By Michael Ciaglo and Jamela Akweley
THE MINISTER of Health, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, has inaugurated the allied health committee and the health awards planning committee as part of the ministry’s efforts to provide quality health services to Ghanaians.
Swearing in the nine-member allied health taskforce, the minister observed that with the increasing number of health related facilities in the country, there is a need to have a statutory body to regulate their operations in order to safeguard the health of the citizens.
He said unlike doctors, nurses, pharmacists and midwives whose work is regulated by an established authority, there is a large group of health professionals who fall under the umbrella of an allied health group.
This group’s work is not regulated because there is no established authority to monitor their work, hence the inauguration of the taskforce.
“Language and speech pathologists, paramedics, clinical psychologists, dieticians, cardiovascular technologists, radiologists, optometrists and medical assistants are all not under any authority so their work is not monitored,” Mr. Yieleh Chireh said.
He pledged his ministry’s support to the taskforce as outlined in their duties which are to “regulate the scope of practice for these professions, regulate the standard of professionals whose work has direct contact with the populace, ensure sustained standard of studies in institutions and monitor, inspect and facilitate continuous improvement in the [health] sector.”
In addition, he assured the taskforce that the ministry would “advise the ministry of health, conduct licensing examinations for those who have not had professional training, as well as help with the implementation of the allied health bill when it becomes a law.”
He indicated that this taskforce “will reduce the work of quacks and charlatans who pose as professionals and through their shabby work, reduce the good image of medical professionals.”
At the inauguration, the sector minister also established the health awards committee and urged the members to recognize the best medical professionals at institutional and agency levels to improve overall performance in the health sector.
This, he stated, will encourage the continuation of the good work some health workers are already practicing across the country.
“The time has come for us to change the trend and show practical appreciation for the efforts of health workers for their contributions to improve the health status of the people in Ghana,” he added.
The committee is also mandated to come up with guidelines to sustain the celebration of health professionals and make the selection processes fair across all medical professions.
In their acceptance speeches, the chairmen of the two committees, Dr. Samuel Opoku of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Ghana, and Dr. Sylvester Amemana of the Ghana Health Services both expressed a deep sense of appreciation for the creation of the two committees and vowed to deliver on their duties.