The GHS in a statement signed by the Director General, Dr Ebenezer Appiah Denkyirah, said the solutions to the issues the group raised are not a onetime decision, but a process involving multiple partners and must, therefore, exercise patience.
“The service wishes to entreat the CHN Group to have confidence with the service in our quest to mutually resolve their concerns. I invite them once more to assist in the development of the roadmap in addressing these concerns,” he said.
Explaining the change of title issue, GHS said the Nursing and Midwifery Council (which is the regulatory body for nurses and midwives) issues two types of certificates (nurse and nurse assistants) based on classification prescribed by its law.
It further explained that series of meetings at the MoH involving the relevant bodies—Nurses and Midwifery Council (NMC), Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), Community Health Nursing Group (CHNG) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS)— had taken place and the GHS Council at its last meeting held on May 31, 2016 requested the Ministry of Health to speed up the process of resolving the issue.
“The GHS which employs majority of the CHNs will, however, maintain the name community health nurse, same as the name enrolled nurse who undergoes similar training,” Dr Denkyirah said.
He mentioned that the MoH was in the process of upgrading all its CHN and post basic certificate midwifery centres to diploma awarding institutions, adding that the award of diploma is done by the universities for candidates undergoing a required course of study at the university or an affiliated institution accredited by the National Accreditation Board (NAB).
“The KNUST will provide diploma certificates to staff who successfully undertake ‘access upgrading course’ and subsequently the midwifery programme. This arrangement put in place by the MOH, NMC, the university and GHS is to ensure that CHNs have opportunity to upgrade themselves without going to take the WASSCE again,” it stated.
It, however, stated that the limiting factor has been the slowness by some of the health training schools achieving the accreditation requirements of the National Accreditation Board.
The statement also indicated that any staff who has served the number of years required is permitted to undertake study leave if he or she so wishes.
“However, the service operates a regional quota system for study leave with pay (according to the staff category required) to ensure staff are available to provide service. It also ensures that the wage bill provided by the Ministry of Finance is not exceeded, since upgraded staffs invariably apply for promotion. The service also operates a staffing norm and hence promotion may only be in accordance with approved establishment level,” it concluded.