In response to why Management would allow 10 out of 17 doctors to leave for school when the facility was in dire need of their services, Mr Zakariah Yakubu, the Head of Administration, said: “This is a case beyond us, it will be difficult for any of the Management members to stop the doctors from going to school.”
He said some had used the issue of school to refuse postings to the facility, explaining that though the idea would temporarily create problems, it would be more beneficial to health service delivery in the future.
“We are hoping that by the end of this year, two of them will return,” Mr Yakubu said.