Bolgatanga, Sept. 23 GNA - Major (RTD) Courage Quarshigah, Minister of Health on Thursday called on nurses and other health personnel to frequently upgrade their knowledge and skills to meet the changing trends in the profession.
He said many Ghanaians were sick of one disease or the other and nurses needed quality education and skills to meet the health needs of the people.
Major Quarshigah made the call, when he opened the 22nd Annual and 10th Biennial National Delegates Conference of the Ghana Registered Nurses' Association (GRNA) in Bolgatanga.
The theme of the Conference, "Nurses For Patients Safety, Advancing Quality Care Through National Health Insurance."
He said with the inception of the National Health Insurance Scheme, many more people would be seeking medical treatment some of them would have minor ailments, while others would report with hidden diseases that were covered up for fear of cost of treatment.
This, he noted, would demand more work on the part of health personnel, thereby increasing pressure on them.
Major Quarshigah said it was important for the nation to maintain a healthy population and urged all to contribute in keeping good sanitation and environmental practices, good eating habits and regular exercises.
He said malaria, which was the most recurrent and worrisome disease in the country could be eradicated, if the proper measures were taken, contrary to claims that it could only be rolled back. The Health Minister acknowledged the good efforts of traditional medical practitioners, saying, some of them could help the health sector a lot, if only they were recognised and encouraged.
"We have ignored them, thinking they are not good enough, but very soon we would go back to them because the whole world is turning to traditional medicine", he said.
Mr Philip Akansige, an expert in health insurance, who spoke on advancing quality care to meet the demands of the health insurance scheme, said a standard had to be set for the quality of nursing in the country, and then make efforts to either maintain it or improve upon it. He said for the past years, it was thought that the introduction of Public Health Care and other measures taken to achieve health for all by the year 2000 would have succeeded, but instead new diseases have emerged and old ones have refused to go, while others became resistant to drugs.
Mr Akansige said health delivery in terms of patients' expectations had rather failed so far, and urged all health personnel to listen to patients, if only they expect the health insurance scheme to help improve the quality of health care.
"If we do not listen to our insured patients, stop fighting over which software to use, prepare ourselves to care for the expected 300 per cent increase in patients, we would get logistics and funding for the implementation of the National Health Insurance programme, but we would not get the desired results", he said.
He said nurses must learn to carry out their duties to the letter and not leave out certain things like bathing and feeding patients in the hospital to relatives.
Alhaji Ahmed Awudu Yirmeah, Deputy Regional Minister, asked the nurses to take their duties seriously and to see job satisfaction in the lives they save rather than the money they earn.