Professor Lydia Aziato, Vice Chancellor, University of Health and Allied Sciences, says investment in specialist nursing and midwifery workforce will improve healthcare delivery efforts, leading to better patient outcomes.
She said expanding access to quality healthcare would require nurses and midwives to be trained in advanced fields for them to function at their full potential.
“Infrastructural development, enhancing resources for care, provision of financial support for specialist training and improvement in conditions of service are advocated.”
Prof. Aziato was speaking at the opening ceremony of the maiden biennial conference of the Nurse and Midwife
Specialist Society of Ghana, (NMSSG) on the theme, “Investing in specialist nurses and midwives: A catalyst for improved quality and accessible healthcare,” in Accra.
She said a closer look at the theme drew attention to investment, improved quality, and accessible healthcare.
She said nurses and midwives formed the majority of the healthcare delivery system and therefore were the main engine that drove the health system thus a significant amount of healthcare investment must be focused on nursing and midwifery in areas such as training and resource provision.
“It is also paramount to invest in human resources, infrastructure, specialized training, resources for clinical practice of specialist nurses and midwives.”
In the area of improved quality, Prof. Aziato noted that the nurse or midwife specialist must employ the appropriate theory and current evidence in the care provided, be at the top of their chosen micro area, include impeccable assessment and inclusion of the context, preferences, and culture of the client, and cover all domains such as physical, psychological, socio-economic, and spiritual which constitute holistic care.
Prof Aziato said specialist nurses and midwives were woefully inadequate across the country and urged them to accept posting across the country and stay at post to ensure that people receive quality care, while urging authorities to make scholarship packages available for them to advance their knowledge
“To improve access to healthcare, it would be important to advance the skills of nurses and midwives so that they can cover most of the levels of the healthcare system. This would also ensure that doctors have the time and energy to concentrate on patients that need more intensive and sophisticated care.”
Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, President, Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwifery Association, said it was important for nurses and midwives to appreciate the fact that specialization was key and as such they must strive to become specialists.
“Nurses and midwives contribute immensely to the healthcare delivery in the country and as such they must be encouraged and collectively, the environment must be created for them to attain specialized training.”
Mrs Ofori-Ampofo urged government and stakeholders to come together and prioritize investment in nursing and midwifery to ensure that they were well positioned to provide quality healthcare to Ghanaians.
Mr Mark Anthony Azongo, Chairman, NMSSG, said the Society was a group of practicing nurses and midwives’ specialists in Ghana that existed to uphold high professional standards of specialist nursing and midwifery practices in Ghana.
He said the Society sought to ensure optimum integration and contribution of nurse and midwife specialist in healthcare practice and leadership, motivate and guide the workforce towards achievement of highest professional standards and establish a competitive and resourceful group of professional to lead change at all levels of healthcare system.
Mr Azongo noted that the contribution of specialist nurses and midwives had not been recognised and as such they still encountered issues of improper placement, inadequate support and resources, delay in upgrade of salaries, non-recognition, among others.
He appealed to health facilities to recognise specialist nurses and midwives as they were assets to the profession and urged specialists to also make a difference in their practice areas.