The Presbyterian Health Service – North (PHS-N) has inaugurated a 14-member Area Board to oversee the effective functioning of all its institutions, programmes and projects.

The PHS-N is the third largest single health service provider in the country after the Roman Catholic Church and the Ghana Health Service.

Reverend Fei Hyeaman, the Chairman of the West Brong Presbytery, who inaugurated the board in Bolgatanga, said the area board was responsible for setting objectives, which would be translated into annual operation and financial budgets by the area institutions, programmes and projects.

Rev Hyeaman outlined as part of the Board’s functions the implementation of new projects in the PHS-N and making recommendation to the Committee on Health and Environment of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for approval.

He said members were to serve on the Board at a time that health institutions were facing challenges of inadequate number of professional staff and lack of basic equipment for service delivery.

He said the biggest challenge of the Church was the increasing demand for health services in the rural communities in the face of dwindling partner support.

Rev Hyeaman expressed the Church’s confidence in the Board’s ability to cope with the challenges.

“Our partners have been drawing our attention to their inability to access more funds for our health programmes, the alarm bells are sounding louder of late, it’s about time the church identified new sources of funding for the health programmes,” said.

Rev Hyeaman said even though reimbursement to the institution was persistently delayed, the operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme had improved the internally generated funds of the Presbyterian health facilities and charged the Board to ensure a meaningful growth of the source so that infrastructure and maintenance programmes could be undertaken.

Dr Kofi Issah, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, who was the guest speaker, said the complexity of health care demanded highly skilled staff.

“We need a very clear cut human resource strategic plan within the framework of collaboration with other health services, which would ensure an ultimate use of human resource,” he said.

Dr Issah counseled the members to put in place efficient resource mobilisation structures taking into consideration how resources were utilised to meet the mandate of the PHS-N.

Mr Fred Effah-Yeboah, the General Manager of the PHS-N, said the origin of the body could be traced to 1956 when the then Gold Coast government handed over the “1953-constructed” Bawku Hospital to the Presbyterian Church of the Gold Coast, now Presbyterian Church of Ghana to ensure effective delivery of clinical services and management.

He said when the Church took over, the greatest challenge at that time was lack of trained personnel to support the expatriates in caring for the sick.

“They had no option than to provide on the job training for carefully selected standard seven leavers to do dressing and to administer medication,” he said.

Rev Emmanuel Batesim Atami, Chairman of the Board, said members would continue to bargain, negotiate, network and explore possibilities to bring the needed health care delivery to its clients per the principles of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

He pledged that members would work hard to synchronise their gifts, talents, expertise and experiences to achieve the desired goals.

Other members of the Board are Rev Dr Solomon Sumani Sule – Saa, Mr Fred Effah-Yeboah, Mr Maxwell Akandem Apaknying, Dr Thomas Mensah–Afful, Madam Mary–Stella Adapesa and Rev James Kwame Awuni.

The rest are Mr Titus Oosterink Alzumah, Mr Cletus Azaabi, Mr Ignatius Abugri Awumbe, Mr Dominic Akudago, Madam Vida Atepoka Abaseka Mr Francis Kambila and Mr John Azaare.

GNA/Newsghana.com.gh