The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Dr Patrick Kumah-Aboagye has said the use of graduates from the Senior High Schools (SHS) in the various Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds is not new.
He explained that they are not providing nursing services within the CHPS Compounds. Rather, he said, they are recruited as community mobilizers.
Dr Kumah-Aboagye told TV3 in an interview on Wednesday August 24 that “we have community volunteers who are brought in as and when we need them. One of the greatest challenges of the CHPS Programme is linkage with the community.
“…So they are recruited more as community mobilizers for community services to ensure that the linkage between [nurses and doctors] in the community is strengthened. We are not looking for nursing services, we are looking for these community mobilizers, community engagements, to do what is very crucial in our communities.”
His comments come after the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives’ Association (GRNMA) questioned the decision by the government, through the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), to use graduates from the SHS to provide assistance to nurses at the CHPS Compounds in the country.
General Secretary of the GRNMA David Tenkorang told Alfred Ocansey on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 Monday August 22 that the decision was not thought-through.
He stated that at the moment, there are over 20,000 unposted nurses available who are ready to work. Therefore, he said, the association will not support the initiative by the government.
“The programme is not well thought through, it will drain the economy. How can you allow half baked people to work and you are thinking of productivity?” he said.
In an earlier statement the GRNMA issued on Monday, 22 August 2022 the association noted that: “Indeed the work in these rural communities can be quite daunting for CHNs to the extent that they can hardly have time to attend to their personal and career development issues. They therefore require assistance but not from Senior High School (SHS) graduates.”
“Nurse Assistant (Preventive) who are also appointed as CHNs. In total there is a backlog of over 20,000 nurses and midwives of all cadres belonging to 2019, 2020, 2021 batches also awaiting employment,” it added.
The statement further said the decision is “disturbing and a clear displacement of Ghana’s priority to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 3(SDG 3) and Universal Health Coverage by 2030.”
Head of Public Affairs at the YEA, Mohammed Awal also said on the Ghana Tonight Show on Monday that this programme is not new.
He stated that it has been in existence since 2006 but was halted in 2018.
The SHS graduates, he explained, are given a three-week training to equip them for the assignment.
“This is not a novelty and so I am surprised this is becoming an issue at this time. It is not a new module that we are bringing on board, it started in 2006, you remember some used to be called Kufuor nurses or Zoom nurses.,” Awal said.