THE Eastern Regional Minister, Mr. Yaw Barimah, has called on health personnel to be more committed to saving the lives of the sick than to making demands for salary increases.

He said that the health sector (doctors and nurses) in recent times had been in the practice of driving people of this nation from “admiration to desperation” through incessant strikes which did not augur well for national development.

“The second challenge is the staff attitude to patients especially in the hospital: Doctors and nurses have been trained with public funds, and paid to care for the sick.

“What do we see now? Some leave the country without serving and those who stay refuse to work and watch their benefactors die in the name of salary adjustment.

“And when it is done, another excuse called “salary relative is coined.” This is purely an internal matter and facilities should be seen to recognise staffs who work extra hours to earn the facility more funds,” he said.

Mr. Yaw Barimah, who opened a two-day Annual performance Review Meeting-2006, for the Ghana Health Service (GHS) at the Appenteng Hall, here on Wednesday, also told health personnel to respect patients, adding “You owe them your love as a duty.”

“It hurts when the client who has been registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is shown an unbecoming behaviour because he has no choice.

“I urge you to sit up and make Ghana at 50 a worthwhile celebration,” he said.

The performance review meeting is under the theme: “Achieving Health Related Goals through improved partnership and monitoring.”

The regional minister called for an inter sectoral collaboration between GHS and district assemblies, education, agriculture, social welfare among others.

He commended health workers in the region for their dedicated services and asked them to redouble their efforts to sustain their achievements.

The Regional Director of Ghana Health, Dr. Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyirah, said that the region registered a reduction in under five mortality dropped by 23 per cent – from 157 in 2005 to 118 in 2006 whiles Immunization Coverage remained at 90 per cent with malnutrition slightly dropping from 3 to 2.3 per cent.