In the media, there has been much discussion about hiring, preparing, and posting SHS graduates to help nurses in the various CHPS compounds. Many people believe that the government ought to hire unemployed nurses instead. Other reasons contend that these SHS graduates might wind up working as blind patients' nurses, endangering everyone who visits such facilities for medical care.
It is interesting to listen to all the opinions and the arguments making waves but I am quick to add that these opinions and arguments are not being situated in the discussions of fairness. The idea is being misrepresented to make it appear as though Youth Employment Agency (YEA) is taking a risky course. A political undertone permeates the majority of these opinions, while dishonest bastardization underlies the remainder.
I think individuals making an argument against the use of these SHS grads' services haven't had a chance to visit some of these CHPS properties and observe firsthand the kind of challenging circumstances that the institution, particularly in the hinterland, is in. Hosts of challenges had clouded these compounds and sometimes postings to these facilities are less patronized by substantive nurses and midwives. Even if they agree to assignments in these compounds, they will leave after a short time to work at larger, more lucrative hospital facilities.
A compound that draws at least 30 to 50 people every day, depending on the circumstances, may occasionally only have two nurses on staff: one is a community nurse and the other is a service nurse. Even before attending to patients, their work is set up in such a way that they frequently find themselves juggling several tasks at once, which causes the healthcare delivered in these institutions to fall short of the standard of care offered to residents of the surrounding villages.
Based on this context, the government, through YEA, decides to resolve the issue by hiring SHS graduates. Before being deployed, these graduates will receive thorough training to help with a certain menial duty that diverts the attention of the nurses and degrades the standard of care provided at the CHPS facility. It is important to note that these so-called "assistants" will not provide any type of skill or knowledge services to any patients, but rather will help with record keeping, obtaining a patient's medical history, and running errands (such as carrying and washing basins and cleaning and disinfecting hospital equipment). If there is a medical emergency, these "Assistants" will be transported to a larger hospital to obtain any needed medications. These and numerous other crucial tasks will ease the burden on the one or two nurses who are manning an entire village CHPS compound with little to no support.
The argument that the government ought to employ unemployed nurses instead is irrelevant. These nurses are professionals whose services would be subject to terms and conditions and higher pay, making them unsuitable for an assistant position at the CHPS compound. The unemployed nurses are aware that they won't accept postings to the CHPS compounds just so they can conduct menial tasks there. Some assistants have passed through secondary/JSS/JHS education and work closely with government-paid doctors and nurses, even in big cities and regional hospitals. Therefore, sending an SHS graduate to support CHPS medical services is not inappropriate as some seem to suggest.
I sympathize with the unemployed nurses. I'm hoping the government can secure funding to send them where their services will be fairly needed. Governments must continue addressing other, more urgent needs that can enhance the community's access to quality healthcare while they wait.
Educationist/Unionist/Human Rights Advocator/Demographer