Editorial: NYEP Workers Are Not Qualified Nurses

The Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Mrs. Lucy Awuni has warned medical officers in the region, not to allow Health Extension Workers, under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), to give injections or administer drugs to patients. According to her, these personnel are not qualified to administer drugs to patients unless the drugs have been prescribed by a medical doctor, or qualified health professional. Her reason is that these categories of health workers have not been adequately trained to perform such roles. She explained that the health extension workers received only six months orientation, which is not sufficient enough for them to perform the roles of mainstream nurses and doctors. The deputy Minister, who was speaking at a health forum in Bolgatanga, also charged all health workers to educate the local folks to stop buying drugs from quack drug sellers, especially those who display their drugs on the bare ground in the market places, for sale to the unsuspecting public. She said, apart from the fact that these quack drug peddlers do not know the efficacy of the drugs they sell, they also sell expired products to the unsuspicious public, which tends to have adverse effects on their health. The Chronicle wishes to associate itself with the concerns raised by the deputy Minister, and will use the opportunity to call on the government and qualified health workers to ensure that no NYEP worker is allowed to administer drugs in any of the health institutions. As noted by Mrs. Awuni, these NEYP health workers have not had the professional training to enable them perform the role of qualified nurses or medical assistants, therefore, if they are not carefully monitored, they would cause more harm than good to patients. The NYEP head office must state clearly, in the appointment letters of the Health Extension Workers, what work they are supposed to do, and what they should not. Adequate education must also be given to our rural folks, to enable them distinguish between the NYEP workers and qualified nurses and doctors. This would help to stop the situation where the NYEP workers arrogate to themselves functions that fall beyond their professional capabilities, especially in the remote parts of the country. Already drug peddlers purporting to be doctors have been moving from one village to the other, selling all kinds of expired drugs to the people. This development is having a negative effect on our health delivery system, and the government has the responsibility to ensure that the NYEP workers do not add up to the existing problems. If the country has run short of nurses, then qualified people must be recruited and given adequate training to perform in the field.