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Health News Thu, 27 Nov 2003

Crisis Hits Korle-Bu

Lack Of Nurses Forces Closure
Of Emergency Section Of Child Health Department

Part of the emergency section of the Child Health Department, of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, in Accra has been closed down because of lack of nurses.

According to the Chief Executive of the hospital, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, if the mass exodus of nurses was not abated, other wards of the nation’s premier teaching hospital might also be closed down.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, who disclosed this to the Graphic in Accra yesterday, said the exodus of nurses was creating a serious shortage in areas such as neo-natal care, intensive care, paediatrics, cardiothoracic and cardiology, pulmonary medicine, diabetic care, ophthalmology and ear, nose and throat (ENT).

The chief executive said most of the regional and district hospitals were operating below capacity, owing to inadequate personnel and the situation should be addressed critically before healthcare delivery gets out of hand. “We will be confronted with the situation sooner or later, if we do not address the issue critically,” he said.

Addressing the 21st annual and 9th biennial national delegates congress of the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) later at Okponglo, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said it was unfortunate that nurses are leaving the country when the health delivery system is encouraging sub specialisation, adding that even under normal circumstances, the output from nursing training institutions did not match the health requirements due to increase in the population with its corresponding increase in the number of health institutions.
Prof. Frimpong Boateng noted that Africa spends about $4 billion annually to recruit and pay 100,000 expatriates to work on the continent, while developing countries including Ghana, train health professionals for the developed world .
Quoting some statistics from the British Medical Journal in 2002, he said, over 2000 African nurses left their countries to take up jobs in Britain and mentioned specifically, South Africa losing 2,114 nurses and midwives, Zimbabwe 473, Nigeria 432, Ghana 195, Zambia 183 and Kenya 155.
He urged the government to assist nurses to acquire their own homes so that they can look forward to retirement in peace and dignity. He further appealed to nurses to be reasonable in their demands since no African government can compete with the developed countries as far as remuneration and other conditions of service are concerned.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Moses Dani Baah, appealed to the nurses not to regard transfer to deprived areas as a punishment, but rather see it as a challenge which would be fully recognised and rewarded appropriately by the Ministry of Health.
He gave the assurance that 450 more saloon cars are being imported for health professionals, and that Toyota Ghana Limited, had already brought the first batch of 50 cars and that nurses would benefit from the allocation. Mr Dani Baah urged the nurses to come up with strategic ways of improving access to health care delivery services in rural areas as part of their deliberations during the congress.
The president of the GRNA, Mrs Emma H. Banga, called on nurses to put patients at ease and to reinforce their self-confidence whenever they are approached both at the hospitals and clinics before they are given due attention. She also advised nurses to ensure that their professional conduct is above reproach and urged them to be extra courteous towards patients and the public.
The WHO Representative in Ghana, Dr Melville George, who chaired the function, charged the nurses to focus and make contributions towards the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals.


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Source: Graphic