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Gynaecologist calls for incentive to entice health workers to rural areas.

The Chief Executive Officer of Filial Health Foundation (FHF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Dr. Ernest K.P Kwarko, has appealed to government to urgently institute incentive affirmative package, which will entice doctors and nurses to work in remote areas to help fight against neglected and undeserving diseases.

According to him, it is the only way the world can appreciate that neglected diseases such as head lice and others still exist in the 21st Century and must, therefore, be given attention in these less privileged communities. To him, the world seems to have forgotten that these diseases are in existence and the need to fight against it.

He appealed to the government for a policy codenamed, 'Rural Incentive Affirmation Action Package' to attract health personnel to the rural areas to fight against the canker.

Expressing worry about lack of political will by past and president governments to address the lopsided posting of doctors and nurses, which has resulted in uneven distribution of health officers in Ghana, Ernest Kwarko mentioned that every minister of health has a policy to give incentives to health workers to attract them to the rural areas but implementation has never seen the light.

He appealed to government and specifically Vice President Bawumia to use the same zeal it dealt with the medical drone issue to put together a policy and compel the ministry of health to allocate funds in the form of incentive packages to entice health personnel - doctors and nurses to work in the underserved areas.

To Dr Kwarko, if a doctor or nurse serve in the rural areas, his or her promotion should be fast tracked. The person should also be given a scholarship to further his studies up to five years.

The FHF CEO noted, 'If you put together these packages, you would be surprised. Now the number of doctors is increasing so this is the time to do it. When we feel that we have saturated these underserved communities, we can reverse the policy and that is what an affirmative action is about.'

Dr Kwarko was speaking at an outreach programme at Akyeremade in the Atwima Kwawoma district of the Ashanti region where International Federation of Medical Students of Africa, which was holding annual conference at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) teamed up with FHF to screen the people of Akyeremade, Behenase and Kwawoma.

Dr. Ernest Kwarko, a senior Gynaecology and Obstetrician at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) continued that head lice could easily be eradicated because the mode of transmission is from human to human and that it cannot stay any other parts of the body except for the hair. When they get out from the hair for about maximum four hours, they die.

He revealed that their eggs are hatched in nine to ten days 'so if you manage to incrassate them for about fourteen days, they will also die so it is very easy to eradicate.'

According to Dr. Kwarko, who is a public interest advocate, WHO has set up a programme dubbed, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) everyone, everywhere, which incidentally coincides with his FHF's slogan, ' Health for all'.

Duncan Kahwai, a medical student from University of Nairo, Kenya, told The Chronicle that he has learnt so much from the outreach programme in that he never knew such diseases existed in these communities.

On head lies disease, Kahwai noted it is a disease Kenya has not been keen on ,especially as medical students and doctors, adding that they treat the major diseases ,which is important but the minor diseases have a great impact on the society and that it is a development the Eastern Africa nation must embrace and eradicate.
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Publication:Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra, Ghana)
Date:Dec 20, 2018
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