Government should honour its obligation towards nurses-Asante-Krobea

Government’s inability to honour its obligation in helping nurses and midwives to resolve the challenges that confront health care, is worrisome, Mr Kwaku Asante-Krobea, President of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, has said.

“Our resolve to establish the leverage in quality nursing and midwifery care has just become a tight rope walk as government has refused to honour its obligation…” Mr Asante-Krobea said at the launching of the 2016 International Nurses Day, which was held in Accra.

Mr Asante-Krobea expressed concern over “government’s refusal to employ graduate nurses in a situation of a nurse/patient ratio of 1:22”, as well as regulate the training of auxiliary nurses whose numbers outnumber professional nurses and midwives.

The theme for the day was: “Nurses and Midwives: A force for change, improving health system resilience through safe staffing.”

The Nurses’ Day starts off a week of many celebrated events to honour the commitment and devotion to duty of nurses and midwives and their contributions to the health care profession across nations.

Mr Asante-Krobea said nurses and midwives should use the occasion to reflect on their contribution to the nursing profession and the Nightingale philosophy of patient care and of attitudinal care, while dialoguing with government and stakeholders to reach a common ground that would promote the safety of their work environment.

He also urged nurses to live up to clients expectations through the adoption of acceptable practices and innovations that would impact positively on health care outcomes.

He said critical issues that should engage the attention of nurses are customer service, legal implications of their actions, communication with their clients and professional colleagues and the building of relationships that influence their conduct on quality care.

Mr Asante-Krobea also reiterated the call on government to retain the allowances of trainee nurses and midwives who fill many roles that represent the deficit created by the sharp nurse/patient ratio.

In a speech read on behalf of Mr Alex Segbefia, the Minister of Health, he said the current human challenges within the health sector requires the need to review and establish a pragmatic staffing norms or policies to regulate the production and retention of healthcare workers.

“It is therefore important for us to see a celebration of this kind as an opportunity to explore and examine ways of not only improving our services but also to champion the cause in establishing measures vital in helping the health system in the face of adversity, threats and challenges that bounce back stronger than ever before,” he said.

Mr Segbefia said the Health Ministry has set in motion mechanisms to review the whole human resource strategy of the health sector and to ensure that enough space is provided for the private sector involvement.

“Efforts are equally being made to regulate the establishment of mushroom Nursing and Midwifery Training Schools,” he added.

Dr Lydia Aziator, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Adult Health, School of Nursing, University of Ghana, in a keynote address, said nurses and midwives should endeavour to do away with the negative attitude among their folk because it is affecting the image of the profession.

“Nurses and midwives need to change because the employers demand quality service and progression at work hinges on high performance. Again, nursing and midwifery regulatory bodies also demand high standards of performance at all levels,” she said.