Nurse assistant clinical and preventive training programmes to be suspended in 2019

Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu
Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu

Graphic Online has stumbled upon a regulatory policy from the Nurses and Midwifery Council (NMC) halting the training of Nurse Assistant Clinical (NAC) and Nurse Assistant Preventive (NAP) programmes effective 2019/2020.

The suspension which according to the Council was in consultation with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), was aimed at strengthening the degree and diploma awarding programmes in Nursing and Midwifery to improve the standard of practice of nursing and midwifery.

The directive which was written on June 28, 2018 has therefore advised the various training institutions to “plan towards the folding up of these programmes if your institution is currently running such programme(s)”.

The directive was copied to all deans, heads and principals of nursing and midwifery training institutions.

It said following the outcome of a desk review meeting held by the ministry, N&MC, GHS, the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), teaching hospitals and other stakeholders in respect of the health sector needs for these cadre of staff.

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Signed by the Registrar of the N&MC, Mr Felix Nyante, it said statistics showed that there were adequate numbers of NAC/NAP practitioners for the health sector.

This, according to the directive was affirmed during a human resource forum held by the MoH this year at Koforidua to review the country’s human resource needs for the various cadre of nurses and midwives in the country among others.

The directive

The directive which was written on June 28, 2018 and also copied to the Minister of Health and his two deputies, the Chief Director, MoH, the Director General of the GHS, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of all the teaching hospitals among others, also said it was in this regard that quotas for admissions of these two programmes had been reducing since the last academic year.

The two programmes are certificate courses run by Nursing and Midwifery Training Institutions designed to provide students with knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to enter the health care system as practical or enrolled nurses.

In May this year, the University of Cape Coast (UCC) announced a programme to upgrade the two certificate programmes into Diploma in Midwifery.

The arrangement was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the NMC, UCC and the various health training institutions and implemented through a sandwich period of eight weeks as a bridge course for the award of Diploma.

The eight-week sandwich course would be run specifically for qualified Nurse Assistants to be registered by the NMC as Registered Midwife and 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.

This comes after a new group of graduate nurses picketed at the Ministry of Health asking to be employed by government.

Flash back

Picketing of nurses at the Health Ministry to demand employment has become a common phenomenon for various health professionals in the country especially in the last three years.

The government through the Information Minister, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, in February this year, told graduate nurses to stop picketing at the Health Ministry as plans were far advanced to employ them this year.

At a press conference, he said the Finance Ministry had given clearance for them to be employed. He however did not state specifically which month they will be engaged.

He was quoted as saying at a press briefing that “this year, the government is employing 32,000 health professionals, and out of that 27,000 are nurses. The 32,000 are graduates from 2014 to 2016, who are going to be employed, these are people who were left unattended to by the previous administration and we are going to employ them.”

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