History imminent as NMTC-Zuarungu begins processes to award degrees in nursing, midwifery

Nursing and Midwifery Training College, Zuarungu.

Authorities of the Nursing and Midwifery Training College (NMTC) at Zuarungu, a community in the Bolgatanga East District of Ghana’s Upper East Region, say they have begun processes to start a degree programme in Nursing and in Midwifery.

Headlines are patiently waiting on the horizon to trumpet the history the state-owned college is about to make, if the ongoing efforts yield the desired outcome, as the first of its kind in northern Ghana to attain that status.

The college started in November, 2006, as a Health Assistant (clinical) Training School.

The development, according to the authorities, comes after the school secured approval from the Ministry of Health (MoH) to commence the processes.

“As a school, we are committed to training the cadres of nurses and midwives that are accepted locally and internationally with support from all stakeholders. Internationally now, the entry point of nursing is degree. NMTC-Zuarungu, for the past few years, in its quest to meet the growing trends of policy direction by the Ministry of Health and also educational trends in Ghana and internationally, began processes to start a degree programme in nursing first and, subsequently, midwifery. After gaining approval or acceptance by the college’s advisory board to proceed on that, the school wrote a letter to the Minister of Health to find out if the school was worthy to start such a programme.

The population comprises Registered General Nursing, Post NAC/NAP Midwifery and Registered Nurse Assistant Clinical (RNAC) students.

“After a series of questioning and follow-ups, the college was granted approval from the Minister of Health to begin processes with the relevant regulatory bodies. That is GTEC (Ghana Tertiary Education Commission) and, to some extent, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana. And if, after going through those processes, we are deemed fit, we should start a BSc (Bachelor of Sciences) programme in Nursing and a BSc programme in Midwifery,” the college’s Principal, Michael Yidana Mantamia, told Media Without Borders on Thursday, 7 December 2023.

He further disclosed that, after securing the approval from the ministry, the college’s advisory board had given the school its blessing to start the processes.

The college started with an initial intake of 50 students.

“So, we have actually spoken to UDS (University for Development Studies). We’ve spoken to UCC (University of Cape Coast). But currently, UDS is the school that we are closely linking with to be our mentoring institution for this degree programme.

“In principle, they (the UDS) have accepted. The Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Dr. Vida Yakong, was contacted. She led us to the QA (Quality Assurance) Officer of UDS who gave us some two weeks for certain criteria that we had to satisfy. We gave the criteria to them and they saw that we had the basic qualification,” the principal said.

The school’s student population currently stands at 951.

A few steps left as processes near completion

There are indications that the college will attain the status of a degree-awarding institution soon, according to the principal.

“What we need to do is a curriculum, a BSc curriculum, which the Quality Assurance team of this school has also begun. The major subject areas of the curriculum have been developed and we are now trying to look at the specific content areas. Once that one is done, we’ll present it to UDS. Then, the processes will continue from there.

The campus is 10 acres in size.

“When UDS just okays it, we’ll write a letter to GTEC and fill the relevant form. Then, they will come and inspect. And in inspection, among other things, I’m sure they will look at the human resource, the infrastructure and other governance issues. We have no doubt that, having received GTEC for the past few weeks, with the comments they have made, and with the little efforts we’ve put in place as a school, in all humility, we know we are likely to start the BSc programme in the very near future with support of stakeholders,” he stated.

College appeals for financial clearance to employ some key staff

When the school held a graduation and matriculation ceremony recently, the principal revealed with worry that the college lacked a librarian, an internal auditor, an estate officer, a transport officer, a driver, a security officer and some labourers.

The college currently is affiliated with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

He followed the revelation with an appeal to the MoH to “as a matter of urgency” help the school fill the unoccupied staff positions.

The principal reiterated the plea during the interview with Media Without Borders, saying the clearance would boost the efforts being made to achieve the BSc status dream.

A cross-section of the college’s campus.

“We earnestly appeal to the Ministry of Health for financial clearance [to fill the vacancies]. These ones are key and GTEC has stressed on them and they have even forwarded a letter to that effect. This is an appeal we are making. We know they have done a lot, they have done their best. They are paying our tutors, providing them with certain allowances.

The college has had two principals so far: Francis Ayaaba and Michael Yidana Mantamia.

“But we think that if this appeal is upheld, it will go a long way to help us achieve the dream of the same Ministry of Health to train BSc nurses and midwives. Even though they have trusted us to do both BSc Nursing and BSc Midwifery, we want to start with BSc Nursing first. We don’t want to rush and bite so much that we cannot swallow,” he said.

At present, the school has a classroom block and a dining hall under construction funded by government through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund). But the projects came to a halt three years ago and have remained stalled since then.

The dining hall project (arrowed in red) and the classroom block project (arrowed in blue).

The principal announced the college was set to construct an ultramodern two-storey skills laboratory, an ICT laboratory and a computer laboratory complex with its “meagre” internally generated fund. He also appealed to individuals and organisations to support the school in constructing a 200-bed hostel. 

The dining hall project.

“We still need accommodation for students,” he said.

The classroom block project.

“What we have is not adequate. The female hostel we have, for example, is 180 capacity. But we can admit up to 500 female students and maybe 400 male students. That is about 900. So, we need additional hostels.”

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org


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