NewsEquitable Distribution: How Ghana Posts and Transfers Nurses Across the Country

Equitable Distribution: How Ghana Posts and Transfers Nurses Across the Country

The posting and transfer of nurses and other health workers in Ghana is an important process that ensures health personnel are distributed equitably across the country to provide quality healthcare services to all citizens.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of how postings and transfers of nurses and other health workers are conducted in Ghana, looking at the policies, procedures, key players, and factors that influence deployment decisions.

Background on Healthcare System

Equitable Distribution: How Ghana Posts and Transfers Nurses Across the Country

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) under the Ministry of Health (MOH) is responsible for public sector healthcare delivery across Ghana.

Healthcare provision follows a decentralized system with services delivered across 4 administrative levels – national, regional, district and sub-district. At sub-district level are Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) zones which provide primary care through small health posts run mainly by nurses and community health workers. As of 2020, there were over 140,000 healthcare workers in Ghana, with nurses and midwives making up around 60% of the health workforce.

The doctor to population ratio stands at 1:9,523, below the WHO recommended 1:5,000. This highlights the critical role nurses play in healthcare delivery

Posting and Transfer Policies

Postings refer to the distribution of newly qualified health professionals from training institutions to health facilities. Transfers on the other hand involve the movement of already deployed staff between health facilities .

Key guiding policies include:

  • GHS Postings Policy which outlines principles and procedures for postings.
  • GHS Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct which provides ethical guidelines .
  • Public Services Commission Regulations on transfers in the public sector .

The goal is to ensure adequate staffing levels across all health facilities in an equitable manner, paying attention to deprived areas.

Posting and Transfer Procedures

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Entry-Level Postings

  1. Final year students submit posting preferences to their schools
  2. Schools submit candidate list to GHS national HR directorate
  3. GHS conducts postings based on vacancies across country
  4. Posting letters issued to students through schools
  5. Students report to assigned facilities .

In-service Transfers

  1. Health workers apply for transfer through an online portal
  2. Applications reviewed by regional/district directors
  3. Interview conducted to determine suitability
  4. Successful applicants issued transfer letter .

Leave of absence to pursue further studies can also prompt temporary transfers to teaching hospitals .

Key Players and Responsibilities

  • Ministry of Health – Sets overall health policies and coordinates health workforce activities via agencies like GHS .
  • Ghana Health Service – Conducts entry-level postings and approves in-service transfers .
  • Regional Health Directorates – Lead transfer process and make recommendations to GHS .
  • District Health Directorates – Implement approved postings and transfers in districts .
  • Health Facility Heads – Provide vacancy and staffing data to inform posting decisions .
  • Training Institutions – Prepare and submit candidate list to GHS for postings .

Factors Influencing Postings and Transfers

Several technical and non-technical factors influence deployment decisions:

Technical Factors

  • Staffing needs and vacancies across health facilities
  • Workload levels of different facilities and districts
  • Specialist skills and qualifications of health workers
  • Years of experience and seniority

Non-Technical Factors

  • Political interference and lobbying
  • Bribery of officials to get preferred postings
  • Social connections and nepotism
  • Personal reasons like family ties to location

These non-technical factors sometimes override technical considerations around staffing needs and lead to inequities in health worker distribution .

Effects of Current Posting Practices


  • Increased health worker numbers in underserved areas.
  • Rise in nurse-led primary care services through CHPS zones.


  • Uneven distribution of workforce skewed towards urban centers .
  • Staff shortages in some rural facilities .
  • High attrition of nurses posted to remote areas.
  • Low health worker morale and absenteeism .

This shows that while postings help bridge workforce gaps to an extent, maldistribution issues still persist affecting quality of care.

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  • Improve deployment policies – make postings needs-based, transparent and monitor adherence.
  • Provide adequate incentives for rural postings like better salaries and accommodation .
  • Increase engagement of health workers in transfer decisions.
  • Strengthen HR data systems to better forecast staffing needs.
  • Address political interference and streamline posting procedures .


The posting and transfer system aims to equitably deploy nurses and health workers based on health needs and vacancies. However influence of non-technical factors and high attrition of rural staff affects distribution outcomes. Addressing gaps through improved policies and incentives can help optimize postings to build a robust health workforce across Ghana.

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