Ministry of Health launches new diploma course in Midwifery

Professional Nursing Assistant Clinical (NAC) and Nurse Assistant Preventive (NAP) would soon benefit from a top-up programme designed to upgrade their current certificate holding status into a Diploma in Midwifery. 

To ensure this, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast and the Health Training Institutions have concluded, but yet to implement the conversion programme that would upgrade the Post NAC and NAP Midwifery programme from certificate to diploma.

When finalised, the eight-week sandwich course would be specifically for qualified Nurse Assistants, enabling them on successful completion, to be entered on the midwifery part of the register maintained by the Council and to earn the title of a Registered Midwife.

It would also provide for equitable and appropriate placement of this group of midwives in varied health care roles as in the case of those who do the straight Diploma in Midwifery programme.

Ms Tina Mensah, the Deputy Minister of Health, who launched the programme in Accra on Wednesday, indicated the government’s readiness to support the next stage of the development of this educational programme.

She explained that with more than four decades of regulatory experience, the NMC in collaboration with some training institutions had churned out qualified midwifery practitioners at the certificate and diploma levels, and the new programme would have a far-reaching impact in strengthening the country’s health system.

“Information available to the Ministry from the Council indicates that 985 potential candidates for the Post NAC and NAP Diploma in Midwifery are expected to graduate from the conversion this year,” she said.

Ms Mensah said the Post NAC and NAP Diploma in Midwifery would  not only prepare qualified trainees to pursue a rewarding and challenging career in midwifery, but also provide them with the requisite knowledge, skills and behaviours to deliver safe and effective, evidenced-based care, and to further ensure responsible and accountable practices.

This would certainly contribute to improving the quality of health care in the country by helping to raise the status of this group of health workers to the “professional” level, and prepare them for further development of their midwifery careers through higher education.

Ms Mensah said it was an undeniable fact that central to the progress of any nation was the development of its human resource through training and education, adding that “in the 21st century, labour investment comes not where labour is cheap, but where it is skilled.”

She said there was the need to build a stock of professional and skilled midwives, to contribute to the reduction of the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

Ghana, she said, was currently aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under five mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births the same period.

With the country’s current population of over 29 million, the little over 19,000 professional midwives was woefully inadequate, stressing the need for more of these experts, to handle maternal and child issues including their families.

“It is in this regard that the government has decided to launch this diploma programme to produce more midwives in the country,” she said.

The Deputy Minister said going forward and ensuring a successful outcome of this upgrade programme, the curriculum of the programme, which had sought to address the gaps in the previous curriculum ought to be regularly reviewed, updated and reoriented as necessary to ensure its continued relevance to the country’s needs in midwifery services.

She urged the respective training institutions to design the curriculum to clearly reflect Ghana’s expectation, health problems, health system and the prevailing social determinants of health.

She further called for closer collaboration between the Nursing and Midwifery Council and various health service providers and partners at all levels to ensure the success of the programme.

Ms Mensah charged the midwives with the responsibility of inculcating a positive attitude towards their profession and towards the clients they served, and further urged Tutors to be good “role models” for students to imitate.

She further urged employers on their part to provide supportive environments and resources to ensure that nursing and midwifery professionals successfully work with optimum efficiency and effectiveness.

“In all these efforts, I will urge the Council to continue to work closely with its local and international health partners in mobilizing the resources required for the running of this programme”, she said.

It was announced that the Ghana Health Service has agreed to extend the study leave period for prospective candidates to be able to pursue the course, while the MoH would also play host to the programme within the campuses of its various training institutions across the country.

Source: GNA

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