Mr. Oakley Quaye-Kuma, Deputy Minister of Health on Tuesday observed that absence of paediatric nurses had hindered Ghana’s effort to improve child survival and mortality as inscribed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“It is therefore basic and imperative that cautious effort is made to train the needed category of workforce to help address the current health needs of this country,” he said.
Launching Paediatric Nursing Training Programme in Accra, Mr. Quaye-Kuma said Ghana needed about 1,500 paediatric nurses over the next 10-15 years to meet the health needs of children.
The Ghana-Canada collaboration programme seeks to build on existing competencies in paediatric nursing to make it more focused on the country’s needs, with the training based on the Community-Based Health Planning Services.
It would develop academia for the School of Nursing, give exposure to practicing nurses in paediatric care, train colleague nurses in the districts and sub districts.
Under the programme, nurses from hospitals and community settings nominated by metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies would be trained to ensure that they stayed and worked in the communities to make up for the absence of adequate care in child health that threatens the country’s workforce and population.
“If we allow our children to die today, it will affect the human capital available for development tomorrow. It is for this reason that the training, which focuses on enhancing the competencies of the paediatric nurses is seen as critical to the capacity development in the health sector,” he said.
Mr. Quaye-Kuma lauded the programme and noted that government was grateful to authorities of Hospital for Sick Children of Toronto, also known as
“Sick Kids” for their efforts to advance global child health to generate relevant research on child health in Ghana.
He reiterated the Ministry’s decision that professional nurses with diploma certificates should be given the opportunity to undertake the programme for two years to be awarded a degree.
Mr. Darren Schemmer, Canadian High Commissioner, said Canada’s assistance to Ghana included volunteering in rural Ghana, the health sector and the programme was the first to be funded by the Canadian International
He noted that among of all the MDGs, it was the two goals of maternal and child mortality that a lot of countries were having difficulties to achieve and expressed the hope that under the programme, the team to Ghana would make meaningful contribution to meet the goals by training nurses in paediatric knowledge and more importantly training a number of nurses nationwide.
Mr. Schemmer commended Dr. Isaac Odame, who trained at the University of Ghana Medical School and led the Canadian Sick kids team for the initiative and assured him of Canadian Government’s efforts to ensure the success of the programme.
Dr. Odame said the team would help to design and develop the curriculum and accelerate the process by taking into account gender equality, government commitment and how to assess performance of the programme expected to commence in July.
He called on health professionals to eschew prejudices about their counterparts in the Diaspora and embrace them when they contribute their quota to the country’s socio-economic development.
Professor Aaron Lawson, Provost of College of Health Sciences lauded the initiative that would reduce child mortality, morbidity and in addition help health professionals to improve their performance to build the needed capacity for the health sector.
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