The Youth Employment Agency (YEA) has clarified the confusion of Community Health Workers as nurses by the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA).
This follows concerns raised by the Association claiming that attempts by the government to re-introduce the training of community health workers threaten the work of their members.
A week ago, the Ghana Health Service and the Youth Employment Agency signed an agreement, to recruit and train 3,000 persons for the community healthcare module.
The recruits will be tasked to support healthcare delivery in rural areas across the country.
The YEA said Community Health Workers are of a distinct occupational group and should be categorized by the focus of their profession.
In a press release cited by UniversNews, the YEA made it known that they have been drawn to the concerns of the GRNMA and have decided to clear the conflict between them by stating the obvious.
Our attention has been drawn to a press release by the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives’ Association (GRNMA) dated 6th August, 2021. We believe the issues raised by the GRMNA in their Press Release are based on a misunderstanding of the Community Health Worker (CHW) program. The GRMNA’s concerns are centered around the perception that CHWs are a type of nurses (zoom Nurses) that are being introduced. We would like to make the following comments:
Furthermore, the YEA stated that the Community Health Workers should not be mistaken for nurses even though this naming system is not subjected to Ghana.
From the outset we would want to state emphatically that Community Health Workers (CHWs) are not “Nurses” and thus should be referred to as whom they are (CHWs). The ILO refers to community health workers as a distinct occupational group (ISCO 3253) within the associate health professionals category who provide health education and referrals for a wide range of services, and provide support and assistance to communities, families and individuals with preventive health measures and gaining access to appropriate curative health and social services.
YEA then again stressed that Community Health Workers should not be employed in the stead of nurses.
Other important provisions for CHWs can be found in the United Nations political declaration on universal health coverage (UHC). This also settles the argument that since there are unemployed nurses and midwives in the system, they should be employed and not CHWs. It is important to underscore that they are different professions and thus they play different roles and are engaged with different conditions of service.