The Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr wonders why a government would decide to introduce a quota admission system for nursing training schools when there is a deficit of 38,000 nurses in the country.
“We have always had a huge deficit…right now the deficit when it comes to the availability of nurses is about 38,000; we have a shortfall of 38,000 nurses. So we don’t have a situation where there are too many nurses. How can you say that we have too many nurses when we are short of nurses by 38000, you can’t make that argument” he said.
According to him, government with this new policy ‘will create more problems for the health sector’.
Government has decided to implement the quota system to help improve the quality of nurses in the country.
This new directive means public and private institutions accredited to train nurses in the country will reduce their intake by almost 1, 600 in 2017.
According to the Health ministry, this will help to produce nurses that will meet the demands of the health sector
“As a nation, we don’t only have to train more health professionals but also look at the quality aspect so these measures are going to address some of these key issues” the Public Relations Officer of the Health Ministry, Robert Cudjoe, explained in an interview on Accra-based Citi FM.
However, Kwesi Pratt expressed “a very deep surprise at this policy” because the New Patriotic Party (NPP) condemned it when they were in opposition.
"I recall that last year the argument around elections had to do with the sustenance of allowances and a consequence of introducing a quota system as spokespersons of the current administration insisted that they can introduce the allowance without introducing a quota system. So it is strange that inspite of the denial the quota system is being introduced……the Mahama administration decided to remove the allowances…so that it will not have the extra burden of having to look for money to pay everybody who is admitted and therefore people who wanted to become nurses could get admission at the optimum level at the nursing training institutions."
"The NPP in opposition said that is not the way to go and that it is possible to recruit people into the nursing training institutions at optimum capacity and still pay them the allowances; that was their argument. Now the NPP comes into power and says that no; there are too many nurses we cannot employ…not because there are no vacancies for them; there are vacancies for them but the problem has to do with looking for money to pay them. So what is the solution it proposes? The solution it proposes is that don’t train the nurses at all; cut down the number of nurses we are training so that we can solve the unemployment problem. I can‘t believe this."
"We are trying to solve one problem and we are not actually solving that problem because that deficit is still there. We still need 38000 doctors so that problem is not being solved. The attempt is to solve a particular problem which is pressure on government to deliver on its promises; and the way they want to solve that problem is to make sure that people who want to become nurses will be denied skills and knowledge. You are going to create a new problem of denial of citizens; their right to acquire skills and knowledge. So in the end what problem are we solving? The deficit is still staring in our faces…the policy will create more problems for the health sector,” he said during a panel discussion on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji, Saturday.