The Ghana Health Service (GHS) is to introduce a “family hospital” concept into health service delivery in all health facilities nationwide.
The initiative is to take healthcare delivery to the people by bringing health workers closer to patients and their families.
“Our job is the family. We want to be closer to our patients and their families,” Dr. Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, Director General of the GHS said in Ho on Thursday.
He was speaking at the 11th Annual General Conference of the Ghana Physician Assistants Association (GPAA), on the theme, “The versatility of the Physician Assistants in the primary health care setting-The way forward.”
Under the family hospital concept, health facilities would establish links with patients and develop lifetime relationships with them.
Dr. Appiah Denkyira said measures were being put in place to assign midwives to all pregnant women, who would keep record of the health status of the pregnant women until they gave birth.
He said the Service was gradually moving away from doing the “normal things” towards becoming more passionate with healthcare delivery.
Dr. Appiah-Denkyira therefore asked Physician Assistants to desist from staying at health facilities but rather reach out to patients and the vulnerable in their communities.
“Your work is preventive so you must be in the communities and homes. People must no longer die in their homes because they could not access healthcare,” he said.
Dr. Appiah-Denkyira lamented that though the country could boast of a huge number of health professionals, it was not utilizing the numbers to achieve health-specific Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), saying it was time Physician Assistants made friends with patients and stayed with them in the communities.
The Volta Regional Minister, Mr Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, underscored the important roles Physician Assistants played in the country in view of the shortage of doctors and other specialists.
He said government was not oblivious of the services they rendered and pledged the readiness of government to institute policies which would enhance their work.
Chief Bandana Imoro III, National President of GPAA said the absence of systematic career profession path and scope of work was a major challenge confronting Physician Assistants in the country.
He explained that until recently, it was very difficult to appraise Physician Assistants, as superiors often dictated the do's and don’ts of such health professional groups.
Chief Imoro therefore called for the establishment of a legislation to define the scope of work and career progression for Physician Assistants.
Nana Okoforobour Kwame Asante II, Tapahene, who represented Togbe Afede XIV, President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, said chiefs in the Region were ready to work with Physician Assistants in the communities and urged them to see traditional authorities as partners.
Physician Assistants, formerly known as Medical Assistants, are middle level health workers responsible for basic health care needs of about 70 per cent of the Ghanaian population.
They provide services in both rural and urban health care centres including augmenting staff levels at district hospitals and clinics.
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