Some 8, 000 public nurses and midwives, who completed training in November 2016, but are yet to be employed by government, have stormed Parliament, pleading with the lawmakers, to intervene on their behalf.
It follows failure of the Health Minister, Kweku Agyeman Manu, to heed a directive from President Nana Akufo-Addo last year to ensure that they were recruited.
The leadership of the Ghana Nurse Midwife Trainees’ Association (GNMTA), who presented the petition to Parliament on Thursday February 15, 2018, described their situation as a “public health concern”.
The group said, it was “Unhappy about government’s adamancy to employing the said batch, though they have spent more than a year at home”.
The petition presented to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, had the likes of Majority and Minority Leaders, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu, Flagstaff House, among others copied.
The Association, had been assured by President Akufo-Addo of a quick posting and other preferential treatments during a courtesy on him at the Flagstaff House in September 2017, because of their peculiar circumstance. The Health Minister was present at the meeting.
However, the aggrieved nurses and midwives, who were the first batch of nurses and midwives, affected by the Mahama administration’s decision to scrap the nursing training allowance in 2016, are at home.
The Ghana Nurses-Midwife Trainees Association led by their President, Semi-Ulah-Santi, appealed to the August House to take into consideration the lives being lost, as a result of inadequate number of health professionals in many of the health institutions across the country and facilitate their posting.
“We are therefore by this petition appealing to parliament to advert their mind to the innocent loss of lives as result of inadequate staffing in our health facilities”.
The Association, also urged the legislators to clearly spell out modalities for recruiting, training and engaging trained nurses and midwives to assuage the anxiety of the backlog of unemployed nurses and midwives, as well as help prospective nurses and midwives to make an informed decision.
The unemployed health professionals in their frustration, implicated the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) for failing to be proactive when it comes to recruitment of nurses and midwife after admitting them into the various training institutions.
“However, both governments are lackadaisical when it comes to the engagement of graduate trained professional nurses and midwives licensed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana”, the petition said.
It expressed concern about the yearly posting controversies and asked Parliament to direct the Health Ministry to admit and train only the exact professionals it can employ in a year to prevent the many backlogs.
“Ask the Ministry of Health to recruit and train only the quantity of nurses that the sector can immediately engage right after training, just as it is done in the military, police and immigration training institutions in this country to avoid these unengaged trained nurses and midwives metamorphosing into agents of social woes”.
They also pleaded with the law makers to stop the Ministry from implementing it policy, requiring nurses and midwives from applying and attending interviews for a “Job they have already applied, interviewed, trained and licensed for”.
According to the group, the policy, will create avenue for bribery, corruption, nepotism and favouritism, extortion from innocent poor graduate nurses before offering them job, as sometimes recorded in the recruitment processes into the nursing training colleges.
Parliament was also requested to initiate a bill that will allow all qualified and licensed nurses and midwives to establish and operate, a health care unit or facilities such as licensed chemical or pharmaceutical shops without interference once the practitioner has license from the nursing and midwifery council of Ghana and is left at home unemployed and is required by law to renew such license annually.
The Association wants the sector Ministry to reintroduce the policy of nurses staying and working within their regions of training for a minimum of three years before being allowed to take transfer out of such regions to curtail the problem of professionals refusing posting to certain areas in the country.
“This also means that before one applies to a particular school within a region to undergo training as a nurse automatically accepts the condition of working in the same region if so required.
Lastly, GNMTA wants the Ministry of Finance to be proactive in granting clearance for health professionals because the Health Ministry, always blames of delaying the process of clearance.