Health News of Wednesday, 2 November 2005
Accra, Nov 2, GNA - The Ghana Nurses and Midwife Trainees' Association (GNMTA) on Wednesday threatened to boycott lectures and demonstrate to back their demand for official recognition of their certified courses. The Association is calling on the Ministry of Health to facilitate the accreditation of the diploma course in Nursing and Midwifery and ensure that a tentative timetable was fixed for the Licensure Examination for 2005.
Mr Julius Fiawornu, President of GNMTA, who addressed a press conference in Accra, said about 3,300 nursing students were awaiting the required diploma certification.
He stated that the 2005 licensure examination initially scheduled for September was postponed to November a month to the scheduled date and the examination fees raised from 900,000 cedis to 1,8 million cedis by the Nurses and Midwife Council (NMC). The examinations have again been postponed to February 2006.
"It must be put on record that by this time students had already made full payments to that effect and receipts were duly given," he said. Mr Fiawornu said though the GMNTA was invited by the NMC to make input into its new proposal for an increase in the examination fee at a stakeholders meeting, the students were excused whiles proceedings were still premature.
He stated that students had since then petitioned various authorities including the Minister of Health, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for their intervention, but no response was received.
He said due to the postponement of the examination, students who were supposed to have completed their courses were ejected upon the assumption of completion to look for their own accommodation. Mr Fiawornu further explained that students had to pay for using the library, maintenance, semester registration and examination, medical bills, transportation and for photocopies and handouts, out of their meagre allowances of 380,000 cedis.
"Out of this meagre allowances 40 per cent is deducted for feeding," he said.
He appealed to the Sector Minister to expedite action on ensuring fair treatment for nursing students and to help to secure a firm academic future for nursing in the country.
Dr Ayew Afriyie, President of the National Health Students of Ghana (NAHSAG), has also condemned the astronomical increment over the existing fees within a short notice and called for an immediate suspension in its implementation.
He said as much as NAHSAG welcomed the unique role of the NMC as the supervisory body of the MOH, responsible for ensuring a high standard of training, it disagreed with its decision to increase fees without ample notice.
"We do not agree with the NMC's argument that the four-year period to review the licensing examination fees was due and that it should be increased without any consultation or prior notice," he said. He urged the NMC to exercise a great sense of discretion aimed at preparing students and retaining them to work, adding that any unfavourable decision could greatly affect the performance of nursing and worsen the current shortage of nurses. 02 Nov. 05