Brain drain  hits Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anaesthetists 

Story: News Desk 

The Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anaesthetists (GACRA) reports that over 30 percent of its members have left the country for greener pastures in 2023.

It stated that, apart from the concerning figure, hardworking, skillful, and experienced professional CRAs had vacated posts, noting that “this has brought about undue stress on the few left.”

Mr. Nwisangra said this at the fifth Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Conference of the GACRA in Bolgatanga, held on the theme: “Sustaining the practice of anaesthesia in Ghana amidst the brain drain; policy direction and regulation.”

Mr. James Nwisangra, President of the GACRA, said the situation might worsen and affect the practice of anaesthesia.

“I am told many, including some present in the conference, have intentions of leaving.”

He identified the lack of career progression, poor conditions of service, wrongful placement on the Single Spine Salary Scale, lack of scheme of service, and regulatory challenges as factors contributing to the exodus of the skilled workforce.

Mr. Nwisangra said CRAs in Ghana numbered about 1200, serving over 32 million people.

“This gives us a ratio of 1:26, 650.43. This is an unfortunate situation which clearly shows the magnitude of work on the CRA.”

On the significance of their job in healthcare delivery, he said their specialty included the resuscitation of the sick, injured, critically ill, the newborn, and those in intensive care units.

“This can only be done by the trained anaesthesia provider that is the CRA or the Anesthesiologist and not any other person. All emergency situations in our health institutions are centred on the Anaesthetist,” he emphasized.

Mr. Nwisangra, re-elected as the Association’s President for another four-year term at the conference, expressed concern about the poor conditions of service, including the lack of accommodation, and inadequate equipment at the workplaces, among other issues.

He said the GACRA had submitted a comprehensive conditions of service document to the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) awaiting negotiations.

He said even though the rules of engagement had been signed by both parties, there was undue delay in the process of negotiations.

“FWSC, the employer and stakeholders should speed up the process to enable us to have improved conditions of service for the CRA.”

Mr. Nwisangra further indicated that the Association had observed an upsurge in diseases, such as cancer, kidney, and liver cases in Ghana, which used not to be common among the populace.

He said research attributed the diseases to pollution and contamination of rivers and water bodies due to illegal mining activities and the use of uncontrolled chemicals on farms, abuse of substances, and high consumption of alcohol and drugs by the youth.

The Association urged the government to make pragmatic efforts to control illegal mining and the use of toxic chemicals on farmlands to save the lives of citizens.

Dr. Samuel Kwabena Boagye-Boateng, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, in a speech read on his behalf, said the theme of the conference was most appropriate and timely, considering the exodus of health professionals abroad in search of greener pastures.

He said the trend, if not checked, would have dire consequences on the health status of the citizenry.

He appreciated the importance and invaluable roles of anaesthetists in quality healthcare delivery.

“The migration of anaesthetists and other health professionals to other countries in search of better conditions of service should be a cause of worry for all people living in Ghana, and if this is not checked or minimized, will affect access to quality healthcare, which will impact negatively on our health status,” he said.

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