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25.11.2004 General News

Nurses assured of improved conditions of service

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Koforidua, Nov. 25, GNA- The Minister of Health, Dr Kweku Afriyie, has assured nursing tutors and nurses that the government was determined to correct any anomalies in the system to make the health sector more rewarding.

He said this would motivate them to give of their best towards the successful implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

He said to ensure adequate supply of trained nurses, the Ministry would ensure that enough funds and facilities were provided for Nurses Training Schools and the recruitment of tutors focused on only those who were fully committed.

This was contained in an address read for him at the formal opening of the 17th annual conference of the Nurses Educators Group (NEG) at Koforidua on Thursday.

The four-day conference had the theme: "Attrition in Nursing: The role of the state."

Dr Afriyie said the Ministry and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) would ensure that policies, including remunerations and promotions, did not discriminate against nurse educators.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Francis Osafo-Mensah, who commended workers in the health sector for their dedication towards the country's socio-economic development, assured them that government would not relent in its efforts to enhance better working conditions and remunerations for health workers.

The acting Eastern Regional Director of the GHS, Dr Emmanuel Tenkorang, called on the government to take over the negotiation, recruitment and remuneration of nurses who may want to go abroad and arrange for their employers to pay part of their salary to the government to help expand the training of nurses.

He also suggested the institution of a sabbatical leave of between one and two years for health professionals who would wish to go abroad and temporarily work to gain more professional experience.

Dr Tenkorang who said about 500 health professionals leave the country annually for greener pastures, called for multiple approach including expanding the nursing training college admissions, identifying and motivating nursing tutors and encouraging private participation in the training of more nurses.

With the institution of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), he suggested that the state must put in place the necessary human and material resources to ensure the smooth implementation of the scheme.

The Chief Nursing Officer, Hajia Mariama Sumani, who gave an overview of the attrition in the nursing sector of the GHS, commended the Western Region for instituting its own Best Nurses Award scheme and called on other regions to emulate that to help check the brain drain. She also called on District Assemblies to sponsor nurse trainees to be to bonded, and work in the district after graduating while distance education be introduced for working nurses to upgrade their standard.

Chairman of the Group, Ms Martha Appiagyei Serwa, who enumerated some of the problems facing the nursing training institutions, mentioned lack of incentives to attract more teachers, slow career progression, inadequate infrastructure for both tutors and students and outmoded teaching aids.

The chief of Koforidua-Ada, Odeefuo Boadi Asiedu, who chaired the function, stressed the need for the government to rationalise policies towards improving the working conditions of health professionals to help check the brain drain.

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