The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) is worried over the spate of health professionals exiting the country to seek greener pastures abroad.
According to the Vice President of the Association, Justice Yankson, many competent, well-trained health care professionals relocate from Ghana on daily basis due to poor economic conditions.
“We keep seeing numbers in professions that ideally we think is absurd but that’s the reality. You go to work and you overhear professionals discussing their exit – either they are preparing themselves or in the next couple of days they may be leaving and you see it all the time.”
According to a document from the House of Commons in the UK, there are a total of 3,395 doctors of Ghanaian origin working in the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Ghana had a total of 3,236 doctors as of 2021, according to statistics.com. This indicates that there are more doctors of Ghanaian origin working in the UK than those currently working in Ghana.
Dr Yankson, who was speaking on the Super Morning Show, on Thursday, attributed this development to the poor working conditions these health professionals are subjected to in the country. He said, this affects their productivity.
“On regular basis, these health professionals are leaving. If you even go to the nursing end, I think the rate of attrition is even higher than probably all the other specialised groups,” he said.
“If you look at the situation, there are various reasons, but you can summarise them as the economic – which seems to be number one – because people are employed as professionals, highly trained, with expertise that is well sought after by countries in the world over and they’re being given a pittance.
He stated that although the country has well-documented policies regarding the working conditions of health professionals, they remain unimplemented
“Basic conditions of work are not implemented. They go to the workplace itself and the kind of environment and conditions under which they work, sometimes is so appalling. Basic equipment are not available, the environment itself is in disarray, very unkempt, etc. So you go to work and sometimes you may come home generally disappointed because you could have done so much but the lack of resources to help execute your task are not available and sometimes you find yourself being helpless,” he added.
He, thus, called on the government to address the systemic challenges in order to avert the situation else risk losing all the well-resourced persons in the sector.
“Government will have to reprioritise and place a lot more premium on the healthcare, workplace environment and address the systemic problems. As we say the wealth of the nation is dependent on its health. We can just go ahead and pay lip service with all the things around but the truth is that there are fundamental problems that we need to address until we do that the migration will continue,” he said.