…removal of barriers, others to attract talents
A groundbreaking arrangement designed to attract second-generation Ghanaian nurses residing abroad to come back to their home country and play an active role in enhancing the healthcare system has been unveiled.
This pioneering arrangement aims to encourage their return and enlist their contributions towards bolstering the healthcare delivery system in Ghana.
The initiative involves the regulator, Nurses and Midwifery Council (NMC) Ghana, and a non-profit organization, Ghanaian Diaspora Nursing Alliance (G-DNA).
As per the agreement, returning trained nurses are exempted from the requirement of sitting for an entrance exam before they can register with the regulator —it should be a prerequisite, as highlighted by Mrs. Philomena Woolley, the Acting Registrar of the Nurses and Midwifery Council.
Speaking with journalists in Accra during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NMC and G-DNA, she said “The Nursing and Midwifery Council signed an MoU with the Ghana Diaspora Nursing Alliance (GDNA), basically this MoU is about collaboration for especially the second-generation nurses and the nurses who were not even trained here in Ghana – even those who were trained here but have lived in UK, US or the diaspora for a long time, we want to have this collaboration with them, so they can come back and register at the Nurses and Midwifery Council Ghana.
Mrs. Woolley further underscored the benefits associated with the collaboration, “You know they have a lot of expertise they have acquired so they are bringing back this expertise to the country, not only to the nursing and midwifery council but enhance health delivery system here in Ghana.
We are expecting more than 1,000 nurses who live abroad, when we start, we know a lot of them will know the essence and goodies in this MoU and most of them will join.
We have more than 7,000 nurses living outside this country, all of them if not most of them. What we intend to do, is to help that we reduce some of the stringent that do not allow them to register here in Ghana, for instance, the long type of examination we have cut and reduced for all of them.”
According to the President/Co-founder, of G-DNA, Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, the MoU aims to ease barriers for returning nurses.
“The exodus of Ghanaian nurses leaving the country annually poses a significant healthcare challenge. This ‘brain drain’ phenomenon contrasts with the potential for ‘brain gain’—welcoming back skilled nurses and those with a heartfelt connection to Ghana. We aim to facilitate their return or enlistment to bolster healthcare training and practices.
Our motivation is to elevate Ghana’s healthcare by strengthening nurse education and expertise. Nurses form the cornerstone of our healthcare, thus enhancing their training and qualification is pivotal for better health outcomes. G-DNA seeks to mobilize Ghanaian nurses worldwide to support nursing education in Ghana.”
She also added that the NMC’s agreement to waive exam requirements and internships demonstrates a commitment to facilitating skilled nurse repatriation. Additionally, the collaboration spans research, evidence-based practices, and capacity building.
With over 1500 members worldwide, G-DNA endeavors to support Ghana’s nursing education through fundraising and grants. This collaboration seeks to strengthen nursing institutions like the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives, fostering a robust nursing workforce for improved healthcare delivery.”
Dr. Daniel Kwame Apau, Co-director, of Education, G-DNA, and the chair of the committee that saw the writing, drafting, and finalization of the MoU between the NMC and the GDNA asserted that the MoU will offer lots of pathways for nurses -they can become informatics, nurse leaders, educators, researchers, so there is a huge array of pathways.
“It is not just a bedside nurse. Some people say I am scared of blood, I don’t want to touch blood but when you come into nursing, it doesn’t mean you will be coming into contact with blood there are a whole lot of avenues that nurses can pursue, nursing is interesting and exciting and we want more people to come into nursing because nursing is the bedrock of healthcare delivery everywhere in the world.”
He also called for collaboration between stakeholders from physicians, to nurses and other allied services that work in healthcare, and urged the Ghana Medical Association to partner with nurses in Ghana to ensure that the healthcare delivery in Ghana is smooth and benefits everybody.
The agreement is expected to ensure that these foreign-trained Ghanaian nurses bring their expertise to bear at the country’s training institutions and the universities that have nursing and midwifery education, health centers, Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS centers), and engage in seminars, education, and research.
The MoU will inform those seeking to live that there is this collaboration, and even if you want to leave, there is this chance and opportunity to come back to help your country. This MoU is for two years, and then we continue to review it, it is the first time we have so we don’t want to have it so long that everybody will say I wish I could put in this, but two years after that we will continue to add on and elaborate.
The move is also anticipated to enable the NMC to adopt best practices and expose the council to new trends in healthcare delivery.
G-DNA is a non-profit organization that seeks to link and advance Ghanaian nurses globally.
By Eugene Davis