Sunyani, Dec.14, GNA – Members of Health Assistant Association of Ghana (HAAG) have decried the blatant lack of recognition for them by the management of health facilities in the country.
Mrs. Rose Hayford Austin, National President, pointed it out at the opening of a four-day first annual general conference (AGC) of the Association on Friday in Sunyani.
The event, on the theme “Infection Prevention and Control -The Role of the Health Assistant” was attended by about 400 participants from all regions of the country.
It aimed at upgrading professional skills of members to provide quality care and also strategised through a five year development plan to inject vibrancy into the Association.
Mrs. Austin said that despite the crucial need for sensitization of Health Assistants (HAs) in infection prevention and control currently, coupled with the role played by HAs in the health care delivery system, management of most health facilities did not sponsor even one out of 10 HAs working in their outfits to attend the AGC.
She noted that also amounted to disregarding the Director-General of Ghana Health Service’s directive for the release and support of their members but “most facilities simply ignored it and told our members that there are no funds”.
Other health professionals were however sponsored to attend their AGCs with huge amount of monies, whilst most of their participants had to pay for themselves although the facilities would be the ultimate beneficiaries, the HAAG President stressed.
Mrs. Austin described the situation as seemingly injustice against them in the system, saying “this is unfair and must be looked into critically; it appears the facilities in which we work do not care about us”.
On career progression, the HAAG President expressed surprised that all attempts by most of their members to enroll even at the Health Assistant Training Schools (HATSs) had proved futile, revealing that some of their members had been rejected because of their age.
“Where then is the advocacy that mature students can be admitted in tertiary institutions?” she quizzed and added “HAs are not only that old man or woman in that pink with white but a professional with the requisite skills and knowledge to support patients care”.
Mrs. Austin said now they had the younger HAs with equal capacity and capability to progress on the academic ladder and therefore appealed “we are not asking too much, simply allow us to also enroll at the nursing schools and other health training institutions as mature students”.
Other issues the HAAG president raised regarding matters affecting them included continuous professional development (CPD), promotions, salaries and other incentives.
In an address delivered for him, Dr. Timothy Letsa, Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of Health Services, called for much appreciation of the role played by HAs in the health care delivery system to further improve on their attitudes towards clients and the general public.
Dr Letsa urged the HAs to take advantage of the establishment of various health training institutions in all regions of the country to upgrade themselves in any of the health professional programmes.
Topics treated as part of their CPD included “The Importance of Infection Prevention and Control in Duty Practice”, “The Essence of Ethical Practice in Improving Quality of Care” and “Health Campaign Technical Training on Ebola and Cholera Diseases”.