Health sector needs paradigm shift in skill development – Mettle-Nunoo

Rojo Mettle-Nunoo - Deputy Health Minister

Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, has advocated a paradigm shift to upgrade health professionals’ skills to enable them to perform emergency essential services particularly in rural and deprived communities.

He said there should be no reason why community health nurses should for example not be given requisite training, logistics and support to do emergency deliveries, or the medical assistant aided to perform basic surgery and obstetrics and midwives carrying out caesarean sessions.

This, he noted, would give enough space to doctors to handle complicated cases.

Mr Mettle-Nunoo was speaking at the opening of a two-day stakeholders meeting on “Task Shifting” in the health service in Kumasi on Saturday.

It was attended by representatives of the Ghana Health Services (GHS), Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Teaching Hospitals, Health Training Institutions and the Regulatory Bodies.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United States Agency for International Development USAID jointly sponsored the meeting.

The meeting was coming at a time when the country was making frantic efforts to tackle high mortality rate resulting from the shortage of health staff, especially midwives to avoid missing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on health.

Mr Mettle-Nunoo said his Ministry understood the constraints of the health sector and was determined to provide every necessary support to improve the competencies and skills of the workforce.

He urged health training institutions and regulatory bodies to design a curriculum that would integrate modern scientific findings with educational projects that would help both students and tutors to “perceive society as the location of man’s creation and employ professionalism and care in their dealings with society.”

He said they should look at what re-engineering of training could help to bridge the shortfall in health personnel production and to create a sense of urgency, commitment, dedication and patriotism among them.

Madam Fredrica Hanson, UNFPA’s Country Midwifery Advisor, said with just four years remaining in the countdown to 2015, Ghana needed to take urgent action to place reproductive health at the centre of its health initiatives.

“Leadership and resources will mean the difference between success and failure”, she said, adding that the growing momentum must be matched with rising resources.

Mr Chrispher Beyere, Human Resource Officer at the Health Ministry and the Focal Person on Task shifting, said the goal was to help formalize the training to be given to all categories of health professionals to enable them to perform in their different communities and levels of health care.

He called for increased enrolment of students into health training institutions and sponsorship for more tutors to pursue health related programs as well as the use Information Communication Technology (ICT) for health care delivery.

Earlier during a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace by the Deputy Health Minister, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, said there was the need to speed up the Teaching Hospital Project at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to ease the pressure on Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).

Source: GNA

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