THIS DOCUMENT WAS AUTHORED BY: Dr Joseph Kofi Gyanteh
Government of Ghana over the years embarked on several other policies all in an attempt to increase the number of nurses in the country to ameliorate the acute shortage of these professionals.
Some of these measures included, increase in number of training schools (public and private), and the policy to allow and absorb the certificate and Auxiliary nursing staff into the fraternity.
These noble interventions were very effective and largely achieved their aim. But little did we know that our economic growth and dependence on foreign nations for budgetary support will lag behind the result of these interventions thereby catapulting us into a situation where we can no longer afford to employ these nurses.
The problem of Out-Migration of ‘already made quality’ Ghanaian Nurses into more developed economies of the west and Europe set into motion a chain of events leading to our current predicament.
This Brain Drain problem took a spike over from the late Nineties to Mid 2000; after which the Ministry of Health (MOH) put in an intervention Policy of holding Government-funded nursing graduates to a 5-year Bond, to serve in a Public Health facility, following which the graduate was free to move into the Private Sector or travel abroad. (Bonding)
The solution therefore lies in two factors.
Firstly to reverse the measures that were taken to address the shortage of nurses in the 1990s and then also to adapt innovative ways of loading off the excess.
This will cumulatively bring about an equilibrium and synchrony between the demand and supply of nurses in the country.
Thousands of nurses are churned out yearly and it’s up to the professional bodies and the Government to find a lasting solution to this problem.
In addition to lack of financial gain and hopelessness of unemployment, these nurses inevitable forget the science and art of their trade whilst in the house thereby making them a threat when they finally gain employment.
Ironically, Ghana as a country still does not have enough nurses to support its increasing population.
The issue is therefore one of lack of capacity to employ rather than the mythical believe that we have more nurses than we require. Ghana is yet to meet the recommended International Nurse-Citizen Ratio of 1:1,000, or 10:10,000, also expressed as 100 nurses to 100,000 citizens.
I believe it’s time for the stakeholders to find innovative ways of increasing our capacity to employ since it will be impossible to reduce the demand.
This proposal seeks to provide some solutions to this long standing problem of unemployment in the nursing profession. Even though this was written specifically for nurses, the measures can be equally applied to other healthcare professions.
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Author: Dr Joseph Kofi Gyanteh
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