The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) Kofi Baah Agyepong has refuted claims that the outfit is recruiting Senior High School (SHS) graduates to serve as nurses at Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds across the country.
Addressing journalists yesterday after a meeting with the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) and some aggrieved nurses and health professionals who were yet to be posted to serve after graduating, the CEO said, “we are not substituting professional community health nurses with the Community Health Workers (CHWs) initiative.”
The YEA had come under massive criticisms by health professionals after recent reports in some section of the media suggested that they were recruiting 5000 SHS graduates as CHWs to serve at CHPS compounds while there were professional nurses waiting to be posted to such facilities.
But the CEO in an attempt to end the impasse and provide some clarity said, they had rather recruited CHWs who would only provide health education, provide support and assistance to communities, families and individuals with preventive health measures.
He said, the SHS graduates would only be the link between the community and the health establishments.
“They are not going to administer drugs, give injections and provide bedside care. Rather, they would be sharing mosquito nets and educate the various households on preventable diseases without any contact with patients. We would not put the lives of patients at risk,” he added.
“There is no way we would substitute this nurses who had been trained for three years with SHS graduates who were trained for just two weeks under the CHWs programme. The miscommunication in the media was very bad and it has raised a lot of tension among the nurses,” he stated.
“We cannot play with the lives of people by replacing individuals who had been trained for two weeks with professional nurses who were trained for three years,” he stressed.
The outfit he said, respected the profession knowing that they had gone through rigorous training and must be deployed by the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
“We do not also have the mandate to deploy nurses but would support them by speaking with the Ministry of Health, GHS and push for the aggrieved nurses to be deployed,” he said.
He disclosed that the YEA had completed the recruitment of the CHWs who were undergoing training and would be deployed by the end of September.
On her part, the President of the GRNMA, Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, said they were satisfied with the discussions and urged nurses to remain calm as they continued to push for them to be deployed.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE