The Conference of Heads of Health Training Institutions (COHHETI) has called on stakeholders to consider upgrading health training institutions to award first degrees to improve the quality of healthcare professionals.
Madam Margaret Alacoque, President of the conference, wondered why many institutions continued to award certificates and their entry requirements remained low despite training the bulk of the nation’s health sector workforce.
“It is high time health training institutions are upgraded to degree awarding institutions to train specialist nurses to meet the changing trends in healthcare delivery,” Madam Alacoque stated.
Addressing the 15th Annual General Meeting of the conference, which was recently held in Ho, Madam Alacoque appealed to the Health Minister to consider the upgrading to help bring the institutions up to appreciable modern standards.
“Health training institutions were far ahead of Colleges of Education. However, within a twinkle of an eye, they have all migrated to tertiary status while health training institutions lagged.
She said, “among the core clinical health team in Ghana, nursing and midwifery has the lowest entry level.”
Madam Alacoque said the various institutions continue to persist at the critical mandate of health training, and were adjusting to produce specialists in geriatrics, trauma, and emergency nursing among others to help close human resource gaps in the sector.
She called for the consideration of expanding funding for the institutions, and that internally generated funds could be enhanced by allowing sale of admission forms to be managed by the institutions.
She advised parents against forcing their wards to train for the profession.
“Nursing and midwifery and allied health professionals are a calling; therefore, parents and guardians should not push their wards into such programmes when they do not have the desire.
“We are already suffering the effects of such health staff,” Ms. Alacoque said.
Mrs. Philomina Woolley, Acting Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council said nursing education needed to be redesigned to help close the “education practice gap.”
She said with an increasingly informed health consumer burden, a policy to ensure “foolproof machinery” for training or the critical staff had become necessary, and should affect the accreditation, curricula, and faculty regimes.
Prof. Lidya Aziato, Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), said health training institutions are central in a complex healthcare industry.
She urged students to be prepared to meet the needs of groups and individuals in the community and students should be trained to deliver on telemedicine and other ICT based platforms.
Prof. Aziato stressed the need for international collaborations and exchange programmes to provide the skills needed for exposure to the global care market.