The 22-million dollar-project is aimed at training about 1,500 paediatric nurses locally and to improve the health and survival of the about 6.7 million new-borns and children in Ghana.
The five-year Scaling Up Paediatric Nursing Care in Ghana Initiative would also strengthen health systems and train paediatric nurses and health care workers in the poorest and most underserved communities.
The Canadian High Commissioner, Christopher Thornley, speaking at the launch of the project, in Accra, said as part of Canada’s ongoing commitment to supporting maternal, new-born and child health in the developing world, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) had committed 9,465,000 Canadian Dollars over five years for the implementation of the initiative.
“The Government of Ghana would provide a contribution of 9,138,000 dollars while SickKids would contribute 3,360,000 dollars to the project to ensure that 1,500 paediatric nurse specialists are trained to boost capacity to deliver child survival interventions,” he explained
He said the initiative would be implemented by the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Ghana’s Ministry of Health, and the recently-established Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives (GCNM).
“The Scaling Up of Paediatric Nursing Care in Ghana initiative builds on the success of a DFATD funded pilot project with SickKids that delivered innovative paediatric health worker training, which strengthened the capacity of paediatric health systems in Ghana between 2009 and 2014,” he said.
The High Commissioner said: “The pilot project also established the first specialized paediatric-nurse training of its kind at the University of Ghana.
“Furthermore, as a result of the project, the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives (GCNM), was established to better advance nursing and midwifery professionalism, practice and leadership in Ghana”.
Mr Thornly emphasised that improving the health outcomes of women and children was a top developmental priority for Canada, saying, “We are committed to achieving real results and making a meaningful difference in the lives of the most vulnerable women, new-borns and children”.
Dr Jemima Dennis-Antwi, the President of the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives, said in 2009, SickKids responded to Ghana’s quest to accelerate improved child health outcomes, and strengthen human resources for the health sector by contributing to the Government of Ghana’s goal to train, retain and deploy 1, 500 paediatric nurses over a 10 to 15- year span.
“In so doing, the organisation entered into a partnership with the health sector and of the Nursing, University of Ghana to train a cadre of paediatric nurses capable of reaching the unreached who paediatric needed care,” she added.
She said as a new academic and professional organisation, they needed to strategically develop the system and the inter linkages needed for developing strong cadres of committed, intellectually and skillfully competent, contemporary nurses and midwives with specialised education providing quality improved care as enshrined in the College’s vision.
Dr Sylvester Animana, Chief Director of Ministry of Health, said the Post Graduate College of Nursing and Midwives would take up the programme on behalf of the Ministry.
He said to ensure efficient service delivery, paediatric nurses needed to move from house to house to attend to the health needs of the people and not to wait for the people for treatment.
That, he said, implied that Traditional Birth Attendants and opinion leaders also needed some form of training to promote new-born health.
“We need to provide them with minimum up-scale training to enhance their performance,” he added and pledged the Ministry’s support for the partnership.