Accra, June 16, GNA - A 21-member Governing Council of Nurses and Midwives Council for Ghana was on Thursday inaugurated in Accra to work towards ensuring ways of curbing the high attrition rate of nurses and midwives in the country. Major (Rtd) Courage Quashigah, Minister of Health, further urged the Council to be firm and ensure that all nurses and midwives operated efficiently and within the confines of the law and code of professional conduct. The Council, chaired by Mrs Esther Hammond, a Midwife at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, is to oversee the regulation of education, training and practicing of nursing and midwifery.
Members of the newly inaugurated Governing Council, which is under the Nurses and Midwives Council, are expected to hold office for a term of three years, but members are eligible for re-nomination for another term. It includes 11 nominees from the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), five members of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association, three registered medical practitioners from the Ghana Medical Association, an experienced person in the administration of hospital and health services from the Ministry of Health and a nominee from the Ministry of education and Sports.
Major Quashigah stated that with the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), it was likely to expect an increase in out-patient attendance at health facilities. Further, patients were now more aware of their rights to demand value for their money, he said. "This is the reason why the government and the Ministry of Health have provided motivational incentives including Additional Duty Hour Allowances (ADRH) and Deprived Area Incentive to health practitioners to enable you to offer high quality services."
The Minister said plans were far advanced for accreditation of private nursing and midwifery training institutions by the National Accreditation Board to ensure the training of more nurses and midwives to service the nation's health institutions. Major Quashigah further announced that the School of Nursing, University of Ghana, had accepted to issue the about 2,500 products of the Nursing Training Schools with academic diplomas once the accreditation process was complete. "When this is done, the Universities will award academic diploma to the nurses and midwives and the Council will issue a license to practise after passing the licensure examination," he said.
The Minister expressed regret that in spite of all the efforts to give nurses and midwives very high standards of training and other incentives at great cost to the nation, more than 600 out of the approximately 12,000 nurses trained, leave the country annually. "I will therefore count on the support of the 11th Governing Council to come out with innovative means of making our nurses, who nurse the idea of leaving the country, to put the nation's interest before their own," he appealed.
Ms. Veronica Darko, Acting Registrar and Chief Executive, Nurses and Midwives Council (NMC), in a report on the activities of the NMC for the first half of this year, said the Council had gone through a process of restructuring to achieve its organisational goals. "The Council in its function of conducting licensure examinations has also organised a workshop to update the knowledge and skills of its professional staff to meet the challenges of the 21st Century." Ms Darko said to maintain high standards in the health profession, the Council, ordered the closure of the King's Health College and the Martin Luther King Memorial Nursing Training school, both in Accra, which were operating as nursing training institutions without accreditation. She said the Council had since the closure, conducted an inspection of training facilities at the King's Health College with the view to preparing them for professional accreditation.
rs Darko complained about irregular payment of subvention to the Council, which often resulted in disruptions of its planed activities. She said documents for the construction of new offices of the Council had been signed and the project was expected to start before the year's end.