‘COVID-19 threat to UHC’

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Story: I. Kofi Owusu TAWIAH

Professor Mrs Victoria Bam, Department of Nursing, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), says the COVID-19 pandemic poses a threat to efforts to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

UHC seeks to provide access to adequate quality healthcare by removing physical and financial barriers.

Ghana has made some progress towards UHC through key strategies like the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) programme and the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Prof Bam, who was speaking at the opening of the six Annual General Meeting (AGM) and third Scientific conference of the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives, said the complexity of issues relating to the pandemic required the building of appropriate human resource capacity and infrastructure.

She said the inadequate waste and environmental management systems coupled with the slow pace of behavioural changes, challenged healthcare delivery success.

Prof Bam stated that the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases made the pandemic a threat to the public.

Alhaji Asei Mahama Seini, a Deputy Health Minister, who opened the conference in Accra, lauded nurses and midwives for their immense contribution towards the containment of the Coronavirus.

The four-day conference brought together nurses and midwife from across the country to deliberate on postgraduate specialization for nurses and midwives.

It was on the theme “Prioritizing and Promoting Nursing and Midwifery Specialization towards a sustainable Universal Health Coverage in a pandemic era”.

“The pandemic has been a big blow, and I am glad you at the frontline in the fight against the pandemic did not give up,” he said.

He reiterated that the Government’s commitment to vaccinate 20 million people before the end of the year was on course.

He said the Government was putting in place measures to alleviate the effects of COVID-19 on the citizenry.

He called on the public to get vaccinated and adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols.

Alhaji Seini commended the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives for introducing new courses such as Critical care and Infectious Disease Nursing in response to the pandemic.

He urged them to develop courses that responded to the needs of the current healthcare system, while training specialised nurses and midwives to meet the growing healthcare demands of the public.

Ms Hannah Akua Oparebea, Rector of the College, said specialist Nurses and Midwives, when given the needed space would effectively contribute their quota to the healthcare systems.

She called for the provision of a policy that would encourage professional nurses and midwives to pursue specialised areas of interest to make abreast of global trends to provide the population with disease–specific care rather than generalised care.

She said the College would work towards decentralizing the education of specialised nurses and midwives across the country by partnering private and public training institutions based on their capacities.

Professor Abigal Kyei, President of the College, said UHC entailed the provision of a full spectrum of essential quality health service across the continuum of life to meet all healthcare needs of individuals and communities at affordable levels.

“The achievement of UHC globally is a very difficult task but even more challenging in its sustainability,” she said.

Professor Kyei said the emergence of the pandemic had brought about the urgent need to produce more healthcare personnel with the skill and competence to provide services, if the world is to attain UHC by 2030.

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