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Regional News of Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Source: Daily Graphic

Narh-Bita College holds eighth matriculation

...and inaugurates Africa’s first school of exercise medicine.

The Narh-Bita College in Tema has held its joint eight matriculation and third graduation ceremony in the port city. The occasion also saw the inauguration of the college’s newly established School of Exercise Medicine, Sports and Wellness.

The President of the college, Dr Edward Narh told guests in an opening address that the vision of the Narh-Bita College started 32 years ago with eh establishment of the Narh-Bita Hospital. “Later, the founders of the medical facility saw the need to train nurses for the hospital and for other medical institutions across the country”, Dr Narh explained.

The recognition of this need led to the establishment of the Narh-Bita College of Nursing at Tema Community Four close to the Narh-Bita Hospital. The School was subsequently developed into a college to accommodate more academic and professional programmes.

The college is the first private nursing training institution in Ghana to be accredited by the National Accreditation Board. It runs the three-year Registered General Nursing Diploma, the Certificate programme for Health Assistants {Clinical} and the Medical Laboratory Technicians programmes. The college is engaged in tropical nursing research collaboration and student and staff exchange programmes with Crest University, Pennsylvania, USA, Teesside University, Middlesborough, UK, Harstead University in Norway and the Metropolitan University College, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Prospects for further collaboration with other training institutions abroad are growing: Present at this years matriculation and graduation ceremony was the Mayor of Wichita City and an entourage from Kansas State in the USA, who were in Ghana to attend the ceremony and to discuss collaboration between the various Narh-Bita institutions and the Wichita University of Professional Science. The college has a well-stocked library with an elaborate range of medical titles covering anatomy, physiology, medical and surgical nursing and related subjects as well as supplementary teaching and learning materials in the form of CD-ROMS and video tapes. All computers of the college are connected to the Internet. The 300 fresh students admitted to the college this year will be trained variously as Registered General Nurses, Laboratory technologists, Medical/Physician Assistants, Health Assistants and Exercise and Fitness Professionals. Dr. Narh said in his address, that the theme for this year’s joint matriculation and graduation ceremony; “Promoting the health of the nation through exercise medicine, regenerative health and nutrition” was linked to the vision of the college’s newly established School of Exercise Medicine, Sports and Wellness.

Dr. Narh explained that the simultaneous inauguration of the school accounted for the unusual presence at this year’s matriculation ceremony, of many prominent personalities from the field of sports:

They included Ghana Football Association president Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, Referees Association of Ghana chairman Mr. L.O. Laryea, renowned physical education expert Professor Reginald Ocansey and top officials from the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The school which is the first of its kind in Africa and which is headed by Professor Ocansey is to run eight programs of study. They include the Sports Coaching Certificate Programme, the Fitness Trainers Certificate Programme, the Regenerative Health and Nutrition Certificate programme and the Sports the Sports Injuries and Rehabilitation Certificate Programme. The rest are the Active Lifestyles and Wellness Programme, The Sports Psychology Certificate Programme, The Sports Administration Certificate Programme and the Sports Refereeing Certificate Programme. The college president dwelt at considerable length on the need for an improved government support for the private health training institutions in the country which he said are contributing to the training of health professionals who play and a critical role in health and medical delivery.

Dr. Narh said the Ministry of Health needed to support the practical training of students from private nurses training institutions by canceling the payment of fees by the students on practical attachment in public medical facilities. Their counterparts from public nurses training institutions Dr. Narh noted do not pay any fees for practicable attachment.

“This is not fair to students in private institutions who already carry the burden of paying school fees and who unlike their counterparts from public institutions, do not receive government subsidy or government allowance”, he said

He said it was important to note that most products of private nursing training institutions in the country needed up working in the public hospitals and other health facilities.

The college president said since the public health delivery system benefits immensely from the training of nurses by private training institutions, the government should assist the private training institutions to access funding from financial institutions for the development of infrastructure and the provision of adequate training equipment and materials.

The government could further contribute towards the training of nurses by supporting programmes for the more advanced training of the products of private nursing training institutions up to the Masters Degree level, he said.

He announced that the college had on its own sponsored some of its staff to pursue academic programmes leading to the award of PhD and MPhil degrees and funded the attendance of staff at various academic and professional conferences, seminars and workshops.

In a speech read on his behalf by an official representative, Youth and Sports Minister Mr. Clement Kofi Humado expressed his disappointment at the less than 50 percent pass rate among students in both public and private nurses training institution who sat this year’s licensure examinations across the country.

It was necessary Mr. Humado said, that nurses training institutions pay attention to the factors cited by the Nurses and Midwives Council as having been responsible for the abysmal performance of the nursing students: Inexperienced tutors, frequent absenteeism among students and tutors alike, large class sizes and inadequate motivation of tutors.

He said the establishment of the School of Exercise Medicine, Sports and Wellness at the Narh-Bita College had come at a time when there was “a dire need for a paradigm shift in health care delivery and the lifestyles of the recipients of health and care.”

The Youth and Sports Minister said the nation needs to place greater emphasis on disease prevention through regular physical exercise, regenerative health and adequate nutrition.

Guests later went on a tour of the School of Exercise Medicine, Sports and Wellness at Tema Community Three.