The Member of Parliament for the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa Constituency, Sebastian Ngmenso Sandaare, has called on the Ministry of Health to give nursing training institutions in the country the free hand to admit their students.
He said a directive by the Ministry of Health to the nursing training colleges across the country to reserve 30 per cent approved admission quota for the 2022/2023 academic year for the ministry did not bode well for the training of the health care professionals.
A letter dated August 2, 2022 signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, apart from the admission quota also directed the institutions to charge GH¢150 per prospective students scheduled for interview and issue a general counterfoil receipt to the interviewees.
The letter sighted by the Ghanaian Times further directed that 34 per cent of the proceeds from the interview be deposited into the health training institutions account at the Bank of Ghana.
This directives, Dr Sandaare said, would deny hundreds of qualified candidates a fair opportunity to get into the health training institutions in the country.
Using the health training institution in Tumu as an example, Dr Sandaare, a member of the Health Committee, questioned what criteria the ministry would use to admit the stated 30 per cent quota.
“What this means is that there won’t be equal opportunity for students who seek to gain admission into the training institutions because there would be bias in the process because this is basically going to a protocol list.
“What this protocol system would mean is that vulnerable students who are qualified would not get the fair opportunity to be admitted to pursue their dream careers. This is not good for our poor students.
“The ministry must do broader consultation with stakeholders and ensure that the admission criteria is fair, transparent that people in the rural areas like mine would have equal opportunity to be admitted. This directive must be relooked at,” Dr Sandaare told the media in Accra yesterday.
What is more worrying about this directive is that it comes on the back of a reduction in the admission quotas to the institutions following the reinstatement of the nursing training allowances, the lawmaker said.
In his view, the government was depriving the institutions of the required revenue to work effectively and efficiently by reducing their intake as well as directing them to remit 34 per cent of interview charges which otherwise would have contributed to the internally generated funds of the schools.
“These directives are not good and the Ministry of Health must sit with the principals and directors of the institutions, listen to them and come out with a decision that is favourable to the effective and efficient management of the institutions.
Ghana, Dr Sandaare said, still fell short of the nurse-to-patient ratio and all barriers that impeded the training of nurses must be removed.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI