Feature Article of Sunday, 3 February 2013
Columnist: Nuhu, Kashaa
In May 2011, the Ministry of Health signed a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) with the National Service Secretariat for all tertiary Nurses and Mid-wives to undertake a national Service after completion of their training. This is a commendable course taken by the Ministry to strengthen and equipped deprived areas with health professionals since they are presumed to be scatted all over to do their National Service than the usual absorption at the urban centers.
However, the Bolga Nurses and Mid-wives have a different story to tell. Instead of waiting for posting by the National Service Secretariat after completion like any other National Service Person, their case was poles apart from the norm. There was an internal arrangement by the regional Health Directorate without the consent of the body responsible for posting of Personal, to retain all trainees in the region to do their Service internally. The move nevertheless would have served a better purpose if properly instituted in collaboration with National Service Secretariat but it rather created raucous treatment for these trainees.
The Health Directorate of the Upper-East region, headed by Mr. John Koku Awoornor-Williams with much mendacity did his own internal posting of the nurses and mid-wives trained in the region to the various health institutions without the knowledge of the National Service Secretariat. This practice is out of the standard practice as Students complete their various training and wait until the National Service Secretariat released postings of personal to the various establishments. This unusual practice created some aversion between the trainees of Bolga Nurses and Mid-wifery School and the regional health directorate.
The problem got to a crescendo when the original postings by the National Service Secretariat were released for the trainees to assume their new postings. Inexplicably, the health directorate of the region did not take the decision of the trainees kindly when they decided to embark on their normal postings by the Service Secretariat. They picked up issues with the Personnel instead of the mandated body that granted them the release. This resulted in a rancorous act against the trainees by the boss, Mr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams of Upper-East regional Health Directorate.
As if not satisfied, Mr. Awoonor-Williams, with so much impunity placed embargo, better still a letter on the allowances of these trainees who are undertaking their National Service at their legitimate postings in other health institutions with the reason that, they have absconded their post. After several letters and messages to the Upper-East regional health Directorate by the head of the various institutions where these trainees are working to lift the embargo for the Students to get access to their cash all prove futile, making life very unbearable for these health professionals to discharge their duties diligently and gracefully.
Indubitably, these professionals have been denied these allowances for close to ten months into their Service now and no effort is seen to be in place to lifting this directive on their Banks by the Health Directorate. Mr. Awoonor-Williams, the director of the Upper-East Health Directorate might have been engaging in this operation with the intention of conniving with the bank to illegally embezzle the funds in the various accounts and later report that, the money have been returned to government chest as had been the practice over the years. The intent is clear from the Directorate by the vulgar and cruelty of the director’s instruction to the bank and the torture he is subjecting his victims through.
It is unimaginably dismissive for the regional Health Directorate to reduce National Service to regional Service and therefore an affront to the Nation as a whole to hold into ransom some National Service Persons who are dutifully bound to serve Mother-Ghana in any capacity at any institution. Whiles some people are posted from other regions to undertake National Service in the Upper-East, the regional Health Directorate does not want their trained nurses and mid-wives to go outside even when they have their original postings by National Service out of the region.
What is more spiteful is that, most of these professionals are very young and inexperienced to be welcome into this noble profession by such vindictiveness. This will not only diminish their spirit and interest in a long cherished dream profession they intend to carry on but will send a sense of ingratitude on the part of authorities towards the profession that is meant to save lives. Indeed, every profession is as important as the other but some professions need to be treated with dignity and respect to consolidate the value it carved among the Ghanaian populace. The nurses and mid- wives from Bolga need equal treatment as their counterparts from other part of the country to handle and take proper care of the sick.
The mandate of the National body to post Students supersedes the autocratic decrees by the regional Directorate to embargo Students allowances who are taking their National Service at their legitimate posting institutions and must be addressed immediately. This erroneous and illegitimate act by the Directorate can have a long way to affect the region in terms of personal to serve in the health institutions. Currently, all the trainees who are undertaking their Service in the region have averred to leave immediately at the end of their Service to escape from the harsh conditions they found themselves.
If the regional Directorate does not have any criminal objective to siphon off the student’s allowances, then the so called directive of vacation of post placed on the accounts to deny them access should have been sent and authorized from the source of the money which is Controller and Accountant General’s department and not at the branch level of the bank. This looting is taking place in many government agencies with connivance of Bank Managers at the blind side of the originator of the funds (government) with the travesty of returning the cash to government. What a shameful and dishonest patriots serving as Civil Servants?
The President has taken a stand on such unscrupulous heads of Civil Service and tasked the various Ministries to fish and get them to do the right thing before they turn the nation into a hub of beggars. People steal monies from government through the workers they employ making life difficult and unbearable for the ordinary worker. Such practices in our agencies must be condemned, exposed, name and shame to serve as deterrent to other institutions. A clear case of pillaging prosperity out of this nefarious act is what the regional health Directorate of the Upper-East region is taking their health trainees through in order to succeed in their clandestine agenda.
The responsibility for Ghana to become a better place for all does not lie in the hands of the President alone but the people working in the country, making sure the right things are done to enable citizens to have access to quality delivery of work among the working force through incentives and motivations. The Bolga regional Health Director must be call to order to make enquiries to ascertain whether their trainees are truly serving in other institutions so to lift the band on their accounts for the service persons to have access to their long held allowance for them to continue the work with clear conscience and excitement.
Kashaa Nuhu email@example.com