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Bawku Conflict: Physician Assistants, other health workers abandoning post

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Physician Assistants and other health workers are fleeing the Bawku township due to the chieftaincy conflict.

The protracted conflict over the years has led to the loss of several lives and properties in the town that was known as a business hub of the Upper East Region. As a result, the Interior Ministry has continuously reviewed curfews. The recent one by the Ministry is from 8 am to 5 pm as a measure to control the conflict.

Peter Ayamba, the Upper East Regional Chapter President of the Ghana Physician Assistants Association, said out of the 6 Physician Assistants posted to Bawku, 1 has left the municipality while the others are seeking transfers.

“For the past few months, one Physician Assistant has left the municipality. Two have privately notified me and expressed their intention to leave because they feel unsafe working in the areas where their facilities are located. We do not even have adequate Physician Assistants in the area. They were just 6, and 1 is gone, 2 are threatening to leave and 2 are newly posted and they have also expressed similar fears. If you are a medical officer who is posted newly in Bawku and upon your arrival, you are meeting gunshots, there is a high possibility that you wouldn’t want to work there,” he said.

The long-standing conflict is a struggle between the Kusasis and Mamprusis over the rightful owners of the Bawku throne. Even though these Physician Assistants may be neutral in the conflict, Mr. Ayamba said there is a possibility of mistrust between the two tribes regarding the existence of the health workers in the area.

Mr. Ayamba expressed worry that these transfers by key health workers will negatively affect health delivery.

“Health service is going to be affected because these are professionals that are supposed to provide overside responsibilities to other health care providers at the health centres and their unavailability will mean that quality of health care will be compromised”, he stated.

Even though there have been countless meetings between the two intermarrying tribes and a high-security presence in Bawku over the years, efforts to restore lasting peace in the area have not been possible.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah|Ghana

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