|Naa Dr. Jacob Yakubu Mahama|
The Northern Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Naa Dr. Jacob Yakubu Mahama, has hinted that, nurses who have stayed and worked in the Tamale Metropolis for more than three years are to be reposted to other districts and rural areas.
He said it has become necessary to take such a decision, because nurses working in Tamale in particular, did not appreciate the opportunity being given to them to serve in an urban area where they have access to all the good things in life including continuous career development and better education of their children among others.
“I want to say this. All of you sitting here or most of you are parents. When your children complete nursing school, you will come and plead with us to post them to Tamale. The chiefs will come. Politicians will come. When we finally post them to their place of choice they are the first to go on strike when they have problems with their conditions of service. Those we post to the districts, rural areas don’t go on strike.
“Now, I have requested a list of all nurses working in Tamale who have served three years and above. I am going to repost all of them to the rural areas and also bring all those serving in the rural areas to come and enjoy life in the city”, Naa Dr. Mahama made these statements when he inaugurated the newly formed Child Health Coordinating Committee (CHCC) in Tamale.
He continued: “In this electioneering period, everybody is calling for calm and peace. Nobody is saying nurses should not go on strike when they have grievances. But the timing is wrong....it’s unnecessary for nurses particularly those in the Northern Region to embark on strike at this time considering our disadvantaged situation as a region.
“Accra and Kumasi have many private hospitals, and so anytime there is strike in the health sector they don’t feel the impact so much. But over here, where are the private hospitals? Just few of them are in existence and most people cannot afford to pay except in the few government hospitals”, he remarked.
Ghana’s child health policy provides a framework for planning and implementing programmes. Efforts are being taken to roll out this policy into action at all levels of healthcare system. For effective implementation of the policy, a CHCC is recommended.
The work of the CHCC will cover all policies, strategies and interventions addressing the promotive, preventive and curative aspects of child health during the periods of pregnancy, newborn, infancy childhood and adolescence.
According to Ms. Charity Azantilow, an officer at the GHS, the main task of the CHCC is to promote and strengthen partnerships, coordinate all child health related programmes from various partners and divisions as well as ensure synergies and maximise resources.
The CHCC, she explains, will also ensure that the public health unit of the GHS receive support to strengthen its coordinating role and authority on issues pertaining to child health.
“The CHCC will facilitate information sharing or new developments among the partners working in areas directly or indirectly contributing to child health and development”, she added.
Ms. Azantilow also indicated that, the CHCC will provide guidance and oversight for the child health unit and stakeholders to develop realistic integrated child health work plans.
Meanwhile, the Northern Region currently has the highest rate and highest number of malnourished children compared to other regions of the country. For instance, 20.0 percent of its children less than 5 years of age are underweight, 33.1 percent stunted and 6.3 percent wasted.
The region, according to the Regional Nutrition Unit of the Ghana Health Service, is faced with high rates of micronutrient deficiencies such as anaemia, vitamin A deficiency and iodine deficiency.
As a way forward, the GHS is working to reduce stunting by 8 percent by December 2018 and increase household consumption of iodised salt from 16 percent to 30 percent by December 2018.
It is also working to increase iron and folic acid supplementation from 53 percent to 75 percent by December 2018 while decreasing the percentage of women having low dietary score from 37 percent to 30 percent by December 2018.