Aug 18, 2009, 6:25 AM
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Sey called on the nurses to offer quality health care to the various communities where they serve.
Primary health care, he noted, is a priority of the Gambia government.
He also urged the graduates to reduce the workload at their respective health facilities.
Minister Sey said primary healthcare will be repositioned so that for every 50 meters there would be a functional theatre, in every 25km there would be a reliable ambulance service, and for every 3km people would have access to a health facility.
He revealed that from January 2016, 50 primary health care centers would be built in different communities within the country.
Minister Say pointed out that the World Bank project will also address the needs of health training institutions and schools, adding that the plight of the health training schools will be adequately addressed by the project, come next year.
He assured the community health nurses that their course will be upgraded to a diploma level, and also the building of a hall for the school.
He said staff housing is a priority for his Ministry, adding that come 2016 all these concerns would be addressed by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
Come January 2016, he disclosed, the office of the Chief Nursing Officer will become a directorate and, next year, the salary scale of both the Community Health Nurses and Midwives would be upgraded from grade 4 to 6, while the salary of midwives would also be upgraded from 6 to 7.
He advised graduating students to live up to expectations, and to diligently serve the communities to the best of their ability as they apply the skills they learn from the school.
Plans are underway in the next three years, he said, adding that the nurses trained from the school would be redeployed to serve the community they come from.
He promised to provide two motorbikes to the School of Enrolled Nurses and Midwives to ease their monitoring and supervision tasks, when the students are in the field to tutor and monitor work in the communities.
He urged the nurses to help in sensitizing people about the emerging non-communicable diseases nowadays posing a serious threat to health, and advised people to change their lifestyle and behaviour, especially their eating habits.
Aja Haddy Mboge Barrow, the guest speaker at the event, spoke on the theme: “Nurses and Society in the 21st Century.”
She stated that since the establishment of the School of CHN, the role of CHNs has laid emphasis on prevention in the delivery of primary health care.
She said CHNs are expected to collaborate and partner with communities/populations to address the socio-economic determinants of health, social conditions and other problems, and are also expected to be involved in primary health prevention and promotion.
The Gambia government under the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh has registered tremendous achievements in expanding access to care and improvement, she added.
The principal of School of Enrolled Community Health Nurses and Midwives, Musa A.K. Sanneh, said the school was built in 1976 with funds provided by the United States government through the University of California MCH/FP project.
The main goal is to improve the quality of health care for Gambian mothers and children, through the reduction of preventable maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, he added.
Sanneh advised the graduating nurses to bear in mind that the health of the nation lies in their hands, and that it is their collective action with other seasoned health workers in providing quality service, especially to people in remote areas, that will give the country better health indicators.
Speakers at the ceremony included Momodou Lamin Manneh, regional director of health services in LRR, and LRR Governor Salieu Puye.