The Upper West Caucus of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has raised concerns over the recruitment of District Directors for the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the region.
According to the NDC, they consider the recruitment process as unjust, unfair, discriminatory and an abuse of the rights of the applicants.
Addressing a Presser, the Member of Parliament for Daffiama-Bussie-Issa, Dr. Sebastian Ngmenenso Sandaare stated that all applicants, some of which were currently acting as District Directors in the Region, passed the written exam but yet collectively failed the face-to-face interview.
The Upper West NDC caucus, therefore, finds it quite suspicious that “a person who emerged the best in the written exam is considered not to have the requisite knowledge in management of a District Health Directorate in an interview, results of which were not made public.”
They contended that the situation could negatively affect staff turnover in the jurisdiction, a region that is already struggling with staffing deficit.
The caucus thus argued that there is no justification for the failure of GHS to appoint anyone from the region, asking the GHS to reconsider the applicants from the region by taking the necessary steps to fill the vacant positions to ensure smooth delivery of health service.
Below is the full press statement
PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE UPPER WEST NDC CAUCUS IN PARLIAMENT ON THE UNFAIR RECRUITMENT OF DISTRICT DIRECTORS OF HEALTH SERVICE BY THE GHANA HEALTH SERVICE.
Our attention has been drawn to some injustice and unfairness perpetrated against staff of the Upper West Regional Health Service who sought to be appointed as District Directors of Health Service in the recent recruitment exercise conducted by the Ghana Health Service (GHS). It would be recalled that, somewhere before November 2021, the GHS commenced internal recruitment to fill vacant District-Director positions across the country. The process involved an initial shortlisting of candidates, a written exam and a face-to-face assessment interview.
In response, eight staff in the Upper West Region (UWR) were shortlisted for the written exam and the subsequent assessment interview. It is worthy of note that all eight applicants were successful at the written exam. In fact, the highest national score of 77.5 % came from the Region with a regional average score of 50.7%.
However, and curiously, in the next stage which consisted of the face-to-face interview, results of which were not made public, none of the applicants was deemed to be successful. The GHS went ahead to make appointments without any form of notification to the applicants from the UWR on the outcome of the interview.
Following persistent request for the results of the interview and a justification for the failure to appoint anyone from the Region, a letter was lately authored from the office of the Director-General dated 26th August 2022 indicating that, six out of the eight applicants did not have the requisite knowledge and understanding of the management of district health directorates while, the other two were disqualified because they had not served the required number of years to qualify them for the position.
We consider the recruitment process as unjust, unfair, discriminatory, unreasonable and an abuse of the rights of the applicants. Some matters of concern worthy of note are;
That, a person who emerged the best in the written exam is considered not to have the requisite knowledge in management of a District Health Directorate in an interview, results of which were not made public.
That all applicants, some of which are currently acting as District Directors in the Region, passed the written exam but yet collectively failed the face-to-face interview.
That the results of the written exam were made public whilst that of the interview was veiled in secrecy.
That it took persistent requests including formal letters and petitions, before the GHS could write to the Regional Health Service assigning reasons for the failure to appoint anyone from the Region.
It must be emphasized that this process is very irregular and inappropriate to state the least. It also presents very unfavorable implications.
At first, it is a disincentive to staff who have dedicated themselves to serve in one of the most deprived Regions of the country.
It also communicates the unfortunate impression that the staff in the Region are undeserving of such appointments and can thus, negatively affect the staff turnover in a Region that is already struggling with staffing deficit.
We deem this situation as a deliberate orchestration which is condescending of the people of the Region. The conduct of the GHS is an affront to the rights of the applicants and a violation of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
The GHS is reminded of the duty to act fairly and reasonably in the exercise of its administrative authority as contained in Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution.
Again, the GHS is enjoined to prohibit discrimination and prejudice on grounds of places of origin as contained in Article 35(5) and to ensure regional balance in such appointments as per Act 35(6)b of the 1992 Constitution.
We are therefore calling on the GHS to as a matter of urgency conduct a review or audit of the recruitment process and take the necessary remedial steps.
A key aspect of this is to reconsider the applicants from the Region and grant them their due. We are also calling on the GHS to take the necessary steps to fill the vacant positions in the Region to ensure smooth delivery of health service.
Again, we require a great deal of transparency in conducting such recruitments as opposed to this opaque process giving rise to rife suspicion of underhand dealings and unfair maneuverings to the disadvantage of the UWR.
Hon. Dr. Sebastian N. Member of Parliament for Daffiama-Bussie-Issa &Secretary, Upper West NDC Caucus in Parliament