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Ghanaian nurses to work in Europe, other countries

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah & Agnes Melissa Yovo
Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu (seated middle) and Mr John Peter Amewu with some officials of the Ho Teaching Hospital
Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu (seated middle) and Mr John Peter Amewu with some officials of the Ho Teaching Hospital

Ghana is holding discussions with its neighbours, as well as countries in Europe and the Caribbean, to export nurses to those countries.

This is to create jobs for the many nurses who are being trained in the various training institutions across the country.

The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, disclosed this in Hohoe when he met with health professionals on the last day of his three-day working visit to the Volta Region last Wednesday.

He said Jamaica had already expressed interest in importing the services of nurses from Ghana, adding that the Ministry of Health was also working to secure visas for some nurses to go and work in Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

WHO recommended levels

Mr Agyemang-Manu said the country was training more nurses from the 85 nursing and midwifery training schools and that had placed it in a position with more nurses than the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended levels.

He said the export of nurses would be in line with the government's Ghana Beyond Aid policy which would earn foreign exchange to add to traditional exports such as cocoa that the country had always depended on.

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"That is how the health service can also contribute to bring in dollars to make sure that our currency stabilises for us to become a proper middle-income country," he added.

He indicated that because of the government's free senior high school (SHS) policy, many more SHS graduates would be coming out and that those who might want to choose nursing as their profession would also be trained to augment the numbers.

Hohoe Municipal Hospital

Referring to the Hohoe Municipal Hospital, Mr Agyemang-Manu announced that Cabinet had given approval for its upgrade to a Regional Hospital, saying more specialists would be posted there.

"Ghana stands tall when we talk about healthcare services in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of infrastructure, personnel, specialised doctors, nurses and midwives and this is aimed at achieving universal health for all by the end of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government's second term in office,” he said.

He added that the government had ordered 275 ambulances which would arrive in the country by August this year, in fulfilment of its one-constituency, one-ambulance policy.

Furthermore, by the end of the year, the Ministry of Health would be employing 50,000 nurses, midwives and doctors, he announced.

Togbe Worde IV

Welcoming the minister and his entourage, the acting President of the Gbi Traditional Area, Togbe Worde IV, thanked the President and the government for the decision to elevate the Hohoe Municipal Hospital to a regional health facility.

He pleaded with the minister to send more staff and specialists, such as ophthalmologists and orthopaedic surgeons, to the hospital.

Togbe Worde also appealed to the government to provide more infrastructure in the area.

Doctors must accept postings

Earlier, in a presentation on the state of health service in the region, the Deputy Volta Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Ofori Yeboah, said 17 new doctors and other paramedics posted to the region had all reported.

That, he said, was a good sign, unlike the situation in other areas where some health professionals refused posting.

He said this year alone the region had received nine brand new pick-ups and some motorbikes to enhance operations.

Dr Yeboah, however, mentioned challenges, including the indebtedness of health facilities to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the high cost of utilities, rigid funding mechanisms, inadequate registers for record keeping and the low number of drivers and supporting staff.

He, therefore, appealed to the minister to help find solutions to the challenges in order to help improve healthcare delivery in the region.

Ho

Mr Agyemang-Manu also visited the Ho Municipal Hospital, where he commended the Medical Superintendent, Dr Lawrence Kumi, for efficiently mobilising and utilising the hospital's internally generated funds (IGFs) to transform the facility to its present state of having very good facilities.

Three-day visit

The Health Minister started his three-day working visit to the Volta Region last Monday by inspecting work on a 60-bed district hospital at Woeta in the Keta municipality.

The project is one of the five district hospitals and a polyclinic being constructed in the area at a cost of €80 million that forms part of a loan from Austria.

Mr Agyemang-Manu also visited other health facilities, including the Keta Municipal Hospital, the Hohoe Nursing and Midwifery Training School, the St Margaret Marquette Hospital in Kpando, the Peki Government Hospital and some Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds.