The Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives has appealed to the government to provide sponsorship packages for its members who desire to specialise.
The college said that had become necessary due to emerging diseases such as COVID-19, adding that it was also part of efforts to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) in the country.
The Rector of the college, Ms. Hannah A. O. Acquah, made the appeal at the Sixth Annual General Meeting of the college in Accra yesterday on the theme: "Prioritising and promoting nursing and midwifery specialisation towards sustainable UHC in a pandemic era".
There was also induction of 99 associate members and 79 members from Accra, Kumasi and Tamale training colleges.
Ms. Acquah, who presented a report on the activities of the college for the past year, said the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the need for the country to have a cadre of specialist nurses and midwives to attend to new diseases.
She, however, said specialist education was quite expensive hence, the need for the government to invest in post-graduate education of nurses and midwives.
Ms. Acquah also encouraged members to further their education to become abreast of global trends of providing population-specific, disease-specific remedies rather than general care for better outcomes.
She mentioned some critical specialist sectors that needed prompt attention to include critical nursing care, emergency nursing, infectious disease nursing, advanced midwifery and mental health nursing.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Alhaji Mahama Asei Seini, commended nurses and midwives for their yeoman’s job, especially in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the government was working towards reducing the spread of the virus in the country through the acquisition of more COVID-19 vaccines to expand the vaccination exercise to all parts of the country.
The minister further acknowledged the importance of members of the college in the nation’s strive to achieve all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), saying "we cannot do this without the active involvement of nurses and midwives".
According to him, every country's strongest asset was its human capital and, therefore, supporting nurses and midwives was a foundational investment.
He also acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the deficit in healthcare delivery in the country and that the government's Agenda 111 was to help deal with such deficiencies in the sector.
The minister also said the construction of the health facilities would require the training of more specialist nurses and midwives to manage them efficiently.
Professor Victoria Barn of the Department of Nursing and Midwifery of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), said the complexity of the pandemic required that the country built an appropriate group of healthcare professionals, adding "the pandemic has made us see the importance of specialist nurses and midwives".
She also called for the development of telemedicine in the country, saying it was one of the surest ways of dealing with disease outbreaks of any kind.
Prof. Barn lauded the government's Agenda 111 programme, but said it needed adequate and commensurate healthcare professionals to make it succeed.
For her part, the President of the GCNW, Dr. Mrs. Abigail Kyei, also entreated the government to support the college construct a permanent facility.