The National Health Students Association of Ghana (NAHSAG) is a national representative body of all health students and fresh graduates in and from the various health training institutions and universities (public and private) across Ghana.
We have noticed with grave concern the undue delays in obtaining financial clearance for the various professionals under the health sector which most at times result in graduates languishing at home for several years after completion of their studies. Notable in recent times are the over 500 degree Allied Health Professionals, 350 bonded Diploma Nurses and Midwives, degree Nurses, Physician Assistants and others.
We appreciate the efforts of the Ministry of Health to obtain clearance for all qualified healthcare professionals who have not been posted as indicated in a letter dated 28th February, 2017 signed by the Chief Director in response to the concerns raised by the Coalition of Degree Allied Health Professionals as well as assurances given in the wake of picketing by the aggrieved graduates. However, we deem the pace at which the Ministry is handling the clearance issues too sluggish with lack of commitment.
We wish to call on the Ministries of Health and Finance to expedite the clearance processes of these groups within two (2) weeks in order to end the restlessness, hardships and frustrations these qualified graduates are experiencing.
We at NAHSAG believe it is time to end these unending posting and unemployment problems confronting fresh health professionals which keep surfacing without any pragmatic government intervention to forestall same. Governments after governments have failed to address these challenges hands on and it is about time as a nation, we developed a clear pathway to dealing with employment issues within the health sector.
The government through the Ministry of Health must develop a clear POLICY on the employment of the various essential healthcare professionals in this country. We have had to contend with the issue of selective clearance and absorption of a fraction of health professionals trained by Ministry of Health institutions while neglecting others trained in public and private universities and colleges over the years.
A policy guiding mandatory internships, clearance and employment of all qualified healthcare professionals is immediately needed to regulate and streamline equitable employment of all professionals graduating from both public and private institutions certified to practice by their Professional Regulatory Bodies. In developing such a policy guide, critical attention must be paid to separating mandatory internships for health professionals from national service with a commensurable remunerations as seen in other jurisdictions like Nigeria.
The various institutions across the country collectively produce significant number of professionals yearly which may lead to difficulties employing all into our health system. As a country championing the excellence of Africa, we should be able to establish a system that would oversee the deployment of excess health professionals to neighboring countries and places our services would be needed under diplomatic arrangements similar to the Cuban Medical Brigade system we patronize.
We wish to propose for the consideration of the government to set up a department to regulate this proposed recruitment for foreign missions. This, if considered, would reduce the excessive delays seen in attempting to employ all qualified healthcare professionals in Ghana and strengthen our business bonds with foreign governments thereby maximizing our gains.
We believe after 60 years of health training and healthcare delivery, we should not be at this point of qualified professionals scrambling for employment.
Richard Osei-Yeboah Lydia Addai Acheampomaa
President General Secretary