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Health News of Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Source: GNA

Ghana gets more paediatric nurses to ensure child survival

Child health Care in Ghana is to see a boost with the passing out of 85 out of a100 paediatric nurses, who have been trained to partner paediatricians to take critical care of children.

The training programme would also ensure survival of children in their first stages of lives and also help to attain the Millennium Development Goal 4 of reducing infant mortality.

In Ghana, general nurses without specialized paediatric training are caring for sick children, whereas other specialized fields like the Ear, Nose and Throat, Ophthalmology, Per-operative and Critical Care Nursing have been developed for qualified nurses.

The country has a handful of specialized trained nurses who obtained their qualification abroad.

Without specialized training in pediatrics, nurses working at children’s wards are unable to provide certain medical care like insertion of intravenous fluids on children and have to wait for doctors even at critical emergency periods.

Consequently, Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwife Council (GRNMC) in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital have partnered the Sickkid Hospital International, in Canada to train interested nurses to enable them provide the needed paediatric health care to children.

Dr Isaac Odame, Professor at the Hospital for Sickkids, University of Toronto, Canada, who is the brain behind the training programme told the Ghana News Agency that the training would help “empower nurses to acquire the skills to save dying children at paediatric emergencies”.

Dr Odame, who arrived in the country to follow-up on the maiden Paediatric Nursing Licensing Examination, which ended on Tuesday in Accra, said Sickkids provided the technical expertise for the training while Canadian International Development Agency, sponsored the programme, which is partly owned by the government of Ghana.

He explained that the training is to equip the health sector with highly qualified, specialized and licensed paediatric nurses to take care of the special health care needs of children.

With the new licensing examination, Ghana’s health sector would soon see a face lift and a new crop of specialised class of locally-trained paediatric nurses to work hand-in-hand with their counterparts in the medical field.

Upon their successful passing out, the nurses including 11 male and 74 female practicing nurses and midwives that sat for the examination would earn an international license in Paediatric Nursing from the GRNMC, the regulatory body under the MOH.

Nurses who participated in the training programme include Public Health, Mental Health, Community Nursing, Midwives and General Nursing with a minimum of between three to five years working experience in their initial fields of training.

The Reverend Veronica Darko, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, GRNMC said the training in the specialized area of nursing, which started in 2011 would be sustained as a continuous programme to ensure that the 1500 and 2000 paediatric nurses needed in the country are achieved.

She expressed the need to roll out the programme to other regions and institutions like Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi and University for Development Studies, Tamale to cover more nurses.

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