Although a final investigation into the death at the New Senchi Health Centre is yet to be concluded, two preliminary reports on the incident so far point to a possible breach of the procedure in re-engaging retired health officials.
That is the assertion by the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare.
James Yeboah is currently in the grips of the police for administering a contaminated penicillin injection that has caused the deaths of at least four persons at the Eastern Region health facility.
The four victims had gone to the facility to cure their skin infections but their situation worsened after the injection. The skin around the part of their bodies where the injections were administered started to rot away. Attempts to fight their infected skins failed, leading to their demise.
Following the report of the deaths, many have raised questions about the competence of the health worker that administered the injections.
However, speaking on the matter on Upfront, a current affairs programme on the Joy News channel, the Director-General ruled out the possibility that Mr Yeboah was re-engaged by his outfit.
“The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service is the only person authorised to give authorisation that you [retired health worker] can continue staying on, but with an express permission from the Minister [of Health] to the Minister of Finance – because you have to be paid,” he said.
Dr Nsiah-Asare does not think Mr Yeboah was appointed by the Ghana Health Service “because he is not on salary.”
The two reports on the incident have also found fault with the capacity in which Mr Yeboah had been working at the public health facility.
Who is Mr Yeboah?
Giving never-before-heard details about the qualification of the embattled health worker, the Ghana Health Service boss said Mr Yeboah is a Field Technician.
“He is not a Physician Assistant, he is not a Prescriber, he is what we call Field Technician. The Field Technicians normally work with the District Health Directorate to go round and if there is any problem with disease control. They also go round to find out if there is any problem.
“For example, in the olden days, they were looking after skin diseases like yaws and the rest. That is why some of them were taught those days because there were very few nurses and very few Physician Assistant and very few Nurses. They were taught how to inject people,” the Ghana Health Service Director explained.
He adds: "The information getting to us is that he retired about 5-6 years ago…and he stayed on."
Dr Nsiah-Asare says the Ghana Health Service is determined to get to the bottom of the matter.
The final investigation, which he promised will be completed “soon”, is expected to reveal how Mr Yeboah got authorisation to work at the health facility and his motivation to work even though he was not drawing a salary from the state.
Watch video of the show hosted by Raymond Acquah below.