Veep asks student nurses to accept postings to rural areas

Vice President John Mahama

Vice President John Dramani Mahama at the weekend urged student nurses and midwives to accept postings to the rural areas where their services would be appreciated and needed most.

He assured them that government would continue to work around the clock to improve on their allowances and general conditions of service.

“With all these expenditure on you, we expect you to also demonstrate your readiness and willingness to work for the people of Ghana by exhibiting a high sense of devotion, dedication and commitment to your duties,” he said.

Vice President Mahama made the call during the 13th matriculation ceremony of the Holy Family General Nursing and Midwifery Training College at Berekum, in the Brong Ahafo Region, where 150 students matriculated to pursue a three- year diploma courses in General Nursing and Midwifery.

Out of 687 applicants short-listed, 150 consisting of 50 midwifery and 100 general nursing students were offered admission.

The Vice President said it is unfair and professionally dishonest for health workers, especially doctors and nurses to be concentrated in the cities and other urban areas while the really deprived people are left to their fate.

He called on health service providers to re-direct their education on child and maternal health and sanitation since they are critical areas to qualify the country to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Dr Benjamin Kumbour, Minister of Health noted that the professional staff situation of the health sector is grave, although the brain drain challenged faced by the country had stabilised.

He said inequitable distribution of health workers also persist.

Dr Kumbour entreated the students not to view their placement in socially deprived areas as punishment but a challenge “for which the government is now prepared to recognise and reward appropriately”.

Most Reverend Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, Catholic Bishop of Sunyani, who spoke on the topic: “Preparation and Training of Health Professionals-Stressing the Need to Integrate Christian Values and Ideals,” said Ghana is in dire need of quality health care professionals.

He observed that Ghana is confronted with inadequate number of physicians and nurses, stating that the latest statistics from the World Health Organisation revealed that the country attracts about 3,240 physicians and 19, 707 nurses and midwives.

In relation to the country’s estimated total population of 23 million, the doctor-patient ratio remained one to more than 7,000, whilst that of a nurse or midwife also stood at 1,000 or more patients to one.

Bishop Gyamfi advised the trainees to be compassionate and God-fearing in their work, adding: “With divine providence, you can aim at attending to and saving the lives of a 1,000 people or more in your lifetime.”

He urged the students to strive to be diligent and dedicated in their studies, and opt for excellence in everything they do without settling for anything less while putting into practice the college’s motto: “Before you learn to care, you must care to learn”.

Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, Regional Minister said that plans are far advanced for the establishment of a  Midwifery Training School at Goaso in the Asunafo North Municipality to add to the 579 health institutions evenly distributed in the region.

He said some infrastructure had been identified and rehabilitated including for the project including the completion of residential accommodation for the principal, while admission forms are out for the first batch of trainees.

The Regional Minister said the establishment of a Physiotherapy Assistants and Orthotics Training School at Duayaw-Nkwanta St John of God Catholic Hospital, the first of its kind in the Anglophone West African Sub-region, was a major development of the health sector in the area.

Mr Nyamekye-Marfo expressed the hope that the school would hold great prospect for the region and the country at large since the graduates would contribute greatly in the treatment of patients.

Reverend Veronica Darko, Registrar/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nurses and Midwifery Council who administered the matriculation oath reminded the newly-admitted students of the challenging nature of their chosen profession.

Madam Monica Nkrumah, Principal of the college, said since its inception 53 years ago, the number of students admitted to pursue courses in nursing and midwifery had been increasing exponentially and had outpaced the rate of development of physical infrastructure like lecture halls and hostel facilities.

She said the college now boasts of a total enrolment of 437, comprising 284 females and 153 males.

Madam Nkrumah said 71 per cent of the figure is from the Brong Ahafo Region.

She said since 2006 the school had ranked either first or second in the Licensure Examination conducted by the Nurses and Midwife Council of Ghana.

Vice President Mahama later presented a 31-seater bus valued at $70,000.00 (GH¢ 100,000.00), donated by the Ministry of Health as part of a package to the college.

He also inaugurated a GH¢ 700,000.00 one-storey lecture block, containing offices, classrooms, library and skills laboratory.

Source: GNA

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