The Wisconsin International University College of Ghana has appealed to government to reconsider the decision on quotas for nursing training colleges.
“There is still a critical shortage of nurses in Ghana, in the sub-region, in Africa and in many parts of the world. However, if Ghana cannot afford to absorb all the nursing graduates, bilateral agreements can be entered into with countries which require this invaluable human resource.
“There are many solutions at our disposal, but deterring people from pursuing their dreams should not be one of them. It is better to have educated people without jobs than uneducated people without jobs,” the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Obeng Mireku said in his report at the institution’s eleventh congregation in Accra last Saturday.
With the country struggling with a ‘no-bed syndrome’ that sometimes led to disastrous consequences, he said other entrepreneurial models such as providing home care services for the ill could also assist in decongesting hospitals.
“Instead of reducing the number of nurses trained, why don’t we set up world-class health facilities and provide nurses with training in specialists’ areas, so that we can create a thriving health tourism industry, as countries like Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa have done,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor’s position followed the Nurses and Midwifery Council directive that gave quotas to nurses training institutions including private ones across the country.
Public and private institutions accredited to train nurses in Ghana reduced their intake by almost 1,600 last year because of the directive.
An assessment by the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association revealed in June last year that Ghana will need not less than 38,000 nurses and midwives to bridge the nurse-patient ratio.
The WHO nurse to patient ratio is pegged at least 40 nurses for every 10,000 population but Ghana’s statistics is said to be 22 nurses for every 10,000 people.
While some believe that the government quotas was because the government had taken the decision to control the amount it pumps into allowances it paid to nursing trainees, the Ministry of Health’s position is that it was because of inadequate infrastructure at the training institutions in addition to the claims that the country was training more nurses than it needed, especially when such nurses depended on government for jobs.
On its day of honours, 898 students made of up of 13 diploma students, 761 first degree students and 124 post graduate students graduated from the university. Mr Charles Asiedu Jnr emerged the Access Bank for overall Best Student at the undergraduate level.
While the Institute of Charted Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) for Best Accounting Student, was received by Fayemi Oluwaseun Temitayo; the prize for the Calbank Award for Overall Best Banking and Finance Student with the Student Entrepreneur of the Year going to Rebecca Amenu.
At the postgraduate level, the ADB Award for Overall MBA student (MBA) went to Daniel Edisi; the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Award for overall Best (MBA Accounting option) was received by Eugene Osei Bremang. Godwin Ayawa Sibilla and Seth Cudjoe received prizes for being the Overall Best Student (MA Education) and Overall Best Student (MSc Environmental Sustainability and Management) respectively.
In the report that touched enrolment, development and facilities as well as the university’s policy statement, Prof Mireku said the university was collaborating on foreign universities and had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor to discuss the possibilities of staff a staff and student exchange programme between the two institutions.
“The university college prides itself in combining skills with theory. Through internships, work placements and industry training provided at the Career Services Centre, many of our graduands have had the opportunity to develop technical soft skills,” he said.
Turning his attention to the free senior high school policy, he said the university had introduced tuition classes for students on the double track (Gold/Green track) free SHS system to enable students to better utilise their vacation periods.
The Provost and Executive Vice President of the Concordia University of the United States, Dr Peter Senkbeil, urged the graduates to think of themselves as entrepreneurs, not to be afraid to start small and work their way up, act with integrity, exercise leadership and keep learning while at the same time showing leadership.
“Employers are looking for people with good job skills. They’re also looking for people they can rely on people they can put in charge of tasks and projects. Sometimes your first leadership assignments are small. They may be thankless tasks,” he said.