‘Rapture-like‘ exodus of health professionals hits Ashanti region

“It’s basically just like a rapture. You meet certain nurses and by the next day, you can’t find them.”

These are the worried words of the Acting Medical Director of the Kumasi South Hospital, which also doubles as a Regional Hospital, Dr. Nana Kwesi Blankson.

The hospital is one of the facilities hardly hit by the exodus of health professionals, especially nurses in the Ashanti region.

Not only are the emigrations widely pronounced, but also biting hard on the hospital and its services as almost half of all units are affected.

The situation has left the facility with few staff to manage critical units such as maternity, mental health, surgical wards and theatres, among others.

Victoria Safoa Osei
Acting Nurse Manager, Victoria Safoa Osei speaks to our reporter

For instance, at the Male Surgical Ward of the facility, only 8 out of 20 nurses posted to work there were at post as at Wednesday July 5, 2023 with the rest said to be seeking greener pastures elsewhere.

“Look at the gap. It’s not easy,” the Acting Nurse Manager, Victoria Safoa Osei posited.

Most of the nurses are now vacating their post under the guise of going on leave.

Patients queuing at Kumasi South Hospital
Patients queuing at Kumasi South Hospital

The exodus of critical health professionals is now a daily phenomenon and not a monthly or weekly basis.

“On daily basis, we have nurses leaving our facility,” a perplexed Dr. Nana Kwesi Blankson noted.

Authorities at the Ghana Health Service are frustrated at the growing number of health professionals, especially nurses, leaving for greener pastures abroad.

Dr.Emmanuel-KojoTinkorang is the Ashanti Regional Director of Ghana Health Service

In the Ashanti region alone, over 300 nurses vacated posts in the first quarter of this year.

Though the Service is yet to conclude an audit of the mass movement, officials say an overwhelming number of skilled nurses have left the shores of Ghana.

The high demand for the services of health workers in developed countries is giving rise to the wave of Ghanaian health workers migrating.

Dr. Nana Kwesi Blankson
Dr. Nana Kwesi Blankson. Acting Medical Director, Kumasi South Hospital

Experienced nurses are leaving in drones with the expectation of better working conditions, flexible work schedules and better pay in the foreign countries.

The exodus of nurses is depleting critical units of some health facilities in the Ashanti region, where 304 nurses have left for abroad in the first quarter of 2023 alone.

Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Emmanuel Kojo Tinkorang, is concerned.

“Now it’s close to about 10 a day because as at the first quarter, we’ve lost over 304 nurses who had requested for leave without pay.

Those who are going are the best that we have because these are the people that we’ve trained for years. They have acquired the knowledge, the skills and the right attitude for years.”

Dr. Anthony Ofosu Adofo
Deputy Director General, Ghana Health Service

The Ghana Health Service appears to be helpless in finding an antidote to the brain drain as concerns emerge about the possible impact on quality healthcare delivery since the few hands at the health facilities are overburdened.

Deputy Director General, Dr. Anthony Ofosu Adofo says there is little the Service can do to stop staff who are motivated by money to travel abroad.

“What is pulling them is the pound and the dollars which we cannot match, and so the pull factor is huge.

“If countries have gaps and they have more money than us, they will attract more than we can attract like the UK, US” he noted.

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Source: myjoyonline.com