The Member of Parliament for Assin South Constituency in the Central Region, John Ntim Fordjour, has called on the Ministry of Health (MoH) to explore the avenue of exporting surplus health personnel to generate revenue for the nation.
The Health Ministry has instructed principals of nursing training institutions to reduce the number of students they admit for the 2017/18 academic year by 40 per cent or more.
But the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP told TV3 New Day hosted by Bright Nana Amfoh that “we have to make arrangements for the excesses and the surplus to be useful”.
Rev Fordjour said “essentially, we must secure funding to employ more nurses to bridge the patient to nurse ratio and train optimum number of nurses in line with the current capacity of institutions. The quota system may have been premised on quality assurance as determined by NMC”.
Mr. Fordjour said “while there is need to train more health professionals, with our current financial inability to absorb them, backlog is created, more will be added in the subsequent years, so I appeal to the government as a matter of priority, going forward, to explore opportunities to export surplus nurses” the legislature added.
He however noted, “It is not just the numbers that we want to push into the system but the quality is important. We must come out with quotas that will commensurate with the capacity of the various training institutions”.
“If these regulations have been accepted, we need to further look at other options because it is very easy to set up a facility or institutions for training of students in humanities compare to the cost of setting up engineering and science oriented training institutions so I call on the Ministry of Education and the National Council for Tertiary Education to engage stakeholders and investors and provide them incentives to set up technical, engineering and science oriented training institutions”, the MP added.
The MP, who is also a Reverend Minister said “the quotas assigned may have been premised on the capacity of the training institutions, as a necessary baseline and for proper planning of subsequent absorption into the health service, however, going forward, we need to explore opportunities to export surplus trainees to countries who may require their services”.
The Director of Communications for the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Kadril Abdul Rauf Issifu, said Ghana needs more nurses therefore cutting down on admission will “worry” the nation.
“If we are to take a cue from Cuba, today they export nurses and doctors. We could train every kind of professionals in this country and export them to other countries to make money on them”, he explained.
He said “the level of thinking of our policy makers is narrow because we have to come out with policy that will make it possible to export our nurses”.
Ghanaian nurses can be sent to countries like Guinea Bissau who need nurses, he suggested, adding that even their services are needed in rural Ghana.
A member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Abraham Amaliba suspects that government is hiding something from Ghanaians. “They want to reduce the intake but ask yourself if all our hospitals have nurses that when you go to the hospital we will not see patience in need of nurses? That is where they are not being candid”.
Lawyer Amaliba argued, “has the ministry bridged the gap and now they are telling us that we have excess? When communities are crying for nurses? When chip compounds are crying for nurses? Then government appointees are telling us they have enough”.
The NDC man said “the NPP did not know they were going to win the election. They have won and now they don’t know how to pay the nurses that is why they are cutting them. They have realized that it is not possible to pay their allowances because day in and day out, this government keeps changing the goal post.”
But Rev. Ntim Fordjour rebutted Amaliba’s claims: “The quota system recommended by the Nurses and Midwifery Council was not premised on the payment of nurse training allowance and that allocation have been made into the 2017 Asempa budget for restoration of nurse training allowance for this academic year”.
By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|Onua 95.1FM|3news.com|Ghana