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09.11.2005 Health

Private sectors in health sector must respect rules

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Tema, Nov 09, GNA - The Ministry of Health has said it would not tolerate private nurses training institutions that would not respect the rules and regulations of the Nurses and Midwives Council. Major Courage Quashigah (RTD), the Minister of Health, said even though the country had inadequate health care providers and needed qualified nurses it would only encourage genuine and serious private investors.

''This is because nursing is a profession that deals with the lives of human beings and it will be most dangerous to promote mediocre training in order not to compound the suffering of patients.'' He said this in a speech read for him on Tuesday at the second matriculation ceremony at the Narh-Bita School of Nursing, a private a nursing school run by the Narh-Bita Hospital, a private hospital at Tema.

Sixty students, made up of 54 women and females and six men matriculated.

Maj Quashigah said the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme, coupled with the few medical doctors and nurses attending to many patients, required health institutions to be adequately staffed to support the delivery of quality health care but the public and nursing schools currently do not have the capacity to absorb the students.

He said out of 49,000 applicants for the training in nursing only 2,120 were enrolled due to the problems. "These shortcomings require private sector participation in the training of nurses and other health professionals but it should be carried out in accordance with the regulations so that patients do not suffer unduly."

The minister expressed regret at the refusal of some health care providers to accept posting to the rural areas and called for the collaborative effort of all related ministries to make the areas attractive for health professionals.

He appealed to the instructors at the school to inculcate the spirit of patriotism in the nurses to remain and serve their country after their training.

Dr Edward Narh, the Medical Director of the hospital, said the school was negotiating with the Department of Nursing of Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania, USA for exchange programme and currently has four professors on the teaching staff.

He appealed to the government to support initiatives of the private sector in the health institutions to train personnel. Dr Narh appealed to the minister to look into ways that the government could assist private nursing schools with some grants and equipment to enable them to increase their capacity to be in a position to complement government efforts.

Ms Joanna Laryea, the Principal, said while waiting for the final accreditation, the school had applied for affiliation with the University of Ghana, Legon, to enable the first batch of students to be awarded diploma in two years' time.

Mr Moses Asiam, a student, appealed to the Nursing and Midwives Council to consider reviewing the age limit of enrolling nurses since the present 30 years entry requirement put many people away.