RE-MIGRATION OF THE HEALTH SECTOR ONTO THE SINGLE SPINE SALARY STRUCTURE TEST-RUN OF MECHANISED PAY ROLL DATA
This is in reference to your letter No. FWSC/D/SCR. 3vc/4/83 dated 22nd November 2011 to the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to effect changes with regards to TECHNICAL OFFICER GRADE among others. We the members of the Ghana Association of Public Health Technical Officers wish to draw your attention to the clear distinction between Technical Officer Bio-Statistics and Technical Officer Health Information.
Training for Technical Officer Health Information
The training for Health Information Officers at the College of Health (Rural Health Training School-Kintampo) entails all the courses under the community health programmes for disease control and nutrition. This includes basic sciences, public health (disease surveillance, immunization, disease control, cold chain, health system research, primary health care, health planning), community nutrition etc. The only difference between the Health Information Officers and Disease Control/Nutrition has to do with Demography and Computer application which is done at the final year by Technical Officers Health Information.
Technical Officer Health Information is a programme specifically designed for public health practice at the district level just like Technical Officer Disease Control and Nutrition within the Ghana Health Service/Ministry of Health.
Training for Technical Officer Bio-statistics
In terms of public health practice and the rational for introducing Technical Officer Health Information programme by the Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service at Kintampo, the polytechnic trained Statistics students employed as Technical Officers Bio-Statistics cannot be equated to the Technical Officer Health Information which is among the multi-purpose Technical Officers Group (Disease Control and Nutrition) working at the various levels of health care in the country.
Arguably the statistics products from Polytechnics are trained not specifically for health data and therefore do not belong to the health professional group.
Work of Technical Officer Health Information
Unlike the Bio-Statisticians who are trained at the various Polytechnics as statisticians with no training in public health, Technical Officer Health Information is specifically trained to work just like a Technical Officer Community Health (Disease Control and Nutrition).
Due to the professional competence in terms of public health care, Health Information Officers does the same work as Disease Control, Disease Surveillance and Nutrition Technical Officers. Therefore, they qualify to be classified as Clinical Grade. In addition, majority of them due to their training are working as programme coordinators for (HIV, TB, Malaria, CHPS, Neglected Tropical Diseases etc) at the district level.
Furthermore, the Technical Officer Bio-statistics work solely on data unlike Technical Officer Health Information Officers who are among the multi-purpose Technical Officers working at the various levels. Therefore, it is ethically wrong to put the two together to merit the same market premium of the intended 30%.
The Technical Officer Health Information just like the analogous group Disease Control and Nutrition is among the BSc. Public Health programme recently introduced by the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service in conjunction with the School of Public Health – University of Ghana (Legon) for health information officers, disease control and nutrition.
However, majority of records assistance were just promoted and converted to become Technical Officer Bio-statistics without the formal three year training at Kintampo for Technical Health Information Officers.
Impact of the intended action
The intended action if allowed to go on will have negative consequences for public health activities at the district level. It will negatively affect the work output of the district health management teams since some Health Information Technical Officers are working as Technical Officers nutrition and disease control in some of the districts.
The Technical Officer Health Information is first and foremost health professional with public health background to work on health data for Ghana Health Service/Ministry of Health to improve data management which was handled by bio-statisticians and records assistance who had no background in public health care. Therefore, it is out of place to put the two distinct professions together thereby reducing the market premium for Technical Officers Health Information 58% to 30%.
We therefore recommend that, the Technical Officer Bio-statistics should be separated from Technical Officers Health Information trained at Kintampo College of Health (Rural Health Training School).
The intended action to reduce the market premium from 58% to 30% for Technical Officers Health Information should be stopped immediately based on the above reasons stated in terms of training, work and career progression.
We count on your co-operation to work on this issue urgently to prevent confusion at the district level.
CC: The Hon. Minister of Healt
The Director General, Ghana Health Service
The General Secretary, HSWU
The General Secretary, GRNA
The Chief Executive Officer Korle-Bu, Teaching
The Chief Executive Officer, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital
The Chief Executive Officer, Tamale Teaching Hospital
The Director, Human Resource Division, GHS