The Acting Commissioner of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Richard Quayson has expressed concerns about the unprofessional conducts of some health professionals at the various health facilities.
This, he said is undermining the human rights of patients. He said reports of human rights violation and other abuses against health professionals, recorded daily, at hospitals across the country, is invariably dragging the image of the noble profession into disrepute.
He said this at the 10th graduation ceremony for participants of the 2014/2015 Basic Human Rights Course for Health Professionals at Cape Coast Nurses and Midwifery Training College (NMTC).
Mr Quayson said nursing is a care profession, which called for great sacrifices and selflessness and reminded health professionals in general that the choices they make could mean life or death for someone.
“Only people with the right heart and attitude are called to do it, and this is what Ghana Needs; not mercenary nurses, practicing mainly for money or wealth,” Mr Quayson stated.
Introduced by CHRAJ in collaboration with Ghana Health Service and piloted at the Cape Coast NMTC in 2004, the five months non-scoring course, aims at equipping nursing trainees with a better understanding of human rights and integrity relevant to their profession.
The participants were taken through topics like: “Introduction to Human Rights”, “CHRAJ’s three-fold mandate,” “Fundamental Human Rights,” “Nurses Pledge in the Human Rights Perspective and Patients Charter,” and the “Whistle Blower’s Act.”
Out of 102 students that completed this year’s course at the NMTC, 43, made up of 23 Midwifery students and 20 General Nursing students had distinction.
Mr Quayson said the course is currently being run at 11 health training institutions in the country including the Korle- Bu, Komfo Anokye and Tamale teaching Hospitals and had since its inception, trained about 2,520 nursing trainees and 39 tutors.
He indicated that following the interest shown in the course and request by health professionals to integrate it into the curriculum of health training institutions, the commission is currently reviewing it to improve its quality and address other related issues.
He said in due course, the CHRAJ would engage Ghana Health Service and the Nurses and Midwifery Council and other allied institutions with proposals on how best the course could be incorporated in the curricular of all health training courses.
Mr Quayson announced that starting from the next year, certificates would be awarded on merit.
He charged the graduates to work hard and change the wrong perception people hold about the nursing profession.
The Principal of the College, Ms Cecilia Mensah expressed worry that only 102 out of a student population of 289 participated in the course and expressed the need for more students to enroll in the next course since its benefits are enormous.
On human right violations at health centres, she called on health professionals, especially nurses and midwifes to always be guided by the Patient’s Charter, which states in part that their personal life should bring credit to their profession.