Prioritize support for Ear Nose and Throat nurses – Group appeals to government

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The Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Nurses Group, Ghana, has appealed to the government, through the Ministry of Health, to prioritise support for their specialty.

According to Bismark Asare, National Chairman of the Group, ENT has been downgraded, thus the lack of support has led to the system not having a lot of ENT surgeons in the country.

He said until the government and other health care authorities extend a supporting hand to members of the Group, they will remain handicapped in providing the requisite healthcare services to the people of Ghana.

Mr Asare spoke at the 7th Annual Conference and Scientific Session of the ENT Group in Sunyani in the Bono Region.

Prioritize support for Ear Nose and Throat nurses - Group appeals to government

The three-day programme was under the theme; “ENT nurses, a voice to lead the vision for transformed healthcare amidst Covid-19 and beyond.”

Explaining the challenges they go through, Bismark Asare said during the peak of the Covid-19 in 2020, people with common cold, runny nose and sneezing, were referred to the ENT nurses.

“We were the first line of healthcare workers who were attending to people we didn’t even know were having Covid-19, but we were completely neglected when it came to the formation of Covid teams for frontline workers at the various health care centers”, he explained.

Prioritize support for Ear Nose and Throat nurses - Group appeals to governmentPrioritize support for Ear Nose and Throat nurses - Group appeals to government

He expressed regret that most of them did not benefit from the Covid-19 financial incentives the government gave to some healthcare workers.

Mr. Asare further noted that very little effort is made to enable the nation benefit from the skills of ENT nurses at the various hospitals when they are posted after completing their courses.

“Most of the time you come out from school and if you are not careful, you will be thrown to go back to the ward and practice as a general nurse. This is unfair”, he said.

“At least, let us get the ENT nurses established, have a consulting room, a table and a chair and a few of our instruments and we will start working”, he pleaded.

The National Chairman of the ENT Group added that with this, they would have the chance to treat ENT cases, which he said are on the increase in the country.

Prioritize support for Ear Nose and Throat nurses - Group appeals to governmentPrioritize support for Ear Nose and Throat nurses - Group appeals to government

The National Chairman of the ENT nurses Group also said the few practitioners at the hospitals are deprived of the needed support to grow and build their capacities in rendering services. They also do not have data on ENT conditions in the country.

He attributed the growing challenges to the fact that ENT has no unit at the Ghana Health Service or the Ministry of Health, hence no appropriate channel to push through their concerns as an important category of healthcare providers.

Mr. Asare, is nevertheless hopeful that the government and other stakeholders would prioritize and support ENT nurses to enable them assume their roles, “so that this issue of having a lot of ENT conditions that people don’t know, will be reduced,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking on the theme, the Medical Director at the Bono Regional Hospital, Dr. Cardinal Newton, noted that though the outbreak of the Covid-19 came with many challenges, it has also led to many improvements in the health care system.

“We are technologically better, an improvement on personal hygiene, and the opportunity to come together, work together, learn together, and also grow together”, he stated.

Prioritize support for Ear Nose and Throat nurses - Group appeals to governmentPrioritize support for Ear Nose and Throat nurses - Group appeals to government

He hoped the country would not be caught off guard again when faced with another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic because “the consequences are too dire”.

There were fraternal messages from other Nurse Specialist Groups such as Ophthalmic nurses, Public Health nurses, Community Health Nurses, and Enrolled nurses, as well as the mother body, Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, and the Bono Regional Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Mrs. Emily Oduro.

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