Ghana's health sector in danger as 500 midwives retire by 2016

A total of 500 midwives are due to retire from active service across the country’s public health institutions, a situation health authorities fear would have dire consequences on health delivery.

Ghana currently does not have enough midwives in the country, particularly in the rural areas, which has affected reproductive and maternal health.

The Ghana Health Service is currently taking steps to ensure that the 500 midwives in public health institutions who are due for retirement, are retained until replacements are found.

“The challenge that we are facing is that 500 midwives between this year and next year are going on pension and so we’ve written to the government to help us to retain them where they are as we accelerate the production of more midwives,” Dr. Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira told TV3.

Dr. Appiah-Denkyira who is the Director General of the Ghana Health Service in the meantime is urging the private sector to save the situation by absorbing those midwives who will be retiring, indicating that Ghana needs them badly.

“Ghana needs the people but the ability to engage them is the problem because of the financial ceiling. The World Bank came and saw that the government has become the major employer and for a country that is developing into a middle country status, it should not be,” he noted.

He said the Service has resolved to deploy midwives to the various CHP compounds which were hitherto manned by Community Health nurses.  “The CHIPS used to have only community health nurses but now we say there should be a midwife there because studies have shown us that if you place the midwife close to the people as possible, mortality is curtailed,” he stated.

A 2010 statistics puts the midwife-patient ratio one is to 7,200. The statistics also showed Ghana needs an additional 8,000 midwives to fill the gap if maternal health is to be developed to an appreciable standard.

Midwives play a crucial role towards the achievement of national goals and targets in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.

READ ALSO:  I get traumatised: Anas speaks to BBC on near-death works