The Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, has expressed concern about the number of nurses seeking postings out of the Region.

He said in spite of the shortage of health professionals in the Region, and the difficulty in attracting health professionals, especially Doctors and other paramedics, 150 nurses and midwives have requested postings out of the Region.

This, he said is a major concern to his outfit, “there is high number of staff requesting for postings outside the Region. As we reviewed, we had 150 nurses and other health professionals requesting to leave the Region.”

Dr Dzotsi said this when he addressed the 13th Biennial General Conference of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA) in Bolgatanga on the theme; “Evidence from data to champion investments in midwifery; Monitor the investments for quality midwifery.”

He said if all the 150 nurses were allowed to leave the Region, health facilities would be left without professionals to offer health care services, especially at the Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds, where nurses and midwives played critical roles.

On the shortage of Doctors as a major challenge in the Region over the years, the Director said “Last year, out of nine Doctors posted, only one reported.

“This year, we had four Doctors, but as I speak, they have not reported. Even if you call them, they don’t answer, it is a big challenge to the Region,” he said.

Dr Dzotsi said the GHS would adopt strategies to regulate postings of critical health staff out of the Region to ensure effective health care delivery.

When the Ghana News Agency (GNA) interviewed some nurses and midwives across health facilities in the Region on why they would request to leave the area, most of them, especially those from Southern Ghana, said there were limited opportunities for career progression in the Region.

According them, the regional GHS officials are not unwilling to release qualified nurses and midwives for further studies, coupled with delays and in some cases denied promotions as compared to other Regions.

“Most of my colleagues in other Regions were given opportunities to go to school and pursue other programmes, but in this Region, it is difficult to get that opportunity,” a nurse at Tongo in the Talensi District said.

Another nurse in the Kassena-Nankana West District told the GNA that “Honestly, if I get the opportunity now to leave the Region, I will not even think twice about it. I have served more than the required number of years and I am qualified for postings out of here.

“Apart from that, my colleagues in other Regions on the same grade with me as Senior Staff Nurse, are now my seniors. They were given opportunities, for further studies. I have been applying every year in this Region to no avail,” the nurse added.

A midwife in the Bongo District also said “I am from this Region and would not want to leave, but delayed promotions, issues of salary arrears and study leave are some of the issues that may push me to request postings out of my Region. Apart from these, I have no problem.”