MY TAKE ON THE PROPOSED MOVE OF NURSING TRAINING, ACCREDITATION/SUPERVISION TO THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION BY GHANA’S PRESIDENT.
By Osman Wahab
Now, let’s examine the issues and reasons given by president Mahama for this proposed move on the 23rd of April, 2016, as captured by Lead Nurse Africa.
1. UNEMPLOYMENT: ”…with the worrying spate of unemployed nurses and other health personnel – most of whom are churned out by unaccredited institutions – it has become necessary that such training institutions are moved under the Education Ministry” – President Mahama.
This is the lamest idea or way to deal with this unemployment issue I have ever heard. Let’s face facts, whether the training is done under Ministry of Health(MOH) or Ministry of Education(MOE) the unemployment will still be there unless government takes serious steps at growing the economy and do away with the IMF austerity measures, which include a moratorium on employment. Are we to understand that MOE supervision of The training will result in ready employment? Even if government were to employ all the unemployed nurses currently out there, we will still be nowhere near The ideal 1 nurse to 4 patients WHO standard.
2. ACCREDITATION & SUPERVISION: ”…I think that we must move all training institutions under Ministry of Education and if that is done, then the Ministry of Education is better able to supervise accreditation of these institutions – President Mahama.
Is the MoE better placed to supervise accreditation and training?? I am not sure his advisors or himself have averted his mind to the presence of hundreds of mushroom and unlicensed schools from kindergartens to colleges to private universities that the MoE were supposed to supervise. Also, we all know of the presence of several unqualified teachers who are teaching in these kindergartens to private institutes and colleges who were supposed to be monitored and weeded out of the system by MoE. Have they been able to properly undertake this core mandate of theirs?? So, how sure are we that they will be able to undertake these duties when nursing training is added??
3. Don’t also forget that accreditation of programs for nursing training is done by Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana (NMC) and the National Accreditation Board. To enforce compliance to accreditation rules, there is the need to give some teeth to these 2 institutions to be able to bite (close down these suppose unaccredited schools) because as we stand now, per their Acts, they don’t have such power. This calls for policy amendments aimed at enabling these 2 bodies to really deal with this problem of accreditation and training.
4. I also contest the assertion by the president that these unemployed nurses are products of these supposed unaccredited schools. We all know these unaccredited schools are usually accredited by National Vocational & Technical Institute(an agency of MoE) because the NMC has refused to accredit them for nursing training. They therefore produce what they termed as ”Health Carers” and NOT nurses because they do not run any NMC approved program. As such, I am not sure it’s the products of such schools who have been on government’s neck for employment for over 3yrs now. These unemployed nurses and midwives are those who have graduated and PASSED NMC licensure exams, and certified to practice nursing.
So, this ill-informed move being used to address these issues of training, accreditation and unemployment is poorly thought through and at best an incompetent attempt at addressing unemployment among fully qualified and NMC license Nurses and midwives.
I still insist that the government should forget this ill-thought solution and talk to bodies mandated to oversee nursing issues in the country such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council (training and licensing, adviser to de MOH), Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives (Specialist Training, Research n Policy development) and Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association(welfare of Nurses&Midwives). These bodies understand the issues better and can offer better advise.
RN, Dip., Bsc., MN(MPhil) Student
Orthopaedics and Trauma Unit
Tamale Teaching Hospital