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General News of Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Source: GNA

Health workers urged to careful when considering migration

Koforidua, Nov. 3, GNA - The Health Services Workers' Union of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday advised nurses, midwives and other health workers to weigh the benefits and consequences when considering migrating.

The Rev Richard Kwasi Yeboah, National Chairman of the Union, said this at the launch of a journal, captioned Pre-Decision and Information Kit (PDK) on migration and women health workers in Koforidua. The journal was jointly produced by the Health Services Workers Union (HSWU) of the TUC and the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) both affiliates of a Global Trade Union Federation known as the Public Services International (PSI).

It is specifically intended to provide aspiring migrant health workers information on required documents before travelling, recruitment procedures, migrant health worker rights, information on illegal recruitment practices, support services for migrant health workers and contacts of Ghanaian Embassies and High Commissions abroad.

The Rev Yeboah told prospective migrants to take into consideration some questions relating to international migration such as the credibility of the recruitment and recruitment agencies, the terms and conditions of overseas employment, information on pre-departure and departure orientation before making a decision to embark on migration.

He said the HSWU and the GRNA had decided to network to minimize the high attrition rate of trained women health workers and other health professionals in the country through advocacy actions and campaigns that is "health care workers are not for sale". The Rev. Yeboah said he was happy to note that currently the attrition rate had reduced significantly.

He said that was due to enhanced sector salaries implementation in 2006, the provision of saloon cars for health professionals and the mandate given to the Nurses and Midwives Council on bonding, not to issue verification certificates to applicants who intend to migrate internationally.

The Rev Yeboah said despite the enhanced consolidated health sector salaries, stakeholders still had the major challenge to deal with the question of the push factors that were still inherent. These include the relatively poor working conditions of service, the frustrations and stress resulting from inadequate basic materials and equipment at the facility level, the heavy workload resulting from inadequate skilled health staff and free deliveries for pregnant women policy.

He suggested to government to increase the health sector budget to enable the health authorities procure the retractable syringes to reduce the risk that health care providers in the country are going through with the hypodermic needles and syringes.

He also suggested that motivation is fairly distributed to cover all health workers and not but a few who consider themselves "as key health workers".

Dr Anthony Baah, Deputy General Secretary of the TUC, who launched the journal urged workers to form strong unions to fight for their rights and good working conditions.

He commended the two unions on their initiative and called on them to print more of the booklets. Dr Baah also called for the printing of the French version of the journal to cater for members in the French speaking countries. He challenged young health professionals to accept postings to the rural areas where their services are mostly needed. 03 Nov. 09