Anger Erupts In GHS Over GH₵5million Rebranding
Anger has erupted among some workers of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), following the revelation that a staggering GH₵5,117, 000 has been budgeted by the management to spend freely in the name of rebranding the institution.
The Anchor gathered that, many of the health workers were not aware of the rebranding decision, as it came as a surprise to them, thereby generating heated discussions and exchanges on some of their social media platforms, with some calling for the move to be put on hold.
According to them, the issue is coming at the time many health facilities across the country are struggling to get basic consumables and equipment required to deliver quality healthcare.
The workers, some of who have reached out to The Anchor to express their displeasure, said they are alarmed that the GHS is embarking on such a needless exercise when issues regarding welfare of workers have not been addressed.
They attributed the latest development as part of the reasons for the mass exodus of health workers, especially nurses and midwives, from the country due to poor conditions of service.
“They want to rebrand Ghana Health Service to achieve what purpose? My brother, send your reporters to go and check our stores…they are empty. Whose idea was it to embark on this needless venture? Are we sick in this country or what? Your workers are living and working under poor condition yet they didn’t think of how to improve it. Why won’t our colleague nurses and doctors leave this country?” One of the senior staff workers told the paper.
For some others, the decision to prioritize rebranding of the service, in spite of the current economy crisis, when there are pressing issues to address, smacks of an agenda to dissipate the resources without thinking about the poor.
They want parliament to take interest in the matter by inviting the leadership of Ghana Health Service for questioning.
The Anchor, in its last edition, reported that the GHS, headed by its Director General, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has earmarked GH₵5,117, 000 to rebrand the service.
The amount, according to the management, will be spent on key deliveries, such as registration of the logo, development of a public relations policy, development of a brand book, monthly health education themes and establishment of a Quarterly E-Newsletter, as well as a review of the Customer Service Manual.
According to the service, the branding has become necessary because the institution needs to enhance its identity as a corporate organization, as well as due to “new strategic context and the changing stakeholder expectations.”
Consequently, management said it has appointed a National Implementation Committee to see to the implementation process spanning 2022 to 2026, when it will be celebrating the 30years of its establishment.
They explained, the rebranding will review the strategic factors affecting the brand and proffered strategies and activities to build a substantial brand equity that will help achieve the overall objectives of the service.
A GHS document sighted by The Anchor revealed, management of Ghana Health Service has already set up a regional implementation committee for this purpose, saying, “The cost of the strategy is five million, one hundred and seventeen thousand Ghana Cedis (5, 117, 000).”
A statement addressed to all directors of the Ghana Health Service said, “The Service has appointed a National Implementation Committee chaired by the Deputy Director General to oversee the implementation of the GHS Rebranding Plan (2022-2026) aimed at enhancing the identity of the Service as a corporate organization.
“In line with ensuring the achievement of the objectives of the rebranding plan, Regional Health Directorates are required to establish Regional Implementation Committee to work with the National Committee in ensuring a coordinated implementation of rebranding of the Service.”
The statement, dated October 24, 2023, and signed by Dr. Kuma-Aboagye, said it expects feedback on the institution of the committee later this month.
“Please find attached the rebranding Implementation Framework as contained in the Rebranding Strategic Plan for your guidance, I will expect feedback on the establishment of the committee with its membership by 20/11/2023,” it stated.
The Ghana Health Service was established by Act 525 (1996) as an autonomous agency of the Ministry of Health (MoH) responsible for primary and secondary healthcare.
Since its inception nearly three decades ago, the GHS says certain factors both within and without have negatively affected its brand image and visibility.
Having existed for this period of time, GHS says it is time to look its image and certain issues that have negatively affected its brand.
“Over time, several factors (internal and external) have negatively affected the brand image and visibility over the period. The Service’s response to containing the COVID-19 virus has been received with some measured appreciation from most stakeholders, and this goodwill has had a positive effect on brand visibility and image,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, some people have questioned the relevance of the whole exercise, describing it as absurd and misplaced.
Critics say aside from the money being huge, they argue that the best rebrand for any institution, as important as the Ghana Health Service, is to improve on the quality of service it provides across the country’s health facilities, instead of a mere changing of image.
They say the service should rather be interested in helping to fix the many challenges bedeviling the various health institutions across the country, especially the rural and deprived communities.
They listed some of these challenges as the “no bed” syndrome, general attitude of health workers, needless deaths of patients due to medical negligence, non-existence of equipment and medical suppliers, and the breakdown of machines among others.